Show 223, May 13, 2017: Remembering Harry & Marilyn Lewis’ The Hamburger Hamlet

Vintagfe Sunset Strip Hamburger Hamlet“The Better Burger” is all the buzz right now on restaurant menus but it’s not actually a new innovation. It started in Los Angeles in 1950 on The Sunset Strip with the founding of Harry & Marilyn Lewis’s Hamburger Hamlet.

By the time the Lewis’ sold the prominent enterprise in 1987 they were some 30 very busy company-owned units in California, Arizona, Chicago and the Washington, D.C. area.

The Hamlets were so popular at their height that in Beverly Hills (where the Lewis’ lived) there was a flagship Hamburger Hamlet on N. Bedford Dr. and another on S. Beverly Drive just below Wilshire within a short walk of each other. The popular Sunset Strip location (near the original Hamlet) was less than a mile away!

Marilyn passed away on May 3rd and we reminisce about the pioneering legacy of Hamburger Hamlet – “Known for Simply Marvelous Food & Drink.”



Show 185, August 20, 2016: Remembering Chef Michel Richard with Food Journalist & Author, Russ Parsons

Michel RichardIn the late 80s one of the most prominent chef – pioneers in Los Angeles was Michel Richard of Citrus. He was an amiable, larger-than-life culinary personality. Sadly he left us on August 13th.

Chef Michel opened a branch of Citronelle in Georgetown in 1993 and became a prominent figure on the Washington, D.C. culinary scene. It was his later home base.

Russ Parsons (the former, long-time Food Editor at The Los Angeles Times) knew him well. Russ joins us for a remembrance.

Russ Parsons and Michel RichardFrom Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2006 :

“Every cook has his chef — someone they look up to above all others — and for almost 20 years (and even beyond, it turns out), Michel has been mine. I am not alone in this. He is regarded by his peers as a chef’s chef–an endless and generous source of new ideas and techniques. When Thomas Keller wrote his foreword to Michel’s new book, Happy in the Kitchen,” he titled it “Why Didn’t I Think of That?””

“It has been my terrific fortune to know a lot of really talented chefs over the years. Some have a wonderful innate sense of flavor. Some have a jeweler’s eye when it comes to presentation. Some can play technical tricks that make you gasp. Michel combines all three along with wit and intelligence.”

“I used to tease Michel that if someone told him he was the best chef in Los Angeles, he’d ask, “What about California?” If they said California, he’d ask, “What about the United States?” And so on. Even if someone told him he was the best chef in the world, he’d ask, “What if there are restaurants on other planets?””

In closing Russ observes that Chef Michel’s Happy in the Kitchen stands the test of time. It’s a beautiful book with gorgeous photos. He enthusiastically recommends it for every home cook’s library.