The Unvegan

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Going Blue Collar at Jack’s Classic Hamburgers

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A perfect corner for burgers.

Although I am well aware of the crazy mix of people residing in North Hollywood, I was still amazed when I discovered the clientele at Jack’s Classic Hamburgers. A moderate walk from my office, I knew this would be a perfect place for me before I even saw the menu. This was because 1) they were mostly men and 2) they all seemed to be blue collar men. No yuppies in white shirts and skinny ties here. Instead of that, there were construction workers, cable men, an Iron Mountain driver and finally a dude who might have been related to Dog the Bounty Hunter. I was a little ashamed having come from my well-ventilated desk job, but I was ready to devour a burger just as manly as any of these guys.

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Business in the front, party in the back, bluetooth on the side.

Jack’s Classic Hamburgers sits at the corner of a busy intersection and is little more than a stand, a few picnic tables and a couple of stools. The one menu is posted on a wall underneath the green awning, so if you don’t know what to order, you should be prepared for a bit of awkwardness. Having checked into this place on Foursquare (white collar) as soon as I arrived, I unlocked a $1 off special if I ordered any combo. I thought it was pretty awesome that a burger shack like this was caught up in Foursquare and Twitter. I looked at the menu and thought their pastrami burger looked good, but there was no mention of cheese being on it. There was also no mention of combos. I asked the man behind the counter about both and he said they were both an option. I asked him what else came on the burger and he shot back that it was fully loaded, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, ketchup and mayo. This was more than I could handle, so I asked for it simply with cheese, pastrami and ketchup. He was happy to oblige. I ordered it as a combo, showed him my Foursquare discount and paid up $6.25.

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But wait, there’s more fries under the burger.

When I saw the basket, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of fries. They dwarfed the burger, but the burger looked good in it’s own right. They had fry seasoning that I helped myself to and then took a seat at one of the picnic tables. Even before biting in, I was impressed with the burger because it wasn’t half-wrapped in paper like just about every other place in SoCal. Not only was this place blue collar, it was also non-conformist.

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I almost want to grind that pastrami into a burger.

I bit into my double beefy burger and was in cow heaven (the heaven that my eating habits send cows to). The burger was juicy, cheesy and beefy. The thing glistened in the sun as I chowed down on that then, yet satisfying patty. The pastrami was a nice addition to the burger and the seasoning in it added a punch of flavor. I was also glad that they hadn’t skimped on the pastrami. After ordering, I had an initial worry that I should have ordered the double burger, but the amount of pastrami convinced me I had made the right choice. The single slice of American cheese rounded out a well-balanced burger that was definitely worth eating.

As for the fries, these were as good as you get for fast food. Most of them were crispy on the outside and had the right gooey starchiness on the inside. The only real trouble was eating them all, which I wasn’t able to do.

I left Jack’s Classic Hamburgers as a full and happy unvegan. I only wished that I was heading back to work at a coal mine or smelting plant rather than my white collar job.

Actually no, my job is awesome.