The Original Marty's on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles is the last of a dying breed - an independent “Mom & Pop” walk up hamburger stand.
Back in the 1950's you could find these shack-like structures on the corners of California's street, highways and byways everywhere. Then something called “Chains” happened. Gone were the independently run locations serving hot, tasty food at a good price. Instead giants like McDonald’s and Carl's Jr started popping up and taking over every corner.
Thankfully Original Marty's was able to survive the firestorm of big corporate restauranteuring and stand the test of time. Since 1959 (some historians argue it was 2 years earlier) Marty's has been serving folks hot and fresh foods through their walk up window.
The hungry visitors to Marty's is as diverse a crowd as it comes. Ranging from the blue collar working class to blue blooded blue haired golfers from the Hillcrest Country Club just up the street, to a gaggle of TV and movie types including the occasional star. (Fox studios is 5 blocks away.) what is it about this tiny little hamburger hut that draws so many people in?
Is it the “No Frills” feel of the place? Seriously look up “No Frills” in the dictionary and you should see a picture of Marty's simple blue and orange décor stool seating and picnic area out back.
Is it the friendly cooks who prepare your food right there on clear display through the walk up stand's open windows?
Or maybe it's the food.
Burgers made with fresh ground beef - not the frozen hockey pucks you get at your average chain locations. Adorned with all the toppings you desire. The answer is of course it's all three! And more.
Marty's most famous creation is “The Combo.” Heck, it even says so on their sign.
That stacked tower of treats featuring a split Vienna dogs (brought in from Chicago) on top of a thick beef burger topped with bacon, chili and cheese on a fresh backed bun. The warm embrace of this comfort food classic combo is not something you will soon forget. And yes, they do have fries. Wash it all down with an American classic—Coke. Or try an “Orange Bang” the mom & pop take on the classic mall drink favorite the Orange Julius.
On my recent visit there I had the “Breakfast Combo” and egg sandwich on the bread of my choice topped with one of the above mentioned fresh beef patties.
Even thought it was only 10 am A buddy of mine has the chili dog (The stomach wants what the stomach wants.) He praised the flavor of both the dog and the chili, which was packed with chicklet sized chunks of onion. The cost is also a big attraction. You will need no more than $8.00 per person to leave Original Marty's full.
If you find yourself on Pico Blvd in L.A. you have to stop at Marty's. The little blue & orange stand nestled between a firehouse and a gas station. Or plan a special trip just to eat there. I did. And it was worth the trip. The best part is a I drove past a McDonald's, Starbucks and Carl's Jr to get there.