Culturally and landmark-wise, the eye-catchy, partly neon sign at Astro Burgers (7475 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, NE corner of Gardner and S.M. Blvd.) is one of my favorite spots in this town. Because it conveys an old-time feeling of 1950s and ’60s kitsch, and Lord knows there’s damn little of that left. As I said a couple of weeks ago, it would be that much cooler if they re-named the place Mojo Burger. I’m sorry but Mojo kicks Astro’s ass.
The only wrinkle is that the joint is less than…actually I’m not sure how old it is. 35 or 40 years? Less? An Astro Burger opened at 5601 Melrose in ’74, but who knows when the WeHo site launched? The original Astro Burger, a Greek-style operation (“Cheeesburger! Cheeseburger!), was launched in Salt Lake City in ’82 by John and Soula Lyhnakis. I’m not really sure if the WeHo outlet is contractually descended from the Utah operation. The website says that John and Soula’s three sons, Vasili, George and Michael, grew up in the business and helped their parents open two more stores, one in South Jordan in 2002 and another in Draper in 2006. For all I know Roger Durling (aka “Nick the Greek”) owns the WeHo branch.
Astro Burger is the only WeHo place where you can get a decent-tasting hot dog. (Pink’s is technically not in West Hollywood.) Or at least the only one I know about.