Shawn Nee is tired. The low-key creator of Burgers Never Say Die has had a pretty busy past two years, moving from his backyard flattop to an actual restaurant at the edge of Silver Lake. Since then Nee’s life has been, to riff on a hashtag he likes to use on social media, consumed by burgers. There have been celebrity show-ups, private cooks, ticketed events for fans, and at least one lost fryer (thanks to too much beef tallow for the french fries).
But now, two years almost to the day since Nee’s first Instagram post about selling burgers in his yard, he is ready. And the lines are already waiting.
Burgers Never Say Die the restaurant is here, opening today in Silver Lake.
Fans have already had more than a few chances to step inside the burger ring with Nee. For months he was selling out his burgers with lines that wrapped down his driveway and around its East Hollywood block, until that all got to be a bit too much. Then came the weekly pop-ups at Glendale Tap, where 400 strong would show up, order doubles, and drink beer. Since then Nee and the crew, including Burger Bonnie up front in all her burger glory, have been hosting one-off pop-up days from their own restaurant on Glendale Boulevard, but today is the first official kick-off day for daily, standardized, restaurant hours.
From a customer’s point of view, it might be hard to notice all the small changes. The sear is still prodigious, the smash fantastic, the crusty meaty edges still laid on with American cheese. But there are fries now, served ripping hot and with that classic McDonald’s appeal, plus soft serve from the CVT truck’s new standalone machines. There’s the Grilled Deece too, an inverted-bun grilled cheese that’s about as buttery as it gets.
The burger meat is now ground in-house too, and the volume of what’s possible is greater than ever before, thanks to multiple flattops operating simultaneously and a kitchen staff that’s ready to smash, flip, drop pickles, and fold boxes. It’s hard to scale that sort of stuff from a back yard.
So now, Burgers Never Say Die is a restaurant, opening today at 11 a.m. and running until 5 p.m. or sellout. From here, expect daily hours Tuesday through Saturday, with Shawn in the back smashing beef himself. He may be tired, but anyone would be after a journey that has gone from the back yard to a full-on restaurant dream come true in just two short years.
Burgers Never Say Die. 2388 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.