If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught Los Angeles, it’s that the burger trend isn’t going anywhere. If anything it’s been less of a burger moment, and more of a 70-year plateau that dates back to the founding of In-N-Out and beyond. There are countless smash burger spots to choose from just by scrolling Instagram alone, though few have found the kind of lasting power that small Highland Park shop Goldburger enjoys. Now owner Allen Yelent, himself a former pop-up operator used to running temporary spaces across the city, is ready to grow, landing a prime second location in the heart of Los Feliz.
Yelent tells Eater that Goldburger number two will take over the closed Honeybee space at 1820 N. Vermont Avenue, a ripe area rich in retail, restaurants, and walkability. It should be a quick flip too, given the previous plant-based burger life enjoyed there, and the years of burger-flipping that predate that run as well. Because there’s already plenty of kitchen equipment inside and a build-out suited for his needs Yelent, figures an opening could come as soon as July, with some stand-up bar dining inside for a dozen or so, and a few sidewalk tables out front. It’s a small space, to be sure, but the proximity to the reopening movie theater and a neighborhood filled with diners ready to return to restaurants couldn’t be matched. If anything, Yelent says it’s a model — small footprint, high visibility, standing bars, measured growth overall — that he hopes to take with him across the city. That is, if he’s lucky enough.
“It’s perpetually unbelievable,” says Yelent of his ability to transition from a full-time sales job to life as a burger restaurant owner, something he’d planned for and pined over for years before taking the pop-up plunge. “It’s been such a hard year for so many people, and while it’s been by no means easy — I’ve been learning a lot about running a restaurant during a pandemic — I’ve been incredibly lucky.”
Goldburger did indeed start as a pandemic-era restaurant, at least in its current permanent home in Highland Park. The ability to be able to grow from that, while the pandemic continues across the globe, isn’t lost on Yelent. I’m thankful that we’re a food that people have wanted to eat during all this,” he says. “It doesn’t feel real most of the time.”
Diners can soon expect to be able to belly up to the burger bar in Los Feliz for some Goldburger, and perhaps even some pie and rotating specials too, if capacity allows. As for future locations beyond Los Feliz, Yelent says he’s taking it slowly, by choice. “I’m still the only owner of Goldburger. Right now, that feels like a manageable business.”
Expect an opening for Goldburger Los Feliz this summer at 1820 N. Vermont Avenue, with lunch through evening hours.