The “Mayor’s Burger” is more than 6″ in diameter (I measured – cell phone for illustration purposes only), and requires an average human to unlock their jaw to get their teeth around.
I felt like such an asshole.
The image of L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan that is stamped in my memory comes from the 1998 hunger strike by gardeners protesting a proposed ban on gas fueled leaf blowers. At a meeting five days after the strike began, Riordan showed up eating, in full view of the hungry gardeners, a burger from Bob’s Big Boy.
What a dick.
And then today, nearly ten years later, I found myself ordering a $20, one pound burger “Mayor’s Burger” from Riordan’s Tavern on Figueroa in downtown L.A. Like the more affordable Pantry next door, both are owned by the former Mayor.
Guilt aside, I was less impressed with the price tag ($21.50, to be exact), than the dare of a full pound of meat. After confirming with the bartender that it wasn’t coming from any of the recently recalled beef, I ordered the burger medium rare.
Riordan’s itself is pleasant enough. A mid to upper scale Irish restaurant with wooden furnishings, a couple HD TVs showing sports, and photos of the former Mayor hanging on the walls beside some sports memorabalia – photos of Riordan playing golf with Bill Clinton, his name on a #99 jersey for the L.A. Kings, a pair of Shaq’s signed sneakers. In the men’s room, the day’s sports pages from the Times hang on the wall for easy reading.
But the burger… freakin’ giant. I even asked for a ruler, a request the bartender didn’t even blink at. He did suggest I cut the burger in half though, but I declined – I wanted to see if I could lift a burger of such magnitude.
The meat was juicy, tasty, and fresh – perfect, as I hate seasoned meat. Along with fresh lettuce, onion, Heinz ketchup, and a deli mustard of unknown variety, the burger wasn’t of any sort of gourmet variety worthy of words from a gastronomic glossary – just solid, good stuff.
The $20 became justified when the manager walked up and asked if I’d finished the whole thing. I told him I was taking half home with me, and he nodded, letting me know most people will share it between, two, three, or even four guys. Heck, maybe a few starving gardeners.
UPDATE (2/27 1:41am): I just microwaved a portion of the leftover burger for a late night snack – one minute on high. Better than White Castle!
Riordan’s Tavern, 875 S. Figueora St. …Dig Lounge also recently reviewed Riordan’s Tavern.