Burgers are kind of our thing here in SoCal, so let's get the facts straight. A reader alerted us to this 1922 restaurant building at 6138 N. Figueroa Street in Highland Park, with a listing that says it's "the place where Lionel Sternberger invented the very first cheeseburger in the 1920's!" And: "Bob Wian, founder of the Bob's Big Boy chain, started his career working the counter here." Lionel Sternberger is commonly credited with inventing the cheeseburger, but did it happen in Highland Park? It's believed he first put cheese to beef at 1500 W. Colorado in Pasadena (sorry LA), at his father's restaurant, the Rite Spot. (A couple of Steve Harvey's LA Times readers claimed in 1994 that it was Highland Park, but historical journals say Pas, as do most other sources.) "Yes, there are 1 or 2 other people who claim to have invented the cheeseburger," writes Sam Ferrell, listing agent for 6138 Fig, in an email to Curbed. "But this is certainly one of the official stories." A 2003 article in the Glendale News-Press says Wian also worked at a Rite Spot on Colorado. Adding to the confusion, according to a 1992 LA Times article, "Lionel eventually sold 'The Rite Spot' and opened 'Sternberger's' at 6138 N. Figueroa St." Where we're sure you could get an excellent cheeseburger.
· 6138 N. Figueroa Street [Loopnet]
· The City Then and Now [LAT]