Thursday, June 10, 2010

Al Cassell, Founder of Cassell's Hamburgers, Dies at 98

Al Cassell, the founder of the beloved Cassell's Hamburgers in Los Angeles, has passed on at the age of 98.

Cassell's -- seen in photos here, here, and here -- was a "hole in the wall" burger joint which looked unprepossessing on the outside but inside was Burger Heaven.

Some of my favorite places to eat while growing up were little places my Dad knew about -- Cassell's, Hutch's Barbecue in an old house in Pasadena (it was sold and now also sells Jamaican food), and a little taco stand in L.A.'s Grand Central Market which sold open-faced tacos on corn tortillas with diced steak and fresh salsa. That taco stand was the precursor to places like Baja Fresh and La Salsa, but back in the '70s it was very difficult to find tasty "real" Mexican food of that type; in that era many people still thought of tacos as ground beef in a hard taco shell.

I ate at Cassell's on many happy occasions over the years while on day trips to explore various aspects of Los Angeles and Hollywood. When I met my husband, Cassell's was one of the first places we went together.

Some years back Cassell's was sold. It's still a pretty good burger -- and you can now get fries instead of just potato chips -- although we don't think it's quite as good as it was in the '70s and '80s.

Thanks for all the great burgers and the happy memories, Al.


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