Cheeseburger Week

Cheeseburger Week and the Cheeseburger Challenge return to Pasadena from Sunday, January 10th through Friday, January 15th.

Join Pasadena restaurants, burger joints, lounges and more as we celebrate the invention of the cheeseburger at Pasadena’s Rite Spot. In 1924, intrepid teenager Lionel Sternberger (really!) first placed a slice of cheese on a burger and served it to a customer at his father’s roadside stand at 1500 West Colorado. Creation myths abound, but our favorites are these:

  • Young Lionel was working at the Rite Spot and accidentally burned a hamburger. Rather than waste the patty (and risk his dad’s ire) Lionel placed a slice of cheese on the burned side and served it to a customer (who was delighted to have it.)


  • A hobo ordered a hamburger and wanted as much as he could get so asked Lionel to add everything he could to the patty, including cheese.


  • Lionel Sternberger was a culinary pioneer who was constantly experimenting with the fare at his dad’s roadside stand. He tried all sorts of things before thinking to put a slice of cheese on a hamburger, thus inventing the cheeseburger.

What is burger fact is that the Aristocratic Burger (as Lionel called it) sold at The Rite Spot for 15 cents. (You can actually see one of the menus from the 1920s at the Pasadena Museum of History.) The Sternberger family operated a restaurant on the original location into the 1960s and it remained a restaurant into the 1970s.

All of Pasadena celebrates the invention of the cheeseburger in the birthplace of the cheeseburger during a week of fun, food and cheeseburgers! Come out to your favorite restaurant or try a new one. From luxurious gourmet burgers to your basic (and delicious) cheeseburger to pub burgers and alternatives to burgers, you can find something to satisfy your cheeseburger craving in Pasadena during Cheeseburger Week.

1821 people took the Cheeseburger Challenge and voted for their favorite cheeseburger at during Pasadena Cheeseburger Week 2103. During Cheeseburger Week from January 10 to January 15, 2016, you can vote for your favorites among several categories.

It’s not too late to plan your Cheeseburger Crawl in Pasadena. You can plan your own or follow one of our suggested Cheeseburger Crawl routes. Check it out by clicking here.

The results list the top vote four getters in each category (unless there were fewer than four entries). Total votes received by each of the favorites are also listed..

Pasadena Cheeseburger Week is presented by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce with Gold Sponsor the City of Pasadena.

The Cheeseburger Challenge is a fun way for people to support their favorite Pasadena area restaurants. We are also very pleased with the addition of so many more restaurants to this year’s event. Whatever someone might have wanted in a cheeseburger could be found among our participating restaurants.

Even CNN is on the story: click here to see Casey Wian’s story on Cheeseburger Week.

We’ll host the third Cheeseburger Challenge. Once again, you’ll get to vote for your favorites in a number of categories, from traditional lunch counter burgers to white table cloth an alternative cheeseburgers. We’ll also have an alternative cheeseburger category or two, as well.

Plan to come to Pasadena for a Cheeseburger Crawl, take the Cheeseburger Challenge and celebrate Lionel Sternberger’s culinary legacy in the city where the cheeseburger was first served to a customer.

Check out the Cheeseburger Challenge by clicking here. Voting is live on Sunday, January 12th for one week only

Here are our participants for the 2014 Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena and the gamut of burgers they each serve (click on the name to go to the web page, click on the menu item for the full restaurant burger menu):

a/k/a An American Bistro

Central Park Restaurant

The Counter

Crepe Studio

El Portal Restaurant

  • 695 East Green Street, Pasadena
  • Call (626) 795-8553 for reservations
  • Zacatecas Burger

Gale’s (lunch only)

Green Street Restaurant

Kings Row Gastropub

La Grande Orange Cafe

POP Champagne & Dessert Bar

Slater’s 50/50

 Twohey’s Restaurant

Umami Burger

Vertical Wine Bistro

Yahaira’s Cafe

Starting January 10th, take the Cheeseburger Challenge here:

Check out some of our media coverage:

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