Pasadena restaurants celebrate the local invention of the cheeseburger – Pasadena Weekendr

Restaurants in Pasadena will be celebrating all things cheeseburger during Cheeseburger Week Jan. 23-28.

Every January, Pasadena honors the inspiring genius of Lionel Sternberger when he became the first known person to put cheese on a burger and serve it at the Rite Spot in Pasadena.

According to legend, in 1924 the teenager burned the side of a hamburger patty at The Rite Spot, his father’s roadside stand along Colorado Boulevard (then Colorado Street) west of Pasadena. Rather than throw away the spoiled burger, he masked his mistake with a piece of cheese and served it to a very grateful customer.

Word spread quickly and customers flocked to The Rite Spot for The Aristocratic Burger, A Hamburger with Cheese.

Sternberger’s achievement is the first verified example of someone serving a hamburger with cheese to a customer.

Over the years, Sternberger has perfected its Aristocratic Burger, much to the delight of The Rite Spot customers.

Sternberger’s culinary success in 1924 was documented by Hamburger America, the Los Angeles Times and even Time magazine in his Sternberger obituary.

To celebrate Sternberger’s burger masterpiece, restaurants in Pasadena offer specialties, unique creations and tried-and-tested products. From the nationally acclaimed cheeseburger at Pie ‘n Burger to the Zacatecas Burger at El Portal and Yahaira’s, Pasadena’s burger purveyors go all out with special dishes and pricing. Dog Haus offers its famous Haus Burger for $6.99 at both Pasadena locations.

Customers can find a great burger experience, from high-end dining experiences to burger stands and lounges. Those who want a variety of experiences can organize a cheeseburger tour or take one of the pre-planned themed tours.

Information on venues, specials, cheeseburger tours and more can be found at

Cheeseburger Week is a Pasadena Restaurant Week and California Restaurant Month event presented by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. Cheeseburger Week is sponsored by Wells Fargo.

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