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The downtown of most major metropolises breathe excitement, energy and beauty, unless of course you are talking about Los Angeles, which despite constant renovation and the gentrification have instead left Los Angeles bereft of humans in most sectors. Maybe not so surprisingly, people are always passing through, cramming the 10 and the 110 freeways, which are the congested aortic valves of our downtown. Yet there are some spots that are worth visiting—there are actually more than a few but not enough relative to other big cities—like Mike’s Sandwich Shop that humbly service the people who happen to truck through Soto and Washington Blvd.

Mike’s is not flashy but rather a homey location—and an obligatory stop for any hockey fan—that is like a routine glove save. The inside is nostalgic, cluttered with memorabilia, banners of all the NHL teams and some warmer colors from the shades on the windows to the tables. The owner is always on hand, overseeing that there is a consistent product being delivered as well as being responsible for the success of this friendly and inviting joint.

Before ordering we looked over the menu, but even before that, the message was clear and abundant, three separate places proclaiming the renown for their signature burger. We—party of three—ordered the “Hockey Burger.” It is equipped with patty, onion, pickle, a couple of hot dog links and some condiments. I could comfortably say that I would not order the hockey burger if it were not so legendary. The thought of mixing both links and patty is not appealing to me.

We took our seats and watched some baseball while we waited… roughly ten minutes later three separate plates were delivered to our table.  We took some ceremonial photos before we ate—even the non-photographer in our group participated in the miniature photo shoot.

After the delay, we dug in. We recognized that the patty was not too thick, which could have helped balance the flavors present in the hot dogs—instead they ran away with it. I wanted to give this burger a ten star just for having a name but unfortunately the flavors did not chime with my palate. However, the vegetables were to my liking; big in volume and lots of raw white onion and crisp iceberg lettuce.

Though the burger was not even close to my favorite, I would not hesitate to try another burger here. The hotdog which was the flagship addition did not jibe but the other components were tried n’ true and especially fresh. Mike is a bona fide fan of hockey and with that attitude he has created an enjoyable and relaxed setting to eat some breakfast (any tine) or a hamburger. Despite the distance and the chronic congestion on the freeways I can see my self happily coming back and I cannot wait for the beginning of the NHL season, and the chance to try a burger there sans hot dogs.

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