Yellow Paper Burger: A Unique Twist on the Classic American Burger
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Embracing Uniqueness in the LA Burger Scene
Los Angeles is known for its abundance of burger joints. From car washes to small walk-up windows to highway-side establishments, each burger spot has its own distinctive charm. Among them, Yellow Paper Burger stands out as a new underground pop-up in Monterey Park that blends into the scene while offering a refreshing twist.
Colin Fahrner, the mastermind behind Yellow Paper Burger, explains, “We drew inspiration from our favorite burgers in LA and put our own spin on them.” The result is a truly unique creation that sets itself apart from the current trend of heavily-smashed burgers. At its core, Yellow Paper Burger aims to connect with friends, family, and fellow restaurant employees affected by the pandemic, while paying homage to the comforting flavors of LA’s beloved eateries.
A Background in Food and Beverage
Both Colin Fahrner and his partner Katie Reid Burnett have extensive experience in the restaurant and bar industry. Fahrner previously worked at Tony’s Saloon in the Arts District, while Burnett is a talented baker who was involved in the opening of Tartine at the Row development. Currently, Burnett works at the bustling Belle’s Bagels on the Eastside and also lends her baking skills to Yellow Paper Burger, creating hand pies and other delectable treats. Fahrner takes charge of flipping the burgers and ensuring that Yellow Paper Burger stays on the right track.
“This journey is both exciting and challenging,” Fahrner admits. Since July, traditional employment has been elusive for him, making Yellow Paper Burger his sole focus. Fahrner’s story is not uncommon in these trying times. Many restaurant employees are turning to platforms like Instagram to make a living during the global pandemic. However, despite the familiar narrative, Fahrner’s endeavor remains deeply personal. In the early days, most of his customers were friends, family, and local bar contacts – people who have also been affected by the pandemic and economic uncertainty but rally together to support one another. Fahrner even extends this support to his neighbors, hand-delivering burgers over the fence.
Navigating Uncharted Territory
In these strange times, Fahrner and Burnett have limited their ventures outside their home, particularly with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. With the future of LA’s bar scene looking bleak, Fahrner is uncertain when regular employment will return. However, connecting with friends and industry peers who are facing similar challenges provides a sense of sanity. As Fahrner puts it, “Even if we’re just exchanging messages on Instagram, we’re still part of a community. It may look and feel different now, but we’re still out there.”
A Burger Unlike Any Other
Yellow Paper Burger’s signature creation is reminiscent of Southern California-style burgers wrapped in endless paper. These classic burgers can be found at fast-food diners across town, such as Jim’s, Tam’s, and Lucky Boy. While honoring tradition, Yellow Paper Burger also incorporates elements of the modern burger trend. The beef patty is expertly smashed on a high-heat griddle, striking the perfect balance between crispy and tender. The ‘shrettuce,’ thin-shaved iceberg lettuce atop the burger, is a staple of homemade burgers and hard shell taco nights. And let’s not forget the chopped chiles, a subtle homage to In-N-Out’s not-so-secret menu add-on.
“We never intended to focus on the smash burger in our branding,” Fahrner reveals. Yellow Paper Burger’s creation is more than just a typical smash burger. It embodies the essence of a classic Southern California burger, reminiscent of beloved establishments like Yuca’s and In-N-Out. Fahrner explains, “We wanted to create a burger that truly speaks to our tastes.”
Building a Growing Community
The popularity of Yellow Paper Burger continues to grow. Fahrner shares that their loyal customer base has expanded beyond friends and bar regulars to include individuals who know Yellow Paper solely for its innovative burgers. Served through timed pick-up windows in a back alley in Monterey Park, customers can be spotted in the alley or on neighboring streets, savoring their meal from the comfort of a clamshell takeout container. Even with the necessary physical distancing measures, a sense of community remains as people come together to enjoy something they all love, even if they have to keep six feet apart. A simple wave or a friendly smile is all it takes to reaffirm their shared bond.
“None of this would have been possible without these extraordinary circumstances,” Fahrner reflects on the current Instagram food scene and his own involvement in it. Talented cooks and chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants are now channeling their skills and passion into their own culinary creations. These individuals may not have had the opportunity to pursue this path if not for the unique circumstances we find ourselves in. Many of Fahrner’s customers are longtime friends from the restaurant industry, and Yellow Paper Burger is committed to giving back to the community by donating a portion of its earnings to charities like No Us Without You.
Join the Yellow Paper Burger Experience
The next Yellow Paper Burger pop-up is scheduled for Sunday, November 15, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Monterey Park. Moving forward, Yellow Paper Burger plans to transition to a weekly schedule. Preorders can be made online via Instagram, and the precise address will be provided upon payment.