By Joseph Schneider
Right around where Hollywood Way meets the 5 freeway, you’ll find an unassuming little building – wood slats aged by fifty summers, bleached yellow sign, and small adjoining parking lot. Inside, you’ll find some of the best food in the city.
Gary Bric’s Ramp, owned eponymously since April of 1993, has built a reputation over the years as a no-nonsense neighborhood eatery, satisfying a fiercely dedicated customer base. Indeed, sometimes the place is so overwhelmed by its fans that Bric himself has to go outside to park cars. The attention is well deserved.
July can be a sweltering month in Burbank, and I decided to seek out Gary Bric’s for an air conditioned escape from the heat and, I hoped, a lunch that would live up to the numerous accolades posted on its website. Among its many awards, the restaurant has earned the distinction of serving the best cheeseburger in the area, according to the Burbank Times.
Many readers will understand that although a cheeseburger may seem like simple fare, a good one is deceptively difficult to make. An essential alchemy must take place between the quality of the meat, its seasoning, the tenderness of the bun, and the texture and grade of the cheese. Any fixings served alongside must be fresh and crisp (anyone who’s had a burger spoiled by a mealy tomato understands this well).
A Gary Bric cheeseburger is a work of art. All details are meticulously attended to, even the size of the patty relative to the bun is considered – you won’t finish with an unsightly, ketchup-soggy rind of bread on your plate. While many if not most restaurants skimp on the quality of the meat, all of Gary Bric’s are of the ideal 88/12 ratio, leaving just enough fat for marbling (compare to fast food restaurants, known to use a 70/30 blend). Additionally, the patties are fresh, not frozen, a difference you can taste immediately.
The food is a reflection of the restaurant’s owner. Bric, a former Mayor of Burbank and sitting Councilmember, is a stolid and forthright man, honest and practical. One gets the sense in speaking with him that he is unwaveringly fair in his dealings with staff and vendors alike, and that his character is symbiotically linked with the success of his business. While I was his guest, Bric was a consummate host, allowing me to tour his kitchen (spotless), and freely offering candid insights about the daily management of a restaurant.
Menu highlights include the broiled Western Australian coldwater lobster tail, the prime steaks, and of course, the burgers. If you enjoy good food in a family-owned establishment, value for your dollar, and a policy discouraging cell phone use in the restaurant (something I hope will proliferate elsewhere), you’ll be well at home here.
When Gary Bric says “We’re just basically a neighborhood place, [but]I’ll put my food up against anybody,” you can rest assured that if anything, his claim is an understatement.
Meals Served: Lunch & Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted: Amex, Visa, Discover, MasterCard
Gary Bric’s Ramp is located at 7730 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505-1039. They can be reached at (818) 768-6499.