This hole-in-the-wall has been dishing up delectable paper-wrapped hamburgers since 1946, and in recent years it graduated from an old-school roadside stand at Sweetzer Avenue to this indoor location (a few blocks east, near Laurel Avenue) with simple seating. The cashier, Sonia Hong (whose family has owned Irv's since 2000), greets everyone with cheer and is famous for making a special doodle on everyone's paper plate which she marks "just for you." She also has a notable capacity for remembering names, but what's really remarkable here are the just-greasy-enough hamburgers and the properly crisped french fries—an excellent substitute for In-N-Out if you can't stomach that chain's eternal parking nightmare. If you want a city icon that's simple, delicious, and mom-and-pop, you've found your happy place.
- Jason Cochran