Morrison, a classic sports bar, scores big in Burbank and Atwater Village
I grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. Which meant there was no way for me to not have a love of sports hardwired into my internal circuitry. With Yankee Stadium across the street, you spend an inordinate amount of time in the bleacher seats in “The House That Ruth Built.” (I even went there on school field trips. The justification? Baseball is all about the math. I learned to calculate batting averages long before I studied long division)
Which is why I’m drawn, like a fan to a Yankee Frankie, to sports bars. And especially when my soul is in turmoil, and I need the solace of a dozen or more big screens, all with games on them, along with a burger and a brew.
Recently, after giving up on a mini-mall eatery with no customers, and a hostile owner…and a restaurant that was supposed to be open till 10, but had instead closed its door at 6 in the evening (explaining that business was slow; no surprise when you turn customers away!), I felt the need for a joint where I would be welcomed with nachos and fries, fish and chips and chili dogs — and the Dodgers on one screen, the Lakers on another, and the Clippers on yet one more.
Which is how I wound up at the always soul satisfying Morrison. Not “The Morrison” or “Morrison Bar & Grill.” Just “Morrison” — which sits at the cusp of Glendale, Los Feliz and Los Angeles. Choose any or all, for Morrison straddles the borders. And indeed, the many overhead big screen seemingly straddle every sport on at the moment — I truly expect to wander in one day, and find cornhole or tiddlywinks on one of the screens. And thanks to the series “The Queen’s Gambit,” we all know how exciting chess can be!
The website pretty well nails Morrison with the words, “Burgers, Beer and Much More.” With “Much More” including sports, of course, along with numerous tables of joyful carousers happy to be afoot in the world once more, and an open patio adjacent to the parking lot. Which may not be the best place to watch USC and UCLA football — but they sure rock on a warm evening, with the “signature crafted burgers” in hand, oozing juices, too big in most cases to bite into without making a bit of a mess.
Sit inside, and you’ll do your chewing surrounded by cases of sports memorabilia; someone seems to be a big fan of the New England Patriots, and thanks to them for adding a Patriots Super Bowl game ball to the cases.
There are other honors found on the website. Including the proudness that various sites have named Morrison “Best Happy House in LA,” “#7 Restaurant in the USA” (according to Yelp), “Best Bread Pudding in LA,” “#1 Gastropub in LA,” “#1 Burgers in LA” … and “Top Pet Friendly Restaurant in LA.” Which is a lot of weight to carry for such a casual joint. Morrison does it with ease.
Also with a lot of unexpected style.
The top burger on the menu is a $25 concoction called “The One,” crafted out of American Kobe beef, shallots, aioli, truffle oil, truffle peelings, butter lettuce, Port Salt cheese, and grilled mushrooms, with a side of fries. Kobe beef? Shallots? Truffle oil and peelings? What the heck, that’s not a sports bar burger, that’s a gourmet eatery with a celeb chef in the kitchen — Michael Mina, maybe, or Gordon Ramsay.
It’s not the only gourmet burger on the menu. For $20, you can get an Angus beef patty cooked in white truffle oil, this time with bleu cheese and caramelized onions. I gots to tell ya: That burger sounds even better than the Kobe model.
There’s a Classic Burger as well, with thousand island dressing, a trio of siders on Hawaiian sweet rolls, a burger that includes a slab of sliced filet mignon, a breakfast burger with a fried egg and a pancake, a Monster Mac Burger with mac and cheese, a turkey burger, an LA veggie burger, a “shroomer” burger, and a patty melt.
They all come with fries; almost everything here comes with fries. I’m surprised the cheese fries with bacon jam doesn’t come with a side of fries. (And let me point out that the $1,000 tomahawk steak, wrapped in gold foil, at Nus’ret in Beverly Hills doesn’t come with a side of fries — unless you get a separate order for $15 extra!)
The rest of the menu follows pretty much the same drill — food that goes well with beer and sports, such as the barbecue ribs and Red Hot Morrison wings, a “gourmet” NY pretzel with caramel sauce, nachos and fried Brussels sprouts.
Numerous dishes come with a beer suggestion — Belgian Golden Ale or stout with “The One.” But honestly, with a good game on, a Monster Mac in hand, and the affable staff there to serve, any beer will do.
After a bad start, my evening was close to perfect. It’s amazing how happy a Pilsner can make me. And when the Rams are back, I’ll bet the place is out of control. In a great way.
Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rating: 2.5 stars
- Address: 3821 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-843-0227; 3179 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village, 323-667-1839
- Information: www.morrisonrestaurant.com
- Cuisine: Classic sports bar, with classic sports bar food, including a multitude of big burgers, and lots of stuff to be shared, with big screens everywhere!
- When: Lunch and dinner, every day
- Details: Full bar; no reservations
- Prices: About $20 per person
- Suggested dishes: 6 Appetizers ($10-$26), 12 Burgers ($16-$25), Fish and Chips ($19), 4 Tacos ($13), BBQ ($18-$29), Ribeye Steak ($25), 6 Sides ($8-$12), 5 Salads ($9-$15)
- Cards: MC, V
- What the stars mean: 4 (World class! Worth a trip from anywhere!), 3 (Most excellent, even exceptional. Worth a trip from anywhere in Southern California.), 2 (A good place to go for a meal. Worth a trip from anywhere in the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry, and it’s nearby, but don’t get stuck in traffic going.) 0 (Honestly, not worth writing about.)