If Johnny Rocket's fell from the heavens and landed on a Salvation Army, whatever got sorted out would look a lot like the interior of Top Notch Beefburger. The plywood laminate walls are studded with a gallery's worth of thrift-quality oil paintings depicting pine forests with waterfalls and poor Impressionist spin-offs of lush pastel gardens, all in cheap gilded frames.
Tables are garden variety, wood-patterned Formica and outfitted with an arsenal of condiments, napkin dispensers and funky, lighthouse-shape salt and pepper shakers.
The diner counter, with its tulip-style seating, is straight up Happy Days (sans Joanie and Chachi sharing a chocolate malt), but provides the best perch to watch owner Diran Soulian in a paper boat hat flipping patties, ground fresh and formed in-house every morning. Thick, hand cut, “pre WWII”-style fries glisten from a fresh dip in the oil, but no meal is complete without a cement-mixer-thick Oreo cookie shake. Burgers and sandwiches range between $3.15 and $9.30.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant