Take a bite of a good burger as part of an immersive Good Burger pop-up restaurant that’s taking Los Angeles back to the ’90s.
HOLLYWOOD – Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, where you can finally try Ed’s sauce.
Woah, it’s good.
Many ‘90s kids will remember the orange condiment that had a ratio of sour to sweet so divine that it saved a flailing fast-food restaurant in 1997’s “All That” spinoff movie “Good Burger.” Now, the creation of Kel Mitchell’s clueless, Milli-Vanilli-haired Ed is part of an immersive pop-up restaurant that’s taking reservations in Los Angeles now through the end of the year.
If you ask Mitchell – a co-producer on Nickelodeon’s revived “All That” and co-founder of the pop-up restaurant – about what’s in the sauce, he’ll start answering in his Ed Valley-guy drawl.
“First you start with a lemon, and then you have a little bit of tomato,” he says innocently, before the real Mitchell cuts off Ed. “I can’t tell you! Kenan’s gonna come out of the sky!” (In the movie, co-star Kenan Thompson’s Dexter pins Ed to the ground to make sure he doesn’t reveal his sauce recipe.)
But executive chef Alvin Cailan, who “made, like, six different kinds of Ed’s sauces” before settling on the final mystery mix, reveals ketchup, mayonnaise and pickle juice are included in the topping.
We press him a bit more: Doesn’t Ed mention that there’s lemon in his sauce? Don’t we see him mix in dehydrated milk?
“There is lemon, yes,” Cailan allows. “But there’s no dairy product whatsoever.”
There’s also something in the concoction that gives it a tangy oniony flavor and smoky kick so memorable that we took some to go. But Cailan will say no more.
“You have to keep the mystique going,” says the chef, who’s thinking of selling jars of the sauce. “It’s gnarly. It’s unique to this pop-up, and I don’t know whether it will exist after this pop-up.”
Yes, the sauce itself is tasty. But part of its magic is brought on by its fictional creator, the clueless but bighearted goofball Ed, whom Mitchell is still recognized for playing, even at age 40.
“We’ll get free burgers, me and my wife, we’ll go somewhere, and people just flip out and ask, ‘Want some free fries, bro? Get some fries!’ We’ll go to a drive-through, and my wife likes to order orange soda.”
Of course, the drink order causes “Kenan & Kel” fans to flip out: Mitchell is also known for saying, “Who loves orange soda? Kel loves orange soda! I do, I do, I do-ooo!”
Accordingly, the Good Burger pop-up serves the soft drink – along with alcoholic orange-soda beverages. There’s also fries, shakes, onion rings, salads, and vegan burgers. Despite having fast-food warmers at the front of the eatery, the food is gourmet. The warmers are props. And the burgers are made from Mishima wagyu beef. Which explains why the meal-and-photo-op experience costs $30 a head.
Diners are encouraged to embrace their inner Ed by swimming in a “strawberry jacuzzi” (a milkshake-maker prop), exclaiming “Woah!” (which was the character’s signature line long before the Woah dance went viral) and posing in front of new and vintage “All That” signs.
Mitchell recently did more than embrace the essence of his character: He donned the Good Burger periwinkle-and-white-striped uniform for new episodes of Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy show. His new Ed is nearly the same as the original just more buff; he fills out the outfit more now.
The Good Burger greeting hasn’t changed a bit, though.
“All of the employees have to go like this,” Mitchell says, grabbing the bendy mic at the front of the store and announcing in his Ed rasp, “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”
“I took them through some training to do that.”
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