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Real Diner Food in OC

OK. So I think I have seen every episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. Being born and raised in OC, I don't think I have ever had real diner food. On my travels my wife and I usually do high-end or hole-in-the-wall ethnic.

I of course have reluctantly been to Ruby's and Woody's diner, but I imagine most of there food comes from Sysco. I love that on this show everything and I mean everything is made from scratch in the mom and pop multi-generational restaurants.

Are there any real diners in Orange County?

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  1. if you find one, please let me know. When the Daily Grill first opened about 15 or so years ago in Newport Beach, it was hopeful. They had pot roast, hamburger steak with hand-cut fries, open-faced hot turkey sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, tapioca pie (to die for!), egg custard, and other diner favorites. But, at least according to their management, these things didn't sell and now they serve the same mediocre and uninteresting food as a zillion other chain restaurants. Sure would like an old-fashioned New Jersey style diner in OC, but I don't think it exists. Let me know if I've missed out on some hidden gem!

    1. As a born-and-bred Jerseyan, I can tell you more or less categorically: there are no Jersey type diners in OC. The closest I've come was the Katella Grill, and I really (really, really, really) can't recommend it... the atmosphere was almost right but the food was awful.

      I would love -- LOVE -- to be contradicted here.

      That said, don't kid yourself -- Sysco have their claws in the Jersey diners too.

      1. Harbor House in Dana Point maybe your closest thing.

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        1. re: 1000steps

          Or Watson's Drugstore & Soda Fountain in Old Town Orange. Although they may not make everything from scratch there.

        2. Did you catch this recent thread on that subject by any chance?

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493086

          1. Watson's Drug and Soda Fountain in Orange is definitely an authentic diner/lunch counter; it's been a working lunch counter since the early 1900's. Everything is made to order, and pretty cheap. Except for the malts, but trust me, they're worth it! The food and the decor reminds me of the diners I used to go to as a child (but without the tableside jukebox unfortunately). And did I mention the malts? Think I need to mention them again. Yum!