HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

A review: Pop's Cafe, Santa Ana CA

crt May 31, 2009 07:56 AM

What's obvious from the moment you walk into Pop's Cafe is that this smallish diner has been around for a long, long time. I'm not familiar with the history of the place but I'm guessing it's either been passed on to family members and or sold to different folks throughout the years. Either way I'm also guessing that they've pretty much kept the same menu for a long time other than to add new types of food items that weren't around in the beginning, like chicken fingers and such.

What I am familiar with is good food when I taste it. It's becoming a habit of mine to order at a B&LD, if it's on the menu, one of my favorite breakfast plates, chicken fried steak (CFS) and eggs. Which luckily for me was on the menu here at Pop's. I thought one of my other 'favs', when it comes to breakfast restaurants, couldn't be beat with their CFS. Pop's I humbly apologize. Here at Pop's...An incredibly crunchy, but not too thickly, breaded (sticks to the meat) piece of moist tender meat you could cut with a fork with just the right amount of a country gravy, that was just as perfect, with the right consistency of thickness and that didn't 'coagulate' into a lumpy mess while eating through your piece of CSF. So many restaurants just don't know how to make great gravy whether for CFS or biscuits and gravy. Another thing, most B&LDs, no matter how good, can't seem to get your toast to the table even warm let alone hot. Not a big deal to most people, probably, but it sure impressed the hell out of me that indeed my sourdough toast was not only crunchy, as good sourdough should be, but it was actually HOT, yes HOT! Emphasis intended. Actually the entire plate of food was served piping hot. Add in my perfectly cooked over easy eggs and a heaping helping of perfectly shredded and cooked hash browns that didn't turn into 'mash brown's' during cooking, usually a sign a place is using frozen, and you have a 5 star breakfast plate. Oh, oh, oh my glass of milk. Simple right? Not so. Just like toast should get to your table hot, milk should get to your table ice cold. This large glass of milk was served up ICE COLD in a old time thick milkshake glass which helps to keep it colder longer than thinnish glasses that are used in most B&LDs. Okay, okay end of story on the food.

Ambiance? Okay the place is a bit dated. But that only adds to the charm. The layout is a little cramped and the counter isn't as wide as the Grand Canyon and its chairs could use a little girth & padding added to the seats and backs. But again to me that just adds to the charm of the place. You know built back in a time when the nation wasn't experiencing the glut of overweight people that would have trouble maneuvering around in such a place. Sorry, I don't mean to offend, I'm just trying to get you to understand so when you visit your already acclimated and won't feel the need to needlessly gripe about it.

Service? Top notch this day. All ladies working were smiling, friendly, attentive. We were greeted immediately as we came through the door and when we sat at the counter asked what we wanted to drink. Once we made up our mind our order was promptly taken. The wait for the food was not long. And we had a nice conversation with our waitress at the end of the meal. Definitely will be going back to try something off the lunch menu. I would bet they serve a great burger! Highly recommended!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Servorg RE: crt May 31, 2009 08:01 AM

    Link for Pop's

    Pop's Cafe
    112 E 9th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

    1. OCAnn RE: crt Jun 1, 2009 06:16 PM

      B&LD = ?

      4 Replies
      1. re: OCAnn
        enbell RE: OCAnn Jun 1, 2009 06:37 PM

        breakfast lunch and dinner?

        1. re: enbell
          OCAnn RE: enbell Jun 1, 2009 08:56 PM

          Ahhh...then he meant BL&D and not B&LD.

          1. re: OCAnn
            kdoc RE: OCAnn Jun 2, 2009 10:38 AM

            I think it means Breakfast and Lunch Diner. But back on topic, I've been there once- thought it was decent. Food was hot and tasty; service was pleasant.

            1. re: kdoc
              enbell RE: kdoc Jun 2, 2009 01:37 PM

              Errrrr...DUH! Sorry for interfering.

      2. w
        Warmsandz RE: crt Jun 2, 2009 12:07 AM

        The deep-fried french toast is the best!!!! I gotta try the CFS . . . . hummmm . . . wish I was gonna be in town this weekend!!!!

        1. b
          Brent Courier RE: crt Jun 3, 2009 02:21 AM

          Thanks for the report. Pop's sounds like a must try. Appreciate your effort, and your critique was well written. The B&LD critique crowd (vs. BL&D) ate all the orange marmalade at the table. LOL. Late night humor for the laughing impaired--me.


          1. Peripatetic RE: crt Jun 3, 2009 02:31 PM

            Is Pop's Cafe in Downey/Bell Gardens related? Same owner?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peripatetic
              Servorg RE: Peripatetic Jun 3, 2009 02:35 PM

              No (evidentily just using half of that common "Mom & Pop" vernacular)

            2. WildSwede RE: crt Jun 4, 2009 03:46 PM

              Hi crt! Thank you for the review. Will definitely need to try. Would you tell me what your other "fave" is that you referred to? Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: WildSwede
                crt RE: WildSwede Jun 6, 2009 11:04 AM

                Would you tell me what your other "fave" is that you referred to?


                WildSwede...Sure Benjie's Deli in Orange. Outstanding!


              Show Hidden Posts