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Breakfast in Arcadia

What are some great breakfast options in Arcadia, near Santa Anita racetrack? I'm headed there this weekend, and I'm looking for places that are open by 8am or so.

Ethnicity doesn't matter: being Arcadia, I'm open to an Asian breakfast, American, Mexican, or whatever. Just hoping to avoid the Norm's and Denny's type of places.

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    1. Had some decent breakfast meals at Rod's Grill on Huntington Dr & Santa Anita Ave which is an old-school diner that opens at 6:00am.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SoCal Foodie

        Have you (or anyone else out that way) eaten breakfast at the Monrovian? I've read good things about it here on CH but have never been: http://www.the-monrovian.com/

        1. re: Servorg

          The Monrovian is serviceable (and seems to have as many regulars as LeRoy's), but it's not as good as Peach Cafe or Nano's, or even Mimi's for that matter.

          Rod's has been going downhill for years; it has its retro charms but that's about it.

          On the "grungy but cheap and good" side are Doe Jon Station (Taiwanese) and Tall Pines (Mexi-coronary)

          As a general rule of thumb in the northern SGV, you're better off eating breakfast in Monrovia and lunch in Arcadia.

          1. re: Servorg

            I enjoy the Monrovian for breakfast. Especially their bacon. I think the Peach Cafe is a different animal alltogether - different dishes and very high quality. The Monrovian is your basic coffee shop. I think it is better than Nano's. LeRoy's is the first place I thought of when I read Salt's request. I think they and the Monrovian are on par with eachother, but prefer the Monrovian since they have things with gravy and everything always comes out cooked as ordered. I have been to Rod's only once, but would rate it just below the Monrovian and LeRoy's. However, this is the closest place you will find to the racetrack.
            I also like Chef's which is further south on Live Oak/Santa Anita for breakfast.
            Good luck at the racetrack, S!! ;-)

          2. re: SoCal Foodie

            We liked our first visit to Rod's a lot, and I've been back both by myself and with my old high-school buddy. Really dandy diner fare, with a few unusual twists. We're getting a big kick out of seeing it regularly on "Luck"!

            As much as I want to love LeRoy's, the best I can do is like it more for the homey ambiance than for the food.

          3. Rather than posting a link to that Philistine Yelp site, I'll post a link to a previous thread here:


            I've been to LeRoy's for breakfast, decent diner breakfast, there usually is a line waiting to get in on weekend mornings, but 8 AM ought to work out OK.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChinoWayne

              Hey, do I like Philistinean to you? ;-D> Simply getting ready for the great "place link black out" of 2012. Maybe that's what those damn Mayan's and their calendar were talking about when they stopped counting the years in 2012?

            2. A little further east in Monrovia is the Peach Cafe. Very nice ambience, slightly upscale menu, great coffee. Closer but slightly to the south is the Nano Cafe on Duarte. More of a traditional breakfast menu, but they use really fresh fruits and veggies, and the baked goods are nice, too.

              I can't say I cared for Rod's Grill.

              1 Reply
              1. If you feel like Taiwanese breakfast, my family's go to place is Doe Jon Station where you will find your Taiwanese breakfast staples (fried cruellers, soy milk, etc) for a cheap price!

                Doe Jon Station
                46 W Las Tunas Dr
                Arcadia, CA 91007

                5 Replies
                1. re: crystaw

                  I have driven by this place several times and wondered what it was. Now I know! Thanks!

                    1. re: crystaw

                      Si Hai (Four Seas) on Las Tunas is much better for Chinese breakfast.

                    2. If you can make the drive out to El Monte, consider the "Hobo Omelette" from Annia's Kitchen, a tiny diner tucked into the city's airport.

                      Annia's Kitchen
                      4233 Santa Anita Ave
                      El Monte, CA 91731

                      1. Go to LeRoy's while you still can. These oldschool places are worth going to, if only to benchmark what a diner was. Of the options in this thread, it is the only place I would eat at. Too bad they only serve bisquits and gravy on Tuesday and Thursday. Many times the B&G has happily eased me into a food coma(sometimes at work). Good Luck this weekend PS, I assume you are cooking. edit: I saw the blog, OK, judging.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DWB

                          Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone.

                          I was considering Twohey's in Alhambra, but the menu at Peach is looking more interesting to me. Also, Twohey's is kind of far from the track, and I'd prefer to stay a little closer.

                          I'll head into the weekend with Peach and Leroy's as my two options, and we'll see what happens.

                          1. re: Professor Salt

                            At The Peach, I LOVE the Peach Benedict they offer. Very different and awesome!! ;-) Happy judging!!

                        2. A bit of a drive from Arcadia on the 210East, but definitely pilgrimage-worthy:

                          The Donut Man in Glendora is open 24-7...

                          1 Reply
                          1. If you are able to drive a bit, Julienne in San Marino has really good breakfast, but it is a bit pricey.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: endyyy

                              Julienne stopped being good about 1.5 years ago. Maybe sooner.

                              Pastries are still good, but the savory, cooked items (breakfast, sandwiches) are just awful. And overpriced.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Their lunch is okay, sometimes really good (roast lamb on rosemary/raisin bread!!!), but to me it's mostly just calm, comfortable people-watching, preferably with someone else picking up the tab. I was warned off their breakfast on this board many years ago. ipse, although I disagree with you about many of the sandwiches (see above), I must say that their fancy-burger is both the most expensive and least good one I've ever tried. I even tried it twice, because I figured that first one had to be a fluke, and it was - the second one was worse!

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I totally agree ipse! Last time I was at Julienne was the LAST time, they asked me if they could serve me my eggs scrambled since one of their cooks was having difficulty poaching an egg.

                                2. re: endyyy

                                  It's also a no go on Sundays (if that's when the OP is coming into town) since it's closed

                                  1. re: endyyy

                                    Julienne is great for breakfast, but the wait can be an 1 hour+ on weekends. Their scone with lemon curd is outstanding

                                  2. We drove down to Peach Cafe at 7:30 am on Saturday, and they weren't open for business yet. So we ended up at the LeRoy's. I loved the OG diner feel of the place - it could be a movie set cast with customers and wait staff that have probably been there for decades. I love this type of place for the atmosphere. Food-wise, it's no-surprises breakfast fare of pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage, and bacon. Unless I missed something shockingly good on the menu, it's standard diner food. Makes me wish we caught Peaches Cafe when they were open, because the menu at Peaches looked more interesting.

                                    Anyhow, just a block down from Peaches is a Cuban bakery called Merengue Bakery and Cafe. They look like a Porto's wannabe, but smaller-scale. We stopped in and bought a guava and cheese pastry, but I didn't get around to eating it because we were stuffing our faces all day long, and I ended up sending it home with someone else. Has anyone tried Merengue, and what's good here?

                                    20 Replies
                                    1. re: Professor Salt

                                      Potato balls.

                                      I'd go more often, but I think they are really overpriced. Rents in Old Town Monrovia must be really high.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Thanks for that ipse. The two potato ball / croqueta things did look good in the hotbox. Under different circumstances, I would have gotten a sampling of the things from there.

                                        The guava and cheese tarts looked alot like the ones from Porto's, in shape and style. I wouldn't be surprised if Merengue buys those frozen from Porto's wholesale business and finish-bakes them on-site. I asked the counter girl if they "baked them there," and she said yes. I didn't press her on the purchased-from-Porto's part because she didn't seem to know.

                                        Maybe Will can take one for the team and see what other goodness lurks at Merengue this week?

                                        1. re: Professor Salt

                                          Consider it done, Professor. Always willing to make this sort of sacrifice, especially when I'm in a mood to devour anything remotely edible.

                                          BTW, I went to the Peach website and noticed that they CLAIM to be open at 7:30 every day. Sounds like somebody overslept …

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            The sandwiches at Merengue are fine. They come with a choice of fruit or sweet potato fries on the side. Usually, they range from $7-9 in price. The potato balls are great. It's a bakery, so the best thing there are the baked goods. I like the "Refugee" pastry the best, which is filled with guava and cream cheese. The display case has enough tempting pastries and cakes that I'm sure I gained a few pounds by just staring it them.

                                            The staff is friendly. Service is good.

                                            I've also heard the rumor that it was started by an ex-Porto employee. If I remember, I'll ask the next time I'm there.

                                      2. re: Professor Salt

                                        Professor, as a card-carrying Diner Freak I place no trust in breakfast served in any place that is not open by 7:30, but then not everyone is a Diner Freak. I agree completely with what did and did not impress you about LeRoy's; too bad you can't eat the ambience! That said, after my fasting physical in that area tomorrow morning perhaps I should try something other than CFS and eggs, and either Peaches or Merengue might offer a nice alternative. Or both; bringing home a guava and cheese pastry (YUM) would probably be appreciated. If I have anything else I'll post the results.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I had a great breakfast at The Monrovian on Saturday morning. I ordered their Chicken Fried Steak which was passable. BUT you get a choice of toast or a pancake. Since I had not had their pancakes before, I got that. Good lord was it good. Maybe it was the butter they served with it, cannot be sure, but it was whipped and salty and was perfect with the pancake. I ended up just tearing pieces of the pancake off with my hands and dipping it in the butter. Once the butter got too low in the cup, I took my knife, got all the buttery goodness out, and smeared it on the corner of my plate. I apologize if anyone was there and had to watch me do this. I wonder if my eyes rolled into the back of my head. Did not touch the syrup. So good that I even considered calling in an order with bacon (LOVE their bacon) on my way in to work this morning! Since they serve breakfast all day, I may just go have breakfast for dinner! ;-)

                                          Salt: the Monrovian is on the corner of Colorado and Myrtle - just steps from Merengue.

                                        2. re: Professor Salt

                                          It's my understanding one of Portos bakers defected and helped launch Merengue. Not sure if he is still there but I haven't noticed any change in the menu or quality that would lead me to believe he isn't.

                                          1. re: RoxyGrl

                                            Two things I do not like about this place already: the online menu has no prices, and they claim to have "paniniS". The last goof is depressingly widespread; priceless menus are less so, and even more regrettable. But I'm going there anyway

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              You can see a small sampling of their prices in this photo: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/kSn0hH... just to give you some idea of what you'll be in for.

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Thanks, but I've been there and back. The place has the cozy charm of a smalltown Trailways station, except that those don't typically have cases of droolworthy cakes, cookies and pastries, and the chairs at the tables are very comfortable wicker-looking woven plastic. There's also a sort of conversation nook in a corner with armchairs and sofa. I could have done without the giant TV blathering on behind me, but I guess the kids working there need something to look at …

                                                Like Porto's, you order at the counter and they give you a number tag. I was in time for breakfast, served until 11:30; ordered a small regular coffee and the Merengue Scramble, which ran me $8 even plus 70¢ tax. Ouch. The coffee was not particularly distinguished, but plenty strong. After a bit more of a wait than I'd expected my plate came out, agreeably loaded with a good heap of scrambled egg with bits of tomato, pepper and bacon, and shreds of cheddar, all with about a quarter of an avocado on top, sliced lengthwise. Flowing over about half of this and covering the rest of the plate was another pile, this one of plantain chips. These were tender, fairly crisp, and lightly salted, overall a bit better than what I remember of Porto's.

                                                The scramble itself was in no way extraordinary; although the "crisp apple-smoked bacon" was the second ingredient listed on the menu there was barely enough of it to taste and it was certainly not crisp. What I had was an agreeable sort of breakfast-burrito filling, made more agreeable by drooling a whole one-serve packet of Tapatio all over it (note: if you don't have a pocket knife, scissors, or at least a nail clipper with you, you will not get any Tapatio. Biting is a perilous option.).

                                                This is sounding like a Bad Review, so let me rescue it a bit: I had positioned myself so I could scan the pastry case - this is a bakery first and foremost, after all - and I loved the heck out of everything I saw. The prices are a bit more than what Porto's was charging on my last visit, but that's been a while; Merengue's potato balls are $1.15 each, and come with either beef or cheese filling, and the two Refugees I bought to take home (guava/cream cheese blocks) were also $1.15. With tax the two came to $2.50. The sandwiches seem to all run in the mid-$7 bracket, and had it not been too close to lunch time I'd have probably taken one of those home, too. Service was prompt and friendly, at least at the front end. Perhaps it was due to my midmorning arrival time, but not only is there a big, free municipal lot beside the building, I got "Doris Day parking" right at the side door.

                                                This ain't stuff-'til-you're-bustin' diner food, though you could certainly eat too much if you wanted. I had about as much as I serve myself for breakfast and felt pretty happy about it. Wouldn't give it a star, but I will be back when I'm in the 'hood.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  How did you like the guava cheese pastries and potato balls?

                                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                                    I did the same thing you did and brought it home for future reference. Thanks to your prompting, I just ate it. It was awfully good; it would have been better fresh. I gave one to my MIL yesterday, and will ask her how it was. As for the potato balls, I've not yet tried them.

                                                    Now, it so happens that my car, which was recently worked on in Monrovia, has an oil leak and has to go back - I'm waiting for the guy to call me now - so I foresee a small side-trip while I'm at it. Oh, the things I do for you people …

                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      It's a dirty (oily) job but someone has to take it on, Will... ;-D>

                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                        if it was me... I'd probably hit Market Grill for lunch and then Merengue for potato balls and pastries to go.

                                                        Just a suggestion!

                                                        1. re: RoxyGrl

                                                          I'd go to Market Grill just for their bacon chocolate chip cookies.

                                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                                      I wouldn't strongly recommend Merengue for the food (though the plantains are good, as you say), but they do a great job with custom decorated cakes. Check out the photo albums to see some of their creative work.

                                                      1. re: Jordan

                                                        Well, I owe myself and them the trial of a sandwich, anyway. I've got to take the car to the shop there tomorrow, so that'll be the day. Something with pork, I think …

                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                          Will Owen,

                                                          Off Topic: did you ever read the hash brown story about the Way Station?

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            Just tried to, and this idiot search engine just dumped out every post with the words way, station, browns and hash in it somewhere. So I don't know if I've read the one you're talking about or not. I have contributed to one, very long time ago …

                                            2. Look up Clocker's Corner @ Santa Anita Race Track especially during the season when all he pretty female stable girls are bouncing on the ponies! Ooh yeah, the all you can eat breakfast buffet is AAAs'!