I wish Irvine had little places with some sort of character, but sadly, in order to get that experience, I have to drive 20 minutes to Santa Ana to find it. Pop’s Cafe has been around awhile. The original “pops” is long gone, but apart from the owners being different, I doubt anything else has changed much since its inception.
The restaurant has two separate dining rooms, sharing one kitchen in the middle. Outside seating is available, but you want to sit inside for that nostalgic experience where memorabilia and remnants of days gone by are displayed on shelves and walls.
The menu is extensive with tons of choices and you have the option of breakfast or lunch selections regardless of what time you visit.
I ordered the Triple Decker Club ($7.95). My eyes pop out when it arrives. The sandwich is HUGE and filled with turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato. I love how the simplicity of these four things can make such a delicious sandwich! Bacon is rendered through, turkey is flavorful and lettuce crisp. The best part of the sandwich is the perfectly toasted bread — essential to a great sandwich.
The #16 is a great deal at $6.50. Two pancakes, two eggs, bacon, sausage, ham or polish sausage might not sound like a lot, but the pancakes are super big and that alone is enough for a meal.
Pancakes are fluffy and after a glob of butter and a drizzle of syrup, they are mouthful after mouthful of sticky salty sweetness.
Unfortunately, the #3, Corned Beef Hash and two eggs ($6.95) didn’t appeal to me at all. I absolutely detest canned corned beef and sadly, the corned beef here isn’t home made but of the Libby’s variety.
The only corned beef hash I’ve liked are the ones made using homemade corned beef chopped up so there is still texture and not plain mush.
I don’t drink coffee ($1.50) often but when I do, I like it strong and piping hot. The coffee here is a hit and miss, sometimes lukewarm, sometimes hot, but not scorchingly so. It isn’t good enough for me to get it another time.
We asked if the orange juice ($2.45) is freshly squeezed and the answer was yes, but it wasn’t. Tropicana fresh maybe, but definitely not freshly squeezed.
Service is decent and food arrives in a timely fashion. I wish this place was closer because after that club sandwich, I know I definitely want to try more of their lunch menu items.
112 E. 9th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701