I've said it before and I'll say it again: in Long Beach, breakfast is such a religion, we'll even eat it for lunch. We'd much rather grub down on an omelet smothered in Hollandaise sauce than sit in a church pew or eat another standard sandwich–and the constant lines outside of the city's most well respected breakfast spots each weekend prove it.
But the real sign of a town obsessed with breakfast is that there's always room for more. Despite the presence of at least a dozen egg-specializing, open-until-2 p.m. restaurants within bike-riding distance, The Breakfast Bar opened on Atlantic Ave. earlier this year and is already a mainstay, with Sunday lines that rival institutions like Coffee Cup Cafe and Potholder.
The secret of The Breakfast Bar's rapid acceptance into the pantheon of Long Beach breakfasts is its owners, the loveable husband-wife team of Josh and Pam Beadel. Both veterans of the downtown service-industry scene (Pam was manager at George's Greek Cafe and Josh bartended at George's before becoming a bar manager at Congregation), the two decided it was time to open their dream establishment and they re-vamped a once-hidden restaurant attached to the downtown Travelodge in which to place it.
Part family kitchen, part casual bistro, this all-Long Beach restaurant features a shady streetside patio (with views of the motel pool) and a cozy diner-style interior, with a counter for perching and tables for large-party mimosa drinking. For food, the Beadels have culled some of their best family recipes and thrown together a (recently expanded) menu of homemade, comfort food favorites for every appetite or mood.
There are familiar breakfast and lunch orders like “Eggs N E Way,” a breakfast sandwich and a turkey club, but the best dishes are the ones with the Beadel touch.
Eggs Noni and Eggs Papi are the Breakfast Bar's two takes on eggs benedict, using house-made rosemary bread in lieu of English muffins and a slightly spicy Hollandaise sauce made with Gindo's Spice of Life, a locally made pepper sauce. The Beadel Burger is a torta-bun, chuck-and-short-rib mouthful topped with fresh, green heirloom tomatoes and–if you're praying at the altar of breakfast for lunch–a fried egg and bacon.
The breakfast headliner, however, is a Pam-family specialty: Uncle Marcee's Omelet Casserole, which is more like a decadent frittata, made a day in advance for added eggy flavor. A French-inspired morning soufflé, the passed-down recipe calls for a mixture of eggs, jack cheese, milk and bread, which you can top with anything from avocado and mushrooms to the Breakfast Bar'shand formed sausage patty.
And keeping with the “anything but ordinary” theme of the place, all meals at the Breakfast Bar come not with boring hash browns or even home fries, but instead a house creation of mushed and fried potatoes and cheese they call simply a “potato pancake.”
Great for brunches, lunches or just late breakfasts, The Breakfast Bar's personal touch and endless imagination makes it the future of Long Beach breakfast spots. More than just another place to wait in line for a chance to worship over a plate of eggs, it has charm and personality that reflect its gracious young owners, plus food that makes you think differently about your favorite meal of the day–no matter when you eat it.
The Breakfast Bar, 70 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, (562) 726-1700, the-breakfast-bar.com
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.