Located in the Arcadia corridor of Historic Route 66, Rod's Grill is a bit overshadowed by some of its more prestigious neighbors. It is just up the street from Santa Anita Racetrack, just down the street from the last Van de Kamp windmill (now sitting on top of a Denny's), and just a bit further down the street from the historic Derby Restaurant.
I didn't even know about this place until #1DC Antoinette and I drove past it one night. When I was doing some research on it, I discovered that not too long ago, we almost lost this nearly 65 year old establishment to the greedy wrecking ball of the City of Arcadia. In 2006, the city threatened to use "eminent domain" to seize the property and expand the Mercedes Benz dealership next door. Shockingly, public outcry caused the city to back off. Luckily, the economy then tanked and no one in Arcadia was buying Mercedes Benzes anymore.
I met my friend and metblogger Burns for breakfast there a few weekends ago. I was taken aback by the beautifully classic architecture of the whole building. With outside stone-wall facade and inside long curvy counter and plush turquoise booths, it was easily the most aesthetically pleasing place I had been to in awhile.
I got there a bit before Burns and sat down in a booth toward the back. I just soaked in the atmosphere. This is definitely a place that people have been coming to their whole lives. Reading up on yelp comments and forum posts, I found that a lot of them begin with statements like "I remember coming here as a kid." I got to hear one of these "remember whens" firsthand from the table behind me. A large family were meeting there for a Sunday breakfast. "Hey remember how dad used to always get the steak and eggs? I think I'll get that." Oh, don't worry, it's not sad. It's not like "dad" was dead. He was sitting right there and I think he was a little pissed that his daughter had kiped his usual.
My waitress was pretty quick with the coffee refills, which I appreciated. The coffee was pretty decent.
When Burns arrived, we dug into the menu, the cover of which was graced by my second favorite cartoon chef of all time. The menu isn't expansive. It's pretty standard, but with a lot of cute names for regular things. The "Hungry Charlie" ($7.25) is basically a tuna sandwich and the "Peachy Peachy French Toast" ($6.95) is french toast with peaches on it. I ordered that. Burns ordered the "Bone-in Ham Steak and Eggs" ($7.95)
We then waited an oddly long amount of time. We filled the time talking about Burns' dating life and riding motorcycles. He's an adult who rides a grown up machine, while I am an adult who rides a tiny scooter. He looks bad-ass with leather pants and jacket, while I look adorable in a scarf that #1DC Antoinette crocheted for me. We were just getting to the perk up and look around like meerkats stage when our food came.
Burns really loved his breakfast. The eggs were delicious and cheesy (we think Swiss). The ham steak was thick and just a little crispy. The hash browns were extra crispy.
The portions were certainly ample. The Peachy Peachy French Toast also included two eggs and four pieces of decent breakfast sausage. It was also kind of cold. Now, it's french toast covered in whipped cream and canned peaches, both of which are cold items, so I wouldn't expect it to be piping hot. I think it had just sat up on the kitchen counter for a few minutes too long.
Split between the two of us, the food averaged out to "pretty okay." Barring the delay in getting our food, the service was pretty on it. I don't think I ever had to wait more than two minutes for a refill on my coffee. I would go back to Rod's to give the food another shot. There's no question about it, the atmosphere and look of this place alone made me a fan. I can honestly say it's places like this that keep me doing Dinerwood.
Food: Pretty Okay
Service: Mostly good
41 West Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91107
Maybe next time I'll try this.