I went to Lancers a couple of times, many years ago--before I had even started Dinerwood. I had forgotten about it until just recently, and at that time it became an, "Oh yeah, I should go there again" place. It was pretty low on my priority list but then I found myself in Burbank a couple of times and in a position to grab a quick dinner, so this review covers two trips.
Lancers is a traditional family restaurant/coffee shop. Pastel colors cover the plush booths and the walls are adorned with awful motel room art. The restaurant is very large with a long counter and two full size dining rooms, not to mention the cocktail lounge (accessible through it's own entrance or through a door from the dining room).
On both visits, I was surprised at how packed it was. I was there at 6pm on weekdays and if I hadn't just been by myself, I would have had to wait a few minutes to be seated.
I noticed two distinct kinds of people at Lancers: old people and the not-quite-as-old people dining with the young people. There were quite a few families enjoying together time. There were greasy teenagers having awkward, stilted conversations with their parents over pancakes and patty melts seated right next to blue haired biddies talking about artificial hips and what a looker Roosevelt was...TEDDY Roosevelt. Heyoohhh!
One gray panther regular looked a little peeved when he saw me seated in the tiny booth. The waitress buzzed by him and said "We didn't think you were coming tonight." I guess I took his spot, so he sat down at the booth next to me. I'd like to say he glared at me or mumbled threats, but he didn't. He just hassled the waitress about tea and what soups they had.
Speaking of soups, I was able to look into the kitchen from my seat and I saw that they microwave their soups. I found this really odd. Most places have their soups in big heated pots or tubs or I'm not sure what they are called. I watched several times as a waiter would appear with a bowl of soup and pop it in the microwave for a minute or two and then take it to a table.
On both visits, the wait staff was just amazing. They were always there with a refill and a friendly smile. I think I was asked three times by three different waiters in the span of a minute if I needed anything to drink.
As the cover (seen above) demonstrates, Lancers has a traditional menu that covers everything anyone would have wanted to order in 1985.
Although I didn't think of this at the time, I guess I am commemorating the 3 year anniversary of Dinerwood in this review as well. I ordered a fried egg sandwich, something I hadn't ordered since the 101 Coffeeshop review three years ago. I was very surprised because this was literally just a fried egg on toast. No mayonnaise, no tomato, no cheese, no nothing. It was good, but obviously really dry. The coleslaw I got with it was very good, not too sweet and not at all soggy.
The next week I tried to be a little more adventurous. I tried the Liver and Onions dinner. I figured this was an old person kind of restaurant, I'd order an old person's of dinner.
My salad was good.
What? It's a salad. I'm not going to wax poetic about it.
The liver and onions came with a choice of sides. I went with rice and steamed vegetables. The veggies were very good: large chunk of carrot, large chunk of zucchini, large chunk of cauliflower, little bite of broccoli. The rice was tasty as it was obviously cooked in butter and chicken broth. The onions were good and caramelized. The liver...well, the liver was weird. It had the taste and texture of venison. I can take or leave venison. I've had good and I've had overly gamey. I ended up only eating about half of it. This experiment did not pay off.
I will note, that while I was leaving, I saw that, at two separate tables, people had also ordered the liver and onions. They seemed fine with it.
Now, I didn't get pie on either trip, but I have had their pie before and it was good. I remember really liking their chocolate cream pie. They also have a decent variety of cakes and muffins.
Lancers isn't exciting. In fact, it's the opposite. It's very safe and comfortable, which makes sense since after all, this is what we call "comfort food."
Lancers Family Restaurant
697 North Victory Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91502-1628