Saturday, May 1, 2010

Le Roy's, The Original--3 Year Anniversary poll winner!

Last month, in preparation for the third anniversary of Dinerwood, I put up a poll asking where I should go. Le Roy's The Original in Monrovia won (runner-up Pacific Diner will get done next month).

I am not often in Monrovia, but every time I am, I end up on Huntington Drive driving past Le Roy's Original. I had never seen it open and assumed it was closed down. I also assumed it was called King Le Roy's for no better reason than it has a lion wearing a crown on the sign.

I was overjoyed when I found out that it wasn't that they were closed down, it's just that they close at 3pm everyday. Apparently I am only ever in Monrovia in late afternoon or evening. Monrovia has an exciting nightlife, if you didn't know.

This morning, bright and early at 7:30 am, I met my friend, legitimate journalist David Allen. In complete contrast with the very first review three years ago, where I walked into Millie's also at 7:30 am and there was no one else there, Le Roy's was hopping.

Le Roy's is by no means tiny, but it doesn't have an abundance of tables. They require that everyone in your party be present before seating you. David was a few minutes late so I got to soak in some of the atmosphere. There's a short counter with about a dozen seats. Each was occupied by a man no younger than 60. More often than not, they were referred to by first name and/or didn't need to look at a menu before ordering.

The waitresses were the kind of waitresses you always want to have; I was called "sweetie" and "hon'" at least twice. They were attentive and friendly, and they were also relatively "with-it." One waitress told her elderly patron that he should go to Youtube and watch the video of the cat flushing the toilet. "It's the funniest thing," she insisted.

So two failures in the realm of photography that occurred during this visit were that I didn't get a good shot of the butterflies that adorn the ceiling and no picture of the etched lions on the glass in the background. The butterflies area bit of head-scratcher unless this is their "spring time" decoration. The lions (same mascot as on the sign) are pretty amazingly detailed in the glass.

Once David and I were seated, we looked over the menu. Even though Le Roy's is only doing breakfast and lunch, the menu was very concise. For breakfast, you basically had a few omelets, the pancake-french toast- waffle triumvirate, and eggs with a pig part. For lunch you had some basic sandwiches.

I asked our waitress what she recommended. She specifically said "Well, these are popular" (which is not exactly what I asked, but all right.) and then proceeded to point out the ham and eggs, the corned beef hash and eggs, and the pancakes.

After some negotiation between us, David ordered the corned beef hash and I ordered the pancake breakfast special. This way we got to sample a a wider variety of what Le Roy's had to offer, at least from the breakfast menu. I also ordered a side of the cottage fries and David ordered the tater-tots.

I get why people are REALLY excited for tater-tots. There are not a lot of restaurants that serve tater-tots, but Le Roy's does. It's pure lunchroom nostalgia. At every table this morning, at least one person ordered them for their potato side. I was more intrigued by the cottage fries, but David was definitely into the idea of the tots.

I also ordered a coffee and let me just say--this was the best coffee I've had in a very long time. It was strong, smooth and not at all bitter. I drank at least five cups while we were there. A waitress was always there each time I finished.

After a slightly longer time that I would have expected, our food arrived.

David's was a little disappointing. I've had worse corned beef hash but I've had way better as well. The tater-tots were as good as tater-tots get, but since I suspect all tater-tots are made in one central processing center in Idaho, I don't imagine there's much variance in flavor.

I fared a bit better. My pancakes were made with a bit of Cream of Wheat mixed into the batter. Usually this is mentioned on a menu as a sub-category of the Pancakes section, like a place might have buttermilk, whole-wheat, and Cream of Wheat. It's interesting that this is their default. It was very soft and tasty. The bacon was crispy but not brittle. The cottage fries were just like big ovoid french fries; they were decent.

The service and the coffee were outstanding at Le Roy's. The food was a bit of a mixed bag. I fully intend to go back since it's quaint places like this which really make doing Dinerwood fun.

Food: More Good than Meh.
Service: Excellent.
Price: $5.00-$9.00
Pie: No pie.

Le Roy's The Original
523 W. Huntington Drive
Monrovia, CA

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