Thursday, March 14, 2013

Conrads in Pasadena "We Serve to Serve Again"


Conrads is one of those places that just exists. No one ever talks about it, but everyone knows about it and just kind of shrugs. You maybe get a "Oh, I think my grandparents took me there once."
There are two locations, one in Glendale and one in Pasadena. The Pasadena location we have driven by dozens of time, but it just vibed too strongly as a chain restaurant to make me really want to experience it. Recently, we finally gave in to our curiosity.

It really does look like a "once with my grandparents" place. Those mauve seat cushions really POP, don't they? I want to believe that at one point the burnt orange of the lettering outside was found inside. In my imagination the wood grain walls and that groovy orange would have been been magical. Now here in the real world, the main dining room looks like the lobby of a Sheraton in North Dakota.


'Family restaurants' cater to a nightmarish family that must be impossible to please or incredibly large. Conrads is a family restaurant and the menu casts a wide net. There is something for everyone and then some.
Breakfasts have become a bit of struggle for #1DinerWife and I since we are pursuing something close to a low-carb lifestyle. A full breakfast out anywhere is nearly half-carbohydrates. We struggle to find satisfying workarounds.

Lately my breakfast of choice has been Canadian Bacon and Eggs. It's not just the best pizza topping, it is also a great way to mix up your "ham and egg" routine. What is the difference between ham and Canadian bacon? Nothing really when it comes down to it. Different parts of the pig but they pretty much taste the same. Where I am finding the benefit in getting the Canadian bacon is that it is the perfect size for an English muffin. Now how does this jibe with our new low-carb lifestyle. Well, it's more of a 'suggestion' then a lifestyle sometimes. I have gotten quite apt at balancing one half of the muffin with a slice of Canadian bacon and part of my eggs on top. In place of the potatoes, I subbed in some cottage cheese.   

Remember, I said low-carb "suggestion." #1DinerWife Antoinette ordered the fried egg sandwich with bacon. This fried egg sandwich was pretty simple, slightly too simple. The bread was buttered lightly but not toasted. It was just bread, a well-fried egg and some bacon and it was good. She opted for the side of fruit which was surprisingly decent.   

Conrads is a perfectly adequate place. Truth be told quality-wise, its not any better then a Denny's or Carrows. Maybe even a little below those chains if it came right down to it. If you've read this blog at all, you know I am a big proponent of local business and local restaurants, which is why I'd rather come here for a B- breakfast over Carrows and get only a B+ one.

"Why go there at all?" you might ask since there are places near there where you can get a solid A to A+ meal. It's more than just the quality of the food, it's the quality of the experience. Conrads' had attentive and friendly service. The awful interior decorating of the main dining room aside, it feels nice in there. Also, the lounge is a lot more vintage classy than the main room, and I definitely recommend eating in there if you have the chance. There's no picture because, well, we were there around noon and the lounge already had some regulars at the bar. I kind of think if you are at a bar at that hour, you probably don't want your picture taken.

Food: Good
Price $7-12
Service: Attentive.
Pie: Yes.

Conrads Pasadena
861 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91101

1 comment:

Evan said...

Try it again, I love this place (although my co-workers deride it as an old folks restaurant). You can have the bacon and egg sandwich on toast, and they will add lettuce and tomato on request (makes it much better). Their breakfasts are good, too bad you are totally off the carbos, but you can have fruit instead of potatoes.