Since its opening in 1959, BC Café, or Kick Back Jack’s—Jack being the cartoony mascot, a laid back jack rabbit in Hawaiian-neon print garb who lounges about under open palms and sunny skies—is one of those greasy spoons that used to pepper this stretch of the SoCal landscape before suburbia encroached and replaced them with hegemonies of Denny’s and Cocos. Old farts and blue-collar workers make Breakfast at Carl’s (Carl being the original proprietor and where the ‘BC’ arose) a preferred watering hole, although college students and now young families find themselves drawn to its nuclear-sized sub $10 breakfasts.
On a Sunday morning, business is brisk, a 45-minute wait the prerequisite to snagging amidst this textbook melting pot crowd, hemmed in by the faux tropical décor, the only throwback to the golden ages the black, yellow and white checked ceramic tiles around the kitchen area. Once seated, water arrives in the kind of glasses one expects beer to be served, along with a 15-page menu roughly divided between hearty breakfasts and hearty lunches (dinner isn’t served here, in case you wonder), with the usual skillets, flapjacks and omelets, sandwiches, burgers and fried foods. Squeezed in are frittatas and pot roast a large presence making the breakfast rounds—pot roast omelets, pot roast frittatas, pot roast itself with home fries and eggs.
Since BC Café stakes its reputation on its flap jacks, according to the menu, five large ranch eggs for every pound of flour used, it’s only natural I enjoy them in one form or another. In my case, I nosh on the Super Jacks ($6.99)—four golden, fluffy cakes that cover the circumference of the place, a generous harvest of blueberries mixed into the cakes for sweetness—and a side of super home fries, which could justifiably be a prescription for a heart attack itself. It sounds every bit as sinful as the menu describes it, smothered in melted jack and cheddar and topped off by avocado slices and bacon bits. The red rose potatoes are slightly overdone, but the entire product remarkably tame on the grease. The home fries, I soon discover, are overkill for a single person, maybe appropriate instead for a party of teenagers fresh from midterms or a long night of drinking. And the southern specialties like chicken and waffles—four oversized chicken breast nuggets served in a golden brown batter the way Norms’ Restaurants used to serve them—are a bit ambitious save for the sumo wrestler who has starved himself for eons.
Imagine McDonald’s super-sized to infinity, repetitions of the refrain for the Depeche Mode song, “Everything Counts,” playing in one continuous loop during the whole eating process—“the grabbing hands, grab all they can, everything counts in large amounts.” In our tough economic times, BC Café still makes and breaks them like they used to, a welcome tax shelter for the hungry in this stretch of upscale suburbia.