Mel’s Diner: The Place to Go for Breakfast & Lunch in Fountain Valley, CA
9430 Warner Ave, Suite I, Fountain Valley, CA
Written by Paulette Le Pore Motzko
Copyright July 2011
I discovered Mel’s Diner when I was going to get my hair done in the mini mall where the small diner. If you blinked you might miss the place, but that is just the kind of place I write about. Jewels like this one, who have been in business over 20 years and handed down in the family from one generation to the next.
Richard Gutierrez is not only the owner and Chief Chef and is the nicest guy you will ever meet and I couldn’t believe how he knew the names of everybody who came in, who were mostly “regulars.” Richard G. has been in the restaurant biz for 11 years. This is the first and only restaurant. Richard has owned and he learned through his father Cliserio.
Some of the Top sellers at Mel’s Diner are their Biscuits & gravy which Richard makes from scratch each day just as he does their gravy that goes on top.
I tried the Cinnamon rolls, and they are tender and sweet without being overly sweet with the spicy flavor of cinnamon baked in. These are only made on the weekends, so if you want a bite of one of these, you’ll have to come on a Saturday or Sunday. You could very easily split this one with someone!
Every day for lunch Richard features sandwiches like a Barbecued Beef, or Turkey with Avocado and usually two homemade soups are featured as well.
I would say my all-time favorite at Mel’s Diner is the Mexican eggs or Machaca & Eggs, which consists of-seasoned shredded beef that is great on its own. The tender shredded beef is combined with cooked seasoned rice, scrambled eggs and pinto beans. On the plate Richard joked with me saying “The only thing we don’t do is lay our own eggs!” He is a pretty funny guy though I really don’t think he even tries.
The Machaca & Eggs would be great on its own, but it is served with homemade refried beans and homemade chips and yes, even homemade salsa! I want to get some of the salsa to go when I go in tomorrow.
I guarantee if you go to Mel’s Diner, it won’t be just once. You will want to come back and be a part of the action, the activity that goes on in the morning, sharing coffee and conversation with Orange County locals while Pam serves up a smile along with your breakfast order!
This place is doing something very right and you will want to try other menu items like their Eggs Benedict. I had the Jr. Lumberjack Breakfast and their sausage and bacon was cooked just right and the bacon they use is very lean.
“Mel’s Diner’s omelets are by far the best around. We use 3 eggs in each omelet.”
“People love the atmosphere. It is like “family”. People tell me “we come in here and enjoy the latest current events; people enjoy being in here.”
“I love seeing the satisfaction of people’s faces. I see the stories of people’s lives of people coming with their parents and then they grow up and then bring in their kids!
“Keeping the Circle of Mel’s going gives me the satisfaction of knowing people come for the consistency of what they remembered 20 years ago and they get it still!”
“We tried serving dinners for about a year 10 years ago, but it never panned out. It was one of those things that that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We stick to what we know and what we do best.”
What does Richard eat and what are his personal favorites?
Favorite breakfast-Machaca and eggs
Favorite lunch-Chili Size—Open faced hamburger topped with our famous chili.
What do I tell people who have never been to Mel’s Diner?
“Whatever you do, just go and you will be really glad you did! You won’t believe the portions, how refreshing it is to see a place where cans are extinct and homemade pride comes in portions as big as Richard’s Machaca & Eggs or his amazing Cinnamon Rolls!