Eastern Ocean Park Boulevard boasts a variety of great restaurants, burger joints, and local eateries, but no place personifies your neighborhood nook better than the Ocean Park Cafe. Pitted up against the intersection of Ocean Park and 31st Street, commotion runs high with traffic, noise, and seemingly endless construction. The O.P. Cafe is indeed a haven from the outside madness offering patrons a fail safe combination of great food at affordable prices.
We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, but The O.P. Cafe could serve up one of the best breakfast deals in town. Their 2-2-2 breakfast, which consists of two eggs, two bacon strips, ham slices, or sausage links and two pancakes, is only $3.99 if you get there between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Or if your are really hungry you can double down and get a 4-4-4 for $7.98, or 6-6-6 for $11.97 and so on and so forth.
Another popular breakfast item amongst the regulars is the Diablo Burrito. It is a breakfast burrito consisting of eggs, chorizo, bacon, black beans, and home fries, in a tortilla with the house made spicy Diablo sauce. The crisp fries and bacon mixed with the heat of the chorizo and Diablo sauce, is a great blend of flavors, textures, and ample spice. While the Diablo Burrito may seem sinful, it is paired with a side of fruit for a nicely balanced meal.
Along with a selection of burgers and salads, the lunch menu offers up a list of paninis and wraps. Many of the sandwiches can be converted into wraps and vice versa. The simplified menu is appealing, easy, and a nice departure from restaurants that seat you and hand you a phone book of menu options. There is something unappetizing about being able to order a frittata, spaghetti, and a side of egg rolls all in one sitting.
Along with outsourcing Chef John Fanali to makeover the menu, proprietors Mark and Lani Verge reached out to Ricky Kline to give the cafe a much needed face lift. Recipient of the James Beard award in restaurant design, Kline is responsible for overhauling noteworthy downtown hot spots such as Cole’s and The Varnish. Taking his talents to the Westside, Mr. Kline has done an outstanding job revamping The O.P. Cafe.
The rebranded logo was inspired by an old aviation base which stood on the very grounds of the cafe, long before it was built. The exterior truly stands out with a captivating, bright yellow and blue accented facade. Since lifeguarding in Santa Monica runs deep in the Verge family, the 1940s beach theme seems authentically nostalgic, rather than another restaurant gimmick. Friendly service is another plus that makes this place popular amongst locals.
Change is good in the case of The Ocean Park Cafe. The restaurant has had its fare share of owners, makeovers, and menus. But in its 30-plus years of existence, it is safe to say things are looking, feeling, and most importantly, tasting better than ever at the O.P. Cafe.
Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike. To reach him visit his Twitter at twitter.com/greaseweek or his website at tourdefeast.net