Restaurant (Obituary) of the Week



This week’s restaurant: Nancy’s Cafe, 9759 Arrow Route (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga.

Crucial note: After I finished a version of this Restaurant of the Week piece Thursday afternoon, a cook at Nancy’s phoned to tell me the restaurant is closing for good FRIDAY, a victim of the economy. That’s TODAY, for most of you reading this. This is a hard blow, and a surprise, because Nancy’s used to always be packed. [UPDATE: I tried to go in for breakfast Friday but at 7:15 a.m. the place was locked and dark, with no sign of life or of explanation.]

Nancy’s was a modest gem, a just-folks diner serving up breakfast and lunch from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The setting was a small, slightly rundown strip mall behind a Jack in the Box, although the non-Jack restaurants are a foodie’s delight: Guido’s, an Italian deli, and Los Jalapenos, a taqueria, both among the city’s best.

I’ve been eating at Nancy’s for years — infrequently, true, but Nancy’s was always there when I needed it. The cheery interior was stuffed with kitsch, some of it ’50s-themed, much of it related to pigs. There was a tiny pig figurine on a tiny swing suspended from the ceiling in the waiting area, more pig figurines at most of the tables, pigs on the walls, pigs at the cash register.

Breakfast had all the standards, served in big portions. The french toast combo ($7) was especially good, as was the french toast covered in brown sugar and oats, dubbed the Annie Oatley ($7.75). I was also an admirer of the lemon pancakes ($7.75). The sausage here was above-average.

Red Hill Coffee Shop, Brandon’s Diner, Kickback Jack’s and Nancy’s make up the shortlist of Rancho Cucamonga’s best breakfast spots. I like ’em all, but Nancy’s was my favorite, with the ambience a big plus.

For whatever reason, I’d never tried Nancy’s for lunch until Wednesday. They had a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads and even barbecued ham and chicken. I got the meatloaf sandwich ($7), on toasted sourdough, with tomatoes, lettuce and onions, and it was a pretty good version.

My colleague Joe Blackstock advised me to get a burger ($7.25) and ask for it on grilled sourdough. I wasn’t in the mood for that much meat on Wednesday. Oh well.

I thought Nancy’s would always be there for me. But let me salute Frank and Nancy Clark for years of good food, friendly service and goofy kitsch. I’ll miss ’em.

Anyone have memories of Nancy’s to share?

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