Restaurant of the Week: Guasti Homestyle Cafe

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Guasti Homestyle Cafe, 13526 Central Ave. (at H), Chino

Some of you may remember when the Homestyle Cafe was in Guasti, the old winery village near Ontario Airport, and was beloved by truckers and families alike who liked the big portions and homey atmosphere. After its demise, the similar Guasti Cafe opened on the site under different owners before having to move in 2007 due to pending redevelopment.

Now using both names, the cafe is 7 miles southwest in Chino, in a former pizza parlor with a sprawling layout, stone lions out front and a small chapel in back. The masonry building dates to 1923.

I don’t know how many customers made the move, but on a recent visit, I recognized several employees from the previous location, including the longtime cashier and a couple of the servers. The manager is Tommy Hornbake, formerly of Ontario’s Iron Skillet.

The menu is pretty similar to the old place, emphasizing breakfast staples but also adding soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch; weekday hours are 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and until 3 p.m. on weekends.

I’ve never been there for lunch but I’ve made it in for breakfast a couple of times. The pancake combo ($9) provides two pancakes, two sausages or bacon strips and two eggs. The eggs and sausage were fine; the pancakes are a foot in diameter and nearly an inch high in the center. I’m not a “big food” fan, but if you are, this is the meal for you.

They’ll give you a pizza box in which to take home your uneaten pancake portion. That’s my kitchen counter and takehome pancake-and-a-half at left. Plop the pancake on a plate, put a paper towel on top and zap it for 45 seconds or so. I got five meals (!) out of this one order: one in the restaurant and four at home. Not bad for the money, although I didn’t feel like eating a pancake again for a couple of weeks.

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  • Ted

    hey! what happened to the daily bulletin post?

    [Because it was going to quickly be buried under a Restaurant of the Week, I decided to take it down and repost it (exactly the same, btw) later today where it will be visible into early next week. -- DA]

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the post. I always wonder about this place when I drive by. The exterior is so unusual.

  • Doug Evans

    We’ve eaten at the old place and here. The old place had a fun atmosphere, but this place has a quirky vibe of its own. I had no idea the building dates from 1923. A couple of things should be mentioned: get there early! Both times we’ve visited we’ve had a long wait, though shorter the second time, when we got there earlier. Also: they have a huge collection of random mugs that they serve coffee in. For some reason I really get a kick of out of that.

  • Dee

    The building used to be a lodge (Moose?) way back when, thus the odd appearance. We’ve only eaten there once because the parking lot is impossibly tiny. I wondered at the time if they shouldn’t make a deal with the Centro Basco for breakfast parking.

  • Andy S

    Yellow formica counter tops?

    [Hey, it's a rental. -- DA]