Remembering Breakfast at Carl’s

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The former Breakfast at Carl’s building, 2011.

You know you’ve lived in the Inland Valley a long time if you remember when BC Cafe (locations in Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga) was located in Pomona and was known as Breakfast at Carl’s.

Reader April Patterson remembers but has a question about the precise location.

“Could you please clear something up for me? There is a thread on Facebook about Breakfast at Carl’s. I seem to remember them on Holt on the south side of the street just west of East End. And then they moved to Claremont.

“Quite a few people are saying that they were first located at the northeast corner of Holt and East End before IHOP went in. But I lived right around the corner from there from 1968 to 1997 and IHOP is the only thing I remember being there.”

Patterson seems to be correct. I found the minutes of a 1976 Pomona Planning Commission meeting online when Carl’s was applying for a beer and wine license. It was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner then. The location given is the southwest corner of Holt and East End, just as Patterson remembers.

The address, for the record, was 1280 E. Holt. (Bit-o-Sweden is described in the minutes as being “across the street.”)

Those minutes say that Carl’s had been open since 1959 at that location and since 1950 elsewhere in Pomona. Can anyone explain that? My understanding is that founder Carlo Purpero also owned a place named Perp’s Purp’s somewhere in Pomona, which may factor into this equation.

Purpero died in 2010 at age 95, according to his obituary.

Feel free to share what you remember about Carl’s or Perp’s. Oh, and does anyone remember their souffle omelet? I’ve been told that was a specialty, and that if you ask for one at BC, they’ll make it.

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  • Alicia Keetle

    My grandfather used to take us to Breakfast at Carl’s on Holt Ave. in Pomona. I clearly remember him flirting with the waitresses! Now, my husband and I take our own kids and grandkids, or just the two of us go, but we are there about once a week. Cannot beat those pancakes!

    [I hope your husband doesn’t flirt with the waitresses even though he’s a grandpa. — DA]

  • Catherine Brundage

    I remember eating there in the early eighties. The breakfasts were hearty and delicious, like at a good truck stop. The biscuits and gravy were to die for. Lots of cops ate there, a sure indicator of good food. My mom bought a “Breakfast at Carl’s” t-shirt for her friend Carl.

    I don’t know why they changed the name — I liked the original name. The food is still good and plentiful — bring your appetite. I like the servers I’ve had at the Claremont location.

    [Speaking of names, the RC location changed its name to Kick Back Jack’s, the name of its rabbit mascot, and the Claremont location changed to that name for about two weeks before hurriedly changing back to BC Cafe. — DA]

  • Allan


    A 1953 Pomona city directory lists:
    Purps Nut Shop (Carl Purpero) confr
    159 S. Garey Ave Pma…LY 9-1115

    Threw me for a loop until I realized I wasn’t sleuthing for perps. I didn’t see an entry for Breakfast at Carl’s in that particular directory.

    [Purp’s is probably right; in fact, I’ll change the entry to reflect that. I don’t remember where I first came across the Perp’s spelling, but it was likely from a reader who misremembered. — DA]

  • Andy

    That was where Pho Express was.. until they closed this year and became a new forgettable viet joint with very poor service!

    [Same building as Breakfast at Carl’s, Andy, or was BC torn down? — DA]

  • Bob Terry

    Breakfast at Carl’s was at the location that most people seem to agree on, but I know for a fact because it was one of 4 places my family and I ever went to, being an 8th generation Pomona descendant of Ygnacio Palomares.

    On Holt Bl. just west of East End, where a Pho house recently was, is the old Breakfast at Carl’s. Our other three breakfast haunts were Seapy’s on Holt and San Antonio, Big E’Nuff Cafe on Mission (5th st.) and San Antonio, and the Hull House on Mission and White Ave. And don’t get me started on Orlando’s and St. Charles Grill…because I was too young to ever go there.

    [OK, we’ll leave those out of it. Thanks, Bob. — DA]

  • Pastor Larry Dickey

    I worked at Breakfast at Carl’s as my first job after a 3 year stint as a paparboy for the Progress-Bulletin in the mid ’60s as a dishwasher/busboy. I did not eat any of the pancakes but the spaghetti w/ meat sauce was fantastic.

    Carl was an interesting employer. Oh yeah did he flirt!

  • Debbie Henderson-Paulsen

    I remember Breakfast at Carl’s was the place to go for breakfast in the 60’s. My Dad C.E. (Al) Henderson did the rock work in the restaurant. Every time we would go there he would say “look at that great rock work.” It sure was! Oh yeah and the pancakes and omelettes were great too!!

  • Bob Terry

    Is that Larry Dickey, graduate of Garey High School and brother of Donny? You “old” guys were my brother’s age…I was the precocious little brother.

  • Trina Benavidez

    I worked for Rocky Purpero at Breakfast at Carls in 82-83. First as a hostess, then a waitress. I worked with some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to know! Mike and Tom were the cooks, Louie was the busboy, Ann, Lorraine, and Valerie were waitresses. But let’s not forget the lady who taught me how to wait tables, that was Doris Delaney! I loved that lady. She took me under her wing (even set me up with her son) and I will never forget her!

    And the customers! Doc Gilman, Frank Zavala, all of the car salesman (when Pomona had the big dealerships on Holt), and those cute Pomona PD officers that used to leave me $1 for a .45 cup of coffee! Those were the days.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to the BC Cafe’s…maybe it’s time to go visit Ann and Rocky. 🙂