Best Diner Orange County 2008 - Paul's Coffee Shop
Watson and the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop are perennial faves for this category, but neither match the multicultural party at Paul's Coffee Shop in Fountain Valley, a small dive with as much love for the Marines (flags, logos, posters, pictures of John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima, even honest-to-goodness vets in their VFW caps stopping in for a cuppa joe) as a cheap, steaming short stack. In addition to classic diner dishes (hash browns, pancakes, waffles, omelets), Paul's also whips up great Korean barbecue, Portuguese sausage and cheap-but-great steaks that will satiate carnivores of all ethnic stripes. Everything, however, bows down to the crispy calorie bomb that is the chicken-fried chicken, a golden hen fillet drowned in sticky, creamy gravy. Do not operate heavy vehicles after eating this poultry opium—in fact, don't eat anything for the next week; it's that filling.