Best Diner - 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.