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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Pop’s Cafe: The Hidden Gem of Downey

French+toast%2C+pancakes%2C+eggs%2C+sausage%2C+omelette%2C+and+hash+browns+plated+on+the+table.+A+syrup+container+sits+in+the+middle.+
Christine Nader
French toast, pancakes, eggs, sausage, omelette, and hash browns plated on the table. A syrup container sits in the middle.

A surefire way to test how much love a restaurant has accumulated is by experiencing the atmosphere for yourself.

The shift from constant conversations to abrupt silence may leave an unsettling feeling, but it says more than you think.

Pop’s Cafe can honestly be hailed as one of the last remaining food spots in Downey that has a genuine connection between customer and staff.

Once you enter, you’re greeted by bright turquoise walls littered with everything that makes you think the restaurant has been through a tour of America.

License plates, Coca Cola decals, speedway signs and posters are spaced out in an even fashion for the eyes to see.

The atmosphere at Pop’s is lively, a bundle of commotion every way you turn.

The staff members weave a strong bond between each other, making for a comfortable environment.

The menu at Pop’s includes breakfast, lunch, a variety of omelettes, burgers and specialties.

Drinks range from coffees, lemonade, even tomato juice.

Waiters are eager to take orders at your disposal for an easy ordering process.

My order consisted of a meat and cheese omelette, chocolate chip pancakes and four french toast wedges accompanied with a scrambled egg and sausages.

The order came in batches and eventually all of it appeared in the blink of an eye.

If you arrive early enough, the pleasant chatter of customers accompanies your meal, giving the place a homey feel.

The pancakes were fluffy and the omelette had a pleasant crisp.

I decided on getting half fried and half non-fried french toast wedges and developed a preference for the non fried, seeing that they were softer.

The scrambled egg and sausages were a nice change of taste for the palette and was even better when accompanied with hot sauce.

Personal greetings arrive at each customer’s disposal as Pop’s Cafe owner Alex Tsankov makes his way to the tables.

He greeted me with a bright smile as if I had been coming to the place for over a decade, despite it being my first time there.

The cafe first opened in 1954 and the first location to be opened in California was in Downey.

Tsankov is the third owner of the current establishment and has been for the past six years.

Pop’s Cafe has always garnered a large audience but business took off after Tsankov’s ownership.

During the interview, a regular greeted Tsankov as he was exiting the cafe.

Tsankov explained that the man had moved to Puerto Vallarta but had frequented the restaurant so much in the past 20 years that he visits as much as he can.

“It’s not a place where people go and then they never repeat,” Tsankov says, “Here, everybody has been coming for decades.”

Pop’s is looking forward to expanding their menu and their business beyond Downey and the other location in Santa Ana.

This restaurant will warm your heart so much that, just as Tsankov said, you just have to come back.

Overall, I give Pop’s Cafe a 10/10 for their delightful services and their tasty foods, and a separate ten for the relationship between staff and customer.

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About the Contributor
Christine Nader, Co-Community Editor
Christine Nader is Co-Community Editor for Talon Marks. Her goal is to write about music and entertainment. She also goes by the nickname Chris, and her hobbies consist of nail care, attending concerts, and watching movies. In the future, Christine hopes to transfer to Cal State Long Beach, then USC Annenberg for a Masters in Journalism.
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Pop’s Cafe: The Hidden Gem of Downey