After driving past the Gold Star drive in Restaurant for three decades

I finally ventured in to the spacious adjoining parking lot until hunger pangs gripped late on a harried weekday morn when I found myself heading south beyond Glendale’s endless Brand Boulevard auto row and suddenly there it was. The sign promised hamburgers and pastrami so I was surprised to find a lengthy, varied menu posted at the counter where you order, pre-pay, and acquire a pick-up number.

During the brief wait for breakfast I scanned the meticulous, comfortable, and casual surroundings and the patrons who ranged from white collar to blue collar and no collar at all. There were about three dozen people and at least 20 cell phones in hand or on ear: an annoying sign of the times. The décor is simplistic with padded banquette seating and there are two walls of solid glass windows so you can count the passing parade of SUVs and delivery trucks or gaze beyond the busy street to the green hills of Forest Lawn. On my latest visit I noted that the always neat and inviting premises have recently been spruced up. By the omnipresent and cordial host owner known to regulars as “George” whose two handsome young sons also take shifts at the family oriented place.

On that first of many visits to the Gold Star corner Number 40 came up quickly and I was presented a platter with three immense, steaming hot cakes which qualify as authentic “flapjacks,” two eggs perfectly prepared over easy, and four thick strips of crispy bacon. (There’s also a choice of ham or sausage.) I was also poured a refill of hearty, hot coffee. It was a really tasty and filling breakfast. Gold Star serves an extensive choice of omelettes and cooked-to-order egg dishes with everything from ham to pork chops or steak with hash browns and toast…. Huevos Rancheros are popular and there’s a whole range of breakfast burritos…. Main dishes are served on a real plate with real flatware.

It was nearing the noon hour before I polished off breakfast so most of the orders (rapidly adding up to Number 55) were having sandwiches with long branch fries and/or gigantic crispy onion rings so I vowed to return another day and over-indulge again — which I did a couple of days later with satisfying results.

The burger menu has two dozen styles of America’s favorite sandwich starting at $2.79. The Palate threw calorie caution to the wind and ordered a cheeseburger combo with a boat of fries and choice of soft drink. A big sesame seeded bun was piled with the works — a generous char-broiled beef patty, topped with cheese, crispy lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles — all and more than I expected.

Other sandwich choices include charred chicken breast, grilled ham and cheese, a virtual mountain of pastrami on a giant roll, and more. Open 7 days from 6:30 in the ayem (7 on weekends) till 11 at nite, Gold Star’s budget-priced homestyle dinner entrees include fish, chicken, pork chop, and a steak sandwich served with fries, cole slaw, and dinner roll.

Be sure to try the addictive fried zucchini strips. There’s nothing fancy about Gold Star, where many orders are prepared for take-out convenience and sauces are limited to catsup, mustard, or syrup but, in this time of tight budgets and escalating grocery prices, this sort of family owned eating place is a welcome alternative to chain gang fast fooderies. Come as you are and you’ll depart Gold Star sated and stuffed with change in your pocket and possibly a carry-out bag presented by a very pleasant staffer. Like me you are likely to become a regular.

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