The sign posted on the wall says, “Lost in the Fifties,” but the owners of the Cadillac Café in Corralitos, Johnny and Christina Loza, are anything but lost. The flashy 1950s era provides the inspiration for their classic American meals.
Michael and I visited the café for the first time this weekend, near closing time. It was still busy, and server Tricia Hayes rushed from table to table, taking orders and serving food.
The walls are painted pink and blue, and covered with '50s memorabilia. Images of Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Bogie and Cadillacs are everywhere—even on the ceiling. A tiny model Caddy was precariously perched on a ceiling fan. At one point, we were stunned to see what looked like Marilyn Monroe walk through the dining room; later we learned it was Christina Loza, whose blond presence kicks up the '50s ambiance.
Cadillac Café offers a big breakfast and lunch menu featuring three-egg omelets, classic two-egg combos and “special scrambles.” In our health-conscious era of slim cuisine and thrifty portions, '50s style feels pleasantly indulgent.
The Bavarian Scramble caught my eye, because it contained “Cheezy Bavarian” sausage (a favorite of mine) from nearby . Christina’s fresh cinnamon rolls are the featured dessert, served hot with butter. Michael was especially happy to see RC Cola on tap, an alternative to the usual Coke or Pepsi.
For lunch, there are plenty of classic club sandwiches, salads and “Hi Performance Burgers.” I chose the Hawaiian Cheeseburger for my lunch, with a salad. Michael chose the Popeye omelet with wheat bread.
In the meantime, server Hayes checked up on customers, asking their opinion on various items she served. Seeing that we had not immediately dug into our food, she inquired with friendly concern, “What are you waitin’ on? Can I get you anything?” That’s what I call service.
My salad consisted of large, fresh leaves of spinach and sliced onion. In an amusing touch—sweet, yellow cherry tomatoes were lined up in a little row in front of the spinach. Dressed with a house vinaigrette, it was a cheery intro to my lunch.
The Hawaiian Cheeseburger consisted of a beef patty marinated in teriyaki sauce and grilled, and served with grilled pineapple, tomato and onions, topped with cheddar cheese. The burger itself was juicy and tasty, especially with the added touch of pineapple sweetness. The seeded white-bread bun, slathered with mayo, was very '50s; however, I would’ve like the 20th century option of a wheat bun.
According to Michael, the Popeye omelet was cooked close to perfection—it provided a healthy option, filled as it was with fresh mushrooms and spinach. His fruit cup looked much more appetizing than any other fruit cup I’ve seen in a diner. Sadly, most chefs seem to treat fruit cups as an aside, and even when they are “fresh,” they look canned. Chef Loza’s fruit cup was presented beautifully. All the fruit—especially the apples— was bright, crisp and undeniably fresh.
Chef and owner Johnny Loza took over the café 16 years ago. At that time, he had no restaurant experience; he learned the restaurant trade on the job. Now he has six staff members, and he cooks and runs the café with his wife, Christina—they married in June of this year. If you’d like some delicious, '50s-style food and blond ambiance, visit the Cadillac Café and indulge yourself.
2906 Freedom Blvd., Corralitos. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mondays. 831-761-1038.