By Hayden Kulick & Angie Escalante
While Riverside does have an IHOP and a Dennys, the city falls short when it comes to breakfast places. However, Joanna’s Cafe is a quaint mom and pop style diner to stop by in the morning.
Located in a small shopping center on the corner of Van Buren and Chicago, the restaurant can be hard to miss. The lack of a sign also doesn’t help.
When you walk in you are met with a western themed interior that’s packed with places to sit. While there are hosts, you are encouraged to seat yourself. The walls are decorated with cowboys, coffee mugs and signs with creative wordplay. There are two televisions hung on the walls put at the perfect volume so you’re able to tune in to the screen or your party.
The hosts had a smile on their face but the way they tended to us was uncoordinated. We had more than one server try to take our order even after we had already placed it and parts of our meals were continuously forgotten.
Despite the lackluster service, the food was surprisingly good.
Joanna’s Cafe had a wide range of breakfast items on the menu. It also offered sandwiches, juicy burgers and south of the border food.
The Fruity French Toast stands out on the list because of the mountain of peaches, strawberries, bananas and blueberries topped off with a gentle layer of powdered sugar. The strawberries were the highlight of the dish. They were crisp and sweet enough to make it so syrup wasn’t necessary. The french toast on its own was great as well. It had the right amount of moisture to where it wasn’t soggy but also wasn’t dry.
There is a variety of waffles to choose from on the menu. The Belgian Waffle was thick and fluffy, just like a waffle should be. Paired with a bit of syrup and butter, the sweetness did not overpower the flavor of the waffle.
The Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs is a staple at any diner, it was no different at Joanna’s. While a lot of places tend to make it too chewy and dry, here it was tender and easy to eat. Of course, the dish would not be complete without the country gravy. It did not smother the entire plate and the consistency was not too thick. The meal also comes with a choice of toast or biscuits and gravy.
Hash browns oftentimes will steal the show of a breakfast, yet here they were a little mushy and not crispy enough.
While the service was hit or miss, the food made up for it. The tucked away restaurant is definitely worth a stop.