If you are a Powegian (I didn’t make up that term, it was in the paper from a Poway Days article), you know about The Hamburger Factory in Old Poway Park. You’ve seen the mailbox circulars that advertise ridiculously cheap weekday breakfasts and you’ve most likely taken your family there to eat either before or after riding the train on weekends. If you are like us, however, you know about and talk about The Hamburger Factory but you have yet to eat a meal there.
After our bike ride to the farmers market, after our sampling and purchasing of various fruits and hummus from the vendors, we walked past the market to the craft bazaar and through the cute little Poway museum (they are looking for weekend volunteers, by the way). We wandered across bridges, railroad crossings, through a gazebo, and by some benches. By the point, my stomach was trying to figure out if it was happy with a few bites of fruit and a lentil samosa or if it desperately needed more nourishment (it was a long bike ride, after all). Then came the debate of riding home and whittling down our supply of leftovers or finally eating at The Hamburger Factory, which was all of 10 steps away. Instant gratification won and we entered this Poway establishment for the first time.
Decorated in neon signs, old fashioned metal signs, posters, and some mounted animals, this place is definitely a family restaurant. And also crowded. I was surprised that they were only serving breakfast at 11:00 am. I thought they would start serving lunch and just continue breakfast service until noon or so. Nope, breakfast only; lunch starts at 11:45 am. Because my brain finally acknowledged the eating of the fruit and samosa, I wasn’t terribly hungry. T was intrigued that SOS was on the menu, as he usually only sees it at home in PA. We decided to split an order of SOS, with a side of 2 eggs, scrambled, to sustain us for the ride home. Breakfast is ordered, water and oj are delivered, and I notice the caribou above our table and become jealous. While we were waiting, the table behind us is getting cleared and T noticed the french toast sticks. The guy clearing says that the french toast sticks are “bomb” and while they are only on the kids menu, you can order them and get an adult portion. We consider this for our next visit, while also considering that deep fried french toast sticks with powdered sugar and syrup are probably not part of a balanced diet. Just as I start to wonder how I could buy the mounted caribou if, heaven forbid, The Hamburger Factory should ever close, a plate of 6 french toast sticks comes by our table. I like this place! We take a bite and mention that it really is a good way to eat french toast (although, we’re still fans of traditional non-deep fried french toast). The 6 sticks disappear and I sadly contemplate the fact that my morning elliptical workout and bike ride have just been totally invalidated. Strangely enough, when our server comes by to take away the empty plate he also takes T’s silverware and then drops a bill on the table. When we tell him we’re still waiting for our order, he then remembers we ordered SOS and eggs, takes the bill (we didn’t even look… whose bill was it?), and then comes back with our food and new silverware.
SOS is creamed chipped beef on toast. You can order it with a biscuit, like biscuits and gravy, but we opted for whole wheat toast. To me, SOS is a big salty mess on toast. I ate my eggs and hash browns with it to try and balance out the salt, but T ate it wholeheartedly and enjoyed his nostalgic comfort food. Bike rides are really the best way to do breakfast here, as it forces you to do something to work off the hearty meal.
I don’t know if we’d make a trip to The Hamburger Factory for lunch or dinner, as the menu is pretty standard with sandwiches are burgers. The food is good, the service is efficient, and I love that the guy feels so strongly about the french toast sticks that he snagged a plate from the kitchen so we could experience it. I can easily see us having lunch (or a late breakfast) after wandering through the farmers market. I think it’s a good way to start a Saturday.