Paul’s Pantry in Mission Viejo Has Comfort Food to Please Everyone

Cinnamon Roll is huge and delicious. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.Breakfast is probably the meal where you find the biggest difference in servings. Some people pass completely, others grab a bagel or donut and coffee, while on occasion almost everyone will enjoy a good sit-down breakfast or even a Sunday/Holiday brunch with more food than can even be imagined. And who doesn’t enjoy great portions of excellent comfort food at a diner?

South of the Orange Curtain, Paul’s Pantry in Mission Viejo brings comfort dishes that everyone can enjoy. For down-home American classics and Cal/Tex Mex specialties, they are a hard place to beat. Paul’s is not a big place, but they do have a nice large enclosed patio for dining when the weather is nice. Judging by the crowds, it is quite the popular local’s place.They are strictly a breakfast (and lunch) place, opening at 6AM daily except Sunday when they open at 7AM.

Paul’s is noted for it’s Cinnamon Rolls. These rolls are big and baked on the premises so you can taste the freshness. They are available as a side instead of toast with the breakfasts and even dipped as French toast. Slathered with a white icing, they are a perfect example of what a cinnamon roll should be. I do recommend getting there early——the rolls are extemely popular and they can run out since they bake them fresh early in the morning.

Photo essay after end of article

Breakfast choices include omelettes and other egg dishes, traditional breakfast plates and even Mexican breakfast specialties. There are not many places around where you can choose between a Machaca breakfast burrito or a Tenderloin Benedict. On the omelette list, the hit seemed to be the mushroom and bacon omelette. With swiss cheese added, it was a huge and delicious platter, easily enough for two. There are 16 omelettes available, with a combination sure to please everyone. Veggie omelettes are delicious and definitely healthy and a popular option as are the veggie frittatas. .

The chicken fried steak was excellent, crisply battered on the outside but with tender beef inside. The country gravy was not overpowering but nicely complemented the steak. The hash browns had that perfect ratio of crisp outside and soft inside. Most of the breakfast plates come with your choice of two eggs any style as well as toast or the cinanamon roll. Fruit and tomato side substitutions are also available for those who choose. The steak and eggs was another nice dish, a nice piece of grilled beef with the hash browns and eggs.

Lunches are a good way to enjoy a good filling meal. The CFS is also available, this time withcole slaw, mashed spuds and gravy. The Los Angeles area original, the Chili Size, is an excellent choice here. A buttered toasted hamburger bun bottom is topped with a nice grilled patty done to your liking and then that is covered with chili. On top of that, shredded cheddar cheese and diced onions cover the chili. Finally, the buttered bun top is split, toasted and slipped on each side of the plate. It is a textbook-perfect chili size.

Other lunch options include salads and sandwiches, even a nice tuna melt. A good melt is the Beefier Melt, roast beef topped with cheddar cheese and ortega chiles. Other choices include a tuna melt, reubens, grilled cheese sandwiches and a teriyaki chicken sandwich.

Pancakes are big and fluffy and come with either regular or low-cal syrup. There are several low-cholesterol options too for breakfast. The vegetable frittata, with egg whites, green onion, tomato and parmesan cheese, accompanied by a fried cup is ideal for the health-conscious diner. For families, there are kid’s breakfasts, including a “happy face” pancake as well as a chocolate chip pakcake meal with eggs.

Overall, Paul’s offers something for everyone. Service was excellent and the coffee was kept refilled. Indeed, the waitresses are like family there. Some have been at Paul’s for over 30 years, when Paul still owned it. The “new owners”, Tom and Carl, have kept up the tradition—-for the last 23 years now. It is a perfect example of a breakfast and lunch place that it is easy to become a regular at. I should know!

Paul’s Pantry

27409 Bellogente
Mission Viejo, 
CA 92691
949) 364-1088

Mon-Fri: 6am-1:45pm
Sat: 6am-1:45pm
Sun: 7am-1:45pm

(949) 364-1088

Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco, the best Bun bo Hue in Vietnam or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
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