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THE NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

Garden Grove's Friendly Henry's

July 12, 1990|JANICE L. JONES

The bartender at Henry's Restaurant is an Indian biker named Stroker. The waitress is Faye and the owner is Rae. There's no one named Henry; the place was named after the previous owner's poodle. A memorial plaque to Uncle Walty is embedded in the bar. Uncle Walty was a regular who always sat at the same corner stool. When he died, his friends missed him so much that they took up a collection to mark his spot: "Walter L. Whitlock, 1917-1984."

That's the kind of place Henry's is.

Henry's is on a side street just off Garden Grove Boulevard, where it shares a building with Dave & Jim's Brake Shop and the All State Construction Co. Stroker's Harley is usually parked out front.

The clientele is off-duty cops, construction workers, bikers, letter carriers from the nearby post office--a devoted, tightknit group. The same faces pop up repeatedly in a collection of fading Polaroids tacked to a bulletin board near the jukebox, where they document nearly a decade of Super Bowl Sundays and personal milestones celebrated at Henry's, like birthdays and retirements.

A combination cafe and beer bar, it's many things to many people, depending on the time of day. For some, it's the perfect place for an early breakfast, complete with loads of homemade hash browns. Regulars fetch their own coffee in mugs kept behind the bar just for them.

The faithful return at lunchtime for Rae's blue-plate specials (most of them have the menu memorized). The most popular items are the beef dip sandwich and the corned beef on rye. Both come with homemade fries (the potato is very big here).

Sound a little heavy on the cholesterol? Not to worry. Last year, Faye and Rae held a yard sale in the parking lot to raise money for a customer's heart transplant.

On weekdays the kitchen closes at 5 p.m., just as the bar crowd starts filing in for a cold one after work. It's a friendly place. Newcomers will feel welcome, especially during the raucous pool and dart tournaments held to benefit local charities or friends in need.

Henry's Restaurant, 10549 Stanford Ave., Garden Grove. Opens at 6 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and closes between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., depending on the crowd. Kitchen closes at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. (714) 537-9884.

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