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Suit Your Fancy at Laguna's Penguin Cafe : Local Hangout Has Flair With Home-Style Fare

January 31, 1991|LANIE JONES

If you like a hearty breakfast--and also happen to like penguins--this is the place.

A local hangout for 15 years, the Penguin Cafe offers home-style cooking, friendly service and an "ambience de penguin" that is unique.

The stumpy birds march across the restaurant's front window and along every wall. Cloth and ceramic penguins perch on wooden shelves over the booths. And cartoons and color photographs depict the tuxedo-clad birds balancing on each other's shoulders or lined up like lemmings, preparing to dive off an iceberg into the frigid sea.

There are a few penguin-related items on the menu--but, thankfully, nothing actually made from the Antarctic bird itself. If you're hungry, try the "Penguin Burger," a half-pound of hamburger with cheese, a salad and French fries for $4.95. Or the "Breakfast Penguin," a fried ham-and-egg sandwich with cheese for $3.95.

All of the Penguin Cafe's fare consists of good, American-style cooking, reasonably priced. Among the offerings: fresh-squeezed orange juice, strong coffee (with frequent refills available), eggs and bacon, omelets and chili. Enjoy your food at a booth or from a wooden stool at the counter. And while you wait for your meal, give the jukebox a spin. (Just like the old days, 25 cents still buys three songs.)

Weekday mornings are busy but usually don't require a wait. On weekends, expect to scribble your name on a list, then grab a cup of coffee and wait outside on a bench in the sun.

Penguin Cafe, 981 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (714) 494-1353.

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