Good Morning, Marston's
We'd heard a lot of good things about Marston's some time ago; apparently some chow-minded folks swear by it, although there are some who swear at it. LAist had more of the good stuff in mind when we planned a breakfast get-together there recently. Marston's is located in Pasadena, just far enough away from Old Town and not too close to the Paseo's looming retail eyes. The restaurant is in a little blue and off-white house, and the quarters are a little close inside. So close, in fact, that despite there being some empty but just needing a wipe-down tables on one side of the room, our server wanted to seat our party at a table that was joined to another, where a family with screaming children were having their morning meal. LAist has never worked as a server, so we don't claim to know their rationale, but as a patron this choice was pretty unappealing, so we asked if we could hold out for a slightly less hectic table. The young lady didn't seem pleased with our question, and she told us in a bit of a huff that we'd "just have to wait over there" by the door. Which we happily did, and before things got too tense we sat down and studied the menu. Seating is definitely a high area for concern at Marston's--those who swear at it have experienced long waits at peak hours, and many have had poor service; those who swear by it say its worth it. We were willing to find out.
The menu is small, but ripe with appealing options in both the egg and carbohydrate categories. Our table ordered a good sampling: A Vegetarian Omlette with avocado and sour cream ($9.95), Macadamia Nut Pancakes ($9.50), and Fantastic French Toast ($8.25). The food won raves from all of us, and the service itself was just fine, as we never felt rushed or unattended-to. The food came in generous portions, and none of us could manage to finish what was on our plates. LAist's favorite part, however, was the coffee, which was so delicious we actually asked our server what brand they used. (They use Apfel's, which to the best of our knowledge is only available for restaurant bulk wholesale purchase--a damn shame because it would be a joy to wake up to a cup of that every day.) Marston's prices are what we've come to expect for high-quality, large portioned LA breakfasts, and the taste was, in our experience, worth it. We'd definitely go back to Marston's, although not at a peak time; we can see how the service could easily be uneven, and the seating even more dramatic than our experience. And that's never worth it--not before our first cup of coffee.
151 East Walnut Street, Pasadena