DINING OUT:

For those of you who were disappointed when the old Bob's Big Boy on Glenoaks closed, take heart. The new Glenoaks Cafe offers a similar American diner experience. For those who never thought Bob's was all that great, take heart.?.?.? you're vindicated. The new place offers a similar American diner experience.

The owners are the same as when it was Bob's. They chose to cancel their franchise renewal because they wanted to be free of corporate regulations. They wanted to serve fresh food their way. While the food is fresher and the menu more expansive, there's room for growth in the food-preparation department.

The dining room still has the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious feel. It's been freshened up with a paint job and new lighting. But it still has the friendly booths and country tables. So it's a great place to go with kids or a group of friends and talk for hours over coffee. On weekends, they're open until midnight, almost unheard of in Glendale. Definitely something to keep in mind when you're having a late-night craving for a burger and a hot fudge ice cream brownie cake.

Naturally, my kids and I tried the burgers, both the classic double burger ($7.95) with cheese ($.75) and the bacon cheeseburger ($8.95) with avocado (75 cents). Dash and Simone were astonished at the size of them — maybe 6 inches high — and they were beautifully assembled with gooey melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and lots of ripe avocado. The beef came in the form of two quarter-pound patties stacked one on top of the other. I found this oddly disconcerting, but my preteens polished off their burgers greedily.

My Denise salad ($11.95!) was a major disappointment. To me, a salad should be greater than the sum of its parts. This was raw vegetables on a plate. The cucumber, avocado, romaine and onion were cut too large, the grilled chicken was placed on top as an afterthought, and the balsamic dressing was too sweet. Again, fresh foods but not very flavorful.

The wait staff couldn't be friendlier. Hopefully, in time, they'll become more familiar with the menu, but they are cheerful and as helpful as they can be. Our waiter encouraged us to return for breakfast sometime and experience their breakfast bar ($10.99 for adults, $5.99 for children). We did. My son indulged in the variety of typical morning foods and was happy as a clam. Had I paid the adult rate, I would not have been happy. The eggs were lukewarm, the French toast and pancakes cold, the bacon floppy. However, the bottomless plate of chocolate cookies were incredible.

My buenos huevos ($8.95), warm corn tortillas with fried eggs and pico de gallo, were hotter and tastier but nothing to write home about. Simone's Italian fritatta ($8.95) was the best — an envelope of eggs filled with delicious sauteed spinach and mushrooms. The coffee is great, also, mainly because it comes in a thick, white porcelain mug.

Yes, coffee and a burger, those are the things to get at the Glenoaks Cafe. Others have raved about their panini sandwiches, but I can't attest to those. Nor did we get around to the desserts, but they looked pretty tasty. It's a good place to bring kids or friends for a late-night snack, but, for now, at least, I can't recommend it as a great all-around restaurant.


?LISA DUPUY is a self-proclaimed foodie. She reads cookbooks and prepares specialties from around the world.

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