Located right next to the warehouse where his family has built their aircrafts for years, John Harmon’s Rocket Shop Cafe is a casual, diner-style space where guests can socialize over classic American eats. When Harmon designed the cafe, he decided to stick what he knew best—racecars and airplanes—and scattered the walls with official racing gear and TVs to broadcast the biggest events of the day.
From breakfast onward, staff carry out plates of savory chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and customizable Angus burgers, which can be washed down with drinks from a full bar. During the dinner hour, chefs turn their attention to more upscale versions of homestyle dishes, such as teriyaki-glazed salmon, barbecue-slathered meatloaf, and smoky St. Louis–style ribs. They pair these meals with classic Southern desserts such as bananas foster and blackberry cobbler.
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Charley’s has shuffled up standard decks of carbs in a fresh, innovative fashion for years. Though the soul of Charley’s spawns from the beefy abyss of the signature cheesesteak sandwiches ($4.79–$8.89), the entire menu is flavorfully filled to capacity with delicious grilled combinations. The chicken teriyaki sandwich ($5.09–$8.29) is quaint for a stomach sublet, while the Italian deli deluxe ($5.59–$8.89) carnivorously conquers with a bed of pepperoni, ham, turkey, provolone, and generous dustings of Italian seasoning. Diners can load their gastronomic cargo-carriers with a combo meal, complete with Charley's famously crisp fries ($1.79–$2.29), or ascend a mountain of abominably coated fries featuring cheddar, ranch, and bacon ($2.99).
Inspired by his mother's cooking, Fabious Worthy and his wife Elvira maintain a meaty menu of authentic Southern comfort food slathered with tangy barbecue sauce. A straight-up single-meat dinner lets you choose from 10 different meats that range from pork spare ribs to smoked tri-tip to cornbread-battered catfish ($11.25). The heartier Elvira combo treats dining duos and mismatched buddy cops to a taste tour of five different meats ($20.25). All dinners come with a roll and two sides, so pair baked beans with candied yams or test whether dirty rice sticks to ceiling fans better than macaroni salad. Time-crunched office escapees can zip in for Fabious' Corner Best BBQ’s lunch two-meat combo—a two-meat sandwich, 4-ounce side, and a 24-ounce drink ($8.99)—before hurrying back to put out that stapler fire. For dessert, adhere to tradition with a slice of red-velvet cake or try a contemporary twist with Coca-Cola and 7-Up cakes ($3.25 each).
Slinging customizable bowls of rib-stickin’ macaroni and cheese, Mac & Cheeza offers patrons the opportunity to craft a custom spin on homestyle fare. Swing by the welcoming confines and toss together one of 16 meat and veggie options with noodles and more to make tasty personalized concoctions. Like Goldilocks's nightmares, entrees come in four sizes, from baby mac ($5) to mac daddy ($30). Bowls can be customized with regular or rice noodles, as well as dairy or soy cheese bases.
Espresso Café slakes stomach suspirations with a menu stocked with sandwiches and salads, while also energizing customers with an assortment of espressos and tasty coffee drinks. Stop in to rev up before performing a root canal on yourself with a 16 oz. white mocha ($3.85), or annihilate hunger with a spicy ham panini, a flavor bomb of ham and provolone dressed with spicy southwest mayo and mouth-delivered on squaw bread ($6.97). Espresso Café sources its coffee beans from Top Dog Coffee Bar in Morro Bay, while its breads are baked into starchy existence at the Bakersfield location of Great Harvest Bread Company. Students from nearby Bakersfield College can pontificate on the fresh eats and drinks while using the café's free WiFi to research the history of presidential skateboarding.