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.
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).
A local institution for more than 40 years, Bakersfield Music Theatre pulls in patrons with a schedule of major Broadway musicals and other songful spectacles. Stop by on October 8 for a one-night-only performance of Direct from Vegas: Frank Sinatra, featuring Gary Corsello crooning un-remixed versions of Sinatra classics such as “Luck Be a Lady” and “Come Fly With Me” to the orchestral accompaniment of five full-sized musicians. The hit musical Chicago (November 13, 14, and 20) follows the exploits of a pair of femme fatales driven to murder by the stiff breezes of the Windy City, while "This and That: A Night of Song and Dance" (February 26) combines the mouth-powered melodies of Bakersfield Music Theatre with the legendary leggery of the Civic Dance Center. Hairspray (April 30, May 1, and May 7) caps the season with the tuneful tale of a teenage dance queen whose fancy footwork and well-kempt coiffure help her to defeat her enemies, the Philadelphia Eagles.
At Mauricio's Grill and Cantina, a festive atmosphere is just as important as a commitment to culinary tradition. Surrounded by palm trees, both brightly colored locations serve simple Mexican dishes ranging from classics to original house interpretations. Quesadillas and enchiladas are stuffed with ground beef or marinated chicken and then grilled. The aroma of shrimp sautéed with vegetables mingle with that of new york strip steak tossed in ranchero sauce. The kitchen also prepares a range of vegetarian dishes. At the cantina-style bar, servers blend margaritas and other tropical house cocktails.