There’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned American cuisine to make me truly appreciate my freedom to eat what I like, at a price I like. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic for a burger from my hometown burger joint, I wander down Seventeenth Street in Santa Ana to Fantastic Café.
I’m not a huge carnivore, but I can’t stay away from Fantastic Café’s greasy, meaty goodness. The Rockabilly 1950s décor, sends the nostalgia fanatic in me over the edge. Its walls are dotted and lined with clippings from antique newspapers and sentimental memories of famous jazz bands. The jukebox in the corner is the cherry on top of my malted milkshake.
Fantastic Café may not be the cheapest place I’ve written about. For a sandwich or burger, French fries and coke, you’re looking at about $7, but their portion sizes more than make up for the higher price.
My staple at Fantastic Café is the grilled chicken sandwich because I feel like I’m being indulgent with my fast food, but the guilt isn’t overpowering. On my budget I can’t afford a new pair of jeans every time I have a hankering for the greasy stuff.
Their fries are also worth mentioning. I was raised to put “burger salt” on fries (which is a mixture of seasoning used for, well, burgers I suspect) and most times when I request that I get odd looks. Not at Fantastic Café. They put burger salt on the fries for you. You haven’t tasted fries until they’ve been doused in burger salt. McDonald’s has nothing on these bad boys.
I tend to find myself in one of those eyes-are-bigger-than-my-stomach scenarios every time I wander in. Beware that if you chose to indulge in this ageless endeavor, you may find yourself slumped in a chair for an hour afterwards just to digest, but isn’t that what eating American is all about?
If you’re craving some great ol’ freedom cuisine, you can’t miss Fantastic Café. Its name should say it all.
1727 East 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705