Long before plates of baked egg casseroles and lemon pancakes were slung by the dozens each morning at the Breakfast Bar, owners Joshua and Pamela Beadel were service industry vets dreaming of owning a restaurant specializing in hangover cures and morning cocktails. Their now iconic Long Beach restaurant recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in a once dingy, kitschy room next to a Travelodge motel.
The couple’s keen sense of what would succeed in Long Beach stems from their winding hospitality backgrounds and knowing what would resonate with like-minded professionals. In the 2000s, both Joshua and Pamela worked long hours at Red Lobster; he baked an enormous number of cheddar biscuits while she managed the dining room. Joshua also bartended at Hamburger Mary’s in Downtown Long Beach for a stretch. After years of working for someone else, Joshua and Pamela wanted something for themselves, a place that truly catered to the hospitality industry.
“We were just sick of corporate food life and then the constant hustle of bartending,” says Joshua. “We had constantly been telling ourselves that there has got to be a way to do this on our own. And then there was this opportunity that was hard to pass up even though we really didn’t have much in the way of capital.” The Beadels saw the somewhat dilapidated yet charming space on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Long Beach as the perfect location for their breakfast-meets-drinking venture. With a bit of cash saved up and maxed-out credit cards, the couple opened the Breakfast Bar in 2013.
For the first six months of business, Joshua and Pamela bounced between bartending gigs while running the restaurant. “It was grueling,” Joshua says. “We had to borrow money from my parents to buy food for the opening week and Pam’s parents to pay the rent for the first two months — but we made it work.” The Beadels were surprised by the success of the restaurant because it was vastly different from the city’s other staple breakfast spots. The Breakfast Bar’s servers proudly wear “Day Drinker” shirts, while cocktails, wines, and beer are available beginning at 6 a.m. to accommodate hospitality staff who worked into the wee hours of the night. “[Folks are] off on Mondays and Tuesdays — and that means day drinking,” Joshua says. “It’s always a two- or three-beer breakfast or lunch.”
The hangover-friendly fare was inspired by family recipes and customer input. Uncle Marcee’s egg casserole — a recipe handed down through three generations in Joshua’s family — is cheesy, creamy, baked to order, and topped with pico de gallo and sriracha crema. The casserole is a favorite among regulars and can also be topped with bacon, jalapeno, and spiced ground pork.
Instead of country potatoes or hashbrowns, the Breakfast Bar serves hearty, deep-fried pucks of potatoes and cheese that were inspired by a holiday morning dish Joshua’s mom created. “We would fight over the crispy parts so we figured, let’s just make this whole thing crispy,” says Joshua. The result is a golden brown disc of starch and cream that’ll easily make one forget about basic country potatoes.
The couple’s friends Neeya Love and Antwon Lee helped with the restaurant’s chicken and waffles recipe which is named in their honor: Love-Lee chicken and waffle sticks. “It sounds cheesy but there’s a reason it’s mentioned on so many cooking shows: Those smells, those memories of comfort, are what we want to reflect,” says Joshua.
The pork belly skewers, named “Hung Over,” are a play on poutine where gravy-slathered fries are topped with scrambled eggs, bell peppers, and pig candy, bacon strips marinated in maple syrup, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. Fluffy lemon flapjacks taste more like a creamy, lemon cake that substitutes maple syrup for lemon frosting.
“At first, we were like, ‘If we can make a thousand bucks a day, we’ll be good,’” says Joshua. “We far exceeded that our first year. Come year two, we paid off our debt and then we had the capital to go to a full liquor license — and that’s when the Breakfast Bar became the Breakfast Bar.” The drinks menu includes breakfast margaritas, mai tais, and jelly doughnut shots. There’s even a shot that tastes like pancakes and syrup chased with orange juice and a slice of bacon. Between the drinks and the cooking, the Breakfast Bar has become an outright staple, joining Long Beach morning legends like the 50-year-old Potholder and the Coffee Cup Cafe. In 2022, Breakfast Bar grew to a second location on 4th Street in the Belmont Heights neighborhood.
The Beadels never really thought the Breakfast Bar would make it 10 years, at least not initially. “I think we were pleasantly surprised when we started seeing that wild kind of success,” says Joshua. “It made me realize not only how special it was but how we needed to nurture it, so that’s precisely what we plan on doing.”
The Breakfast Bar is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and until 3 p.m. from Friday to Sunday at 70 Atlantic Avenue and 3404 E. Fourth Street in Long Beach.