Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

When the Fish Tale Restaurant closed its doors permanently on August 1, 2014 it was a sad day for many of us. Having our offices above the Fish Tale for about 11 years through 2004 we had many opportunities to work with the restaurant staff as well as those employed by the Bloeser Carpet Company next door.

Most of all we missed the food: both the red and white chowders, a large variety of surf and turf, great salads, oyster bar specialties and the mud pie (jamoca almond ice cream and chocolate syrup served with fresh whipped cream on top), which made any birthday celebration special.

For many years the remnants of our Park Estates walking group would meet at the Fish Tale on the first Friday of every month and it was called “First Fridays at the Fish Tale,” usually celebrated on the patio with the owners, John and Jerry, frequently stopping by to say hello.

Our walking group floundered for the next few months after the closing, first trying the successor E.J. Malloys, but it was not the same and too loud. Finally we settled on the newly opened Baby Bros at Pacific Coast Highway and Clark Avenue. The place was a little weird; for example:

  • Several years prior it was a gas station, but it took the new property owners – Louie and Peter Christopaulos – six years to open the doors in early 2015, thanks to our non-business-friendly city.
  • When they did open it had two names: Baby Bros and Scrambled Breakfast Cafe.
  • They had a drive-through lane, but kept it closed.
  • They took forever to produce a menu, forcing diners to check the menu boards before ordering. When the menu was printed, it had several spelling errors.
  • Once they did have menus, diners had to take several trips to the cashier to first order drinks and then menu items, which were brought to the tables when ready.
  • The concept of ordering from the tables via waitresses was foreign to the owners, who had similar facilities in Downey and El Monte.
  • They often served food portions too large for most, providing the necessity of taking half the food home for another day.
  • Then they quit offering my wife’s favorite side item, creamed corn.
  • Then they quit offering draft beer, one of my favorites.
  • Then they quit offering their specialty hot wings, followed by ditching the Panini, pasta and wraps.
  • The final straw was when they took out the pizza oven. I really liked their pizzas.
  • Our last visit was on August 4, when we learned that they were changing the name to University Burger.

Now University Burger may be a smart move, since the facility is next to the CSULB “Beachside University,” which is basically a dormitory for Long Beach State students in a facility that used to provide specialty career training, Brooks College.

The drive-through lane now is being utilized after three years of being wasted land use. It’s now open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with less emphasis on the breakfast menu, opening an hour later.

The menu now offers tacos, burritos, quesadillas, milk shakes and the “Four Score Special,” four burgers, four fries and four drinks. Obviously the Christopouleses are now catering to the approximately 600 temporary college students and not the 800 homes in nearby Park Estates, yielding about 2,400 patrons.

No Panini, pizza and pasta? That’s just weird, especially for a couple of Greeks named Louie and Peter.

publisher@beachcomber.news

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