Classic Tables: Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil

On breakfast and pie in Bixby Knolls

Many workaday breakfast dishes are more appropriate for the hangover-remedy department than the realm of culinary excellence.

But at Long Beach's Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, open since 1969, the evenly browned expanse of the hash browns is crisp proof of a skilled short-order cook–evidence reasserted by the precise set of your eggs ($6).

The sweeter side of breakfast is similarly lovely, but we always stick to the savory, because: pie ($3 to $4 a slice; $11 to $15 for whole pies). As good as the breakfast is, as many fans as the burger has, as comforting as the pot roast may be, Jongewaard's is at its best within the cozy, round walls of a pie tin.

The area by the cash register is like a pie Fantasia, the sweet rounds multiplying more quickly than they're eaten: a slice of boysenberry cut for this table, a wedge of rhubarb dispatched to another. We prefer sitting at the counter here, to feel a sense of regular-dom on the spinning stools and to watch this dance of pie.

Chances are we'll opt for rhubarb, but we could be swayed by the temptation of apple, especially if a streusel-topped "French crust" pie is fresh from the oven.

Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, 3697 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; 562-595-0396