Crazy Otto’s Valencia serves up enormous plates, even bigger smiles

Since its 1970s inception, iconic breakfast-lunch diner Crazy Otto’s has been dishing out meals big enough to satiate a lumberjack — literally.

Chef Otto Lindsel originally got his start by cooking for lumberjacks in the northern West Coast, before moving to Lancaster to start up a new venture. When Lindsel opened shop near the train tracks of Sierra Highway, the first Crazy Otto’s was born.

For almost 25 years, the humble diner continued to grow to accommodate the large crowds that came in for a hearty serving and some train-time discounts. Rumor has it Lindel mounted a numbered wheel on the wall and spun it each time guests could hear the cars rattle by. Wherever the wheel landed, the corresponding booth would enjoy a side of savings with their breakfast — and get their meal for free.

With generous portions and fast service, Crazy Otto’s quickly developed a reputation for serving the biggest omelettes around, and in 1993, Lindel made it official by preparing an astonishing 1,364-square-foot omelette that won the Guinness World Record.

Though a Portugues diner has since claimed the behemoth omelette title, today’s Crazy Otto’s diners don’t disappoint when it comes to history, portion size or creativity.

In fact, the franchise has been so successful in recent years that they opened two locations in Santa Clarita, one on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, and the other in The Shops at Tourney shopping center in Valencia, just last month.

“This is our first full week in business,” said Brian Hernandez, franchise owner of the Valencia location, during the first week of May. “And we’re busy!”

The newest location maintains all the charm and history of the original, including its own decorative wheel hung on the wall, as well as the bright, industrial decor of a modern diner. Patrons may spy wall hangings reminiscent of the old Lancaster train station, plus a panoramic photo of Lindsel’s first location in Lancaster.

While the ambiance absolutely hits the mark, most patrons end up feasting their eyes on the mouth-watering plates of classic American cuisine.

The menu at Crazy Otto’s features full breakfast and lunch, including prime rib specials, half-pound USDA-selected beef burgers, and classic hot sandwiches and melts.

For breakfast, first-timers must test their appetites on the world-famous omelettes. Favorites include Crazy Otto’s Burgermeat omelette — seasoned ground beef, onions, Ortega chiles and choice of cheese for $13.95 — and the Avocado — diced bacon, freshly mashed avocado, and choice of cheese for $14.95. The Build Your Own omelette also comes with any choice of five ingredients for $16.50.

All omelettes come with a side hash browns, as well as a choice of toast or biscuits and homestyle gravy. The flaky biscuits and rich, seasoned gravy is not only delicious but also a fantastic deal with no extra charge.

Other delicious breakfast choices include the Top Sirloin and Eggs, made with a 10-ounce steak and the same selection of sides for $17.50, as well as the original Hobo Eggs — scrambled eggs, hash browns, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms all cooked together for $13.95.

When it comes to lunch at Crazy Otto’s, the portions are just as legendary. All burgers are made with a half-pound of USDA-selected, seasoned ground beef, and if you get the Bacon Cheeseburger, it also comes with thick-cut strips of bacon and your choice of cheese for $12.50.

The menu also offers both hot and cold sandwiches, and the Club House is a tower of thick-sliced meat and freshly sliced veggies for $12.50. For french fry lovers, the steak-cut spuds are cooked to absolute perfection and worth a visit alone.

Plus, you can’t dine at Crazy Otto’s without taking home a side of good ol’ community diner charm. With every arrival and departure, the staff makes sure to shout a warm hello and a gratuitous thank you to each guest who walks through the door.

After all, Crazy Otto’s couldn’t call itself an iconic American diner if the people weren’t as comforting as the food.

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