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Quarantine has made plenty of people feel bored of the same home cooked meals and basic fast food deals. These five local gems will break that boring cycle, with an array of exciting dishes and ambiance that engages the interest of their customers, while following social distancing guidelines. 

#1 Clearman’s Galley

Clearman‘s Galley on Rosemead Blvd. in the city of San Gabriel, just 10 minutes from Pasadena City College, is a San Gabriel Valley classic worth a visit.

The giant red boat facing the street makes it very hard to miss. For aesthetic instagrammers, the red boat also makes for a really cool photo worthy destination.

Customers are currently offered take out and delivery through Postmates, as well as dining options out on the patio. Operations are still running on the original schedule, which can be accessed from their website.

Happy Hour prices are currently served all day, which is great considering many restaurants have disregarded happy hours during COVID19.

The most popular items on the menu are the chill cheese burger and cheese bread, both presenting the palate with well seasoned, buttery flavors. However, there are lighter options available for more health conscious individuals.

“I personally like the wraps and the hot turkey sandwich with honey mustard and avocado, it’s like a turkey melt,” said Galley employee Victoria Sivera.

#2 China Express

China Express on Lake Ave. in Pasadena, just 10 minutes from Pasadena City College, is an easy to miss must have.

Shutdown from April to May of this year, good business resumed immediately after they were able to re-open.

Customers currently have the options to pick up, and order to go. Hours were in fact adjusted due to COVID-19, which can be viewed directly online.

Lunch specials are still offered from 11:00am-3:30pm at a phenomenal price, reasonable for anyone on any budget.

“Our famous appetizer is the shrimp egg roll, and many people also love the egg foo young,” said Maggie, a cashier and server.

#3 Dirt Dog

A fairly new Pasadena favorite is the home of Los Angeles’ official hot dog, Dirt Dog on Union St., which is located just 7 minutes from Pasadena City College.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and accompanying restrictions, Dirt Dog has reported that business is doing better than ever.

“Were just constantly sanitizing a lot more often than usual,”  Store Manager Ebony Epps explained. “We already did it before but we understand for the convenience and comfortability of the customers, we want them to feel okay”.

Before the pandemic they remained open from 11:00 a.m. until almost midnight. Now, the hours for their Pasadena location can be viewed on their website.

Customers are currently able to order through delivery apps or take their meals to go. Outdoor seating options are available on the street and in the nearby Paseo, and they set an enticing and aesthetic atmosphere for customers.

Although the restaurant is most famous for their bacon wrapped hot dogs, Epps recommends the spicy and piled Elote Dog for first timers. 

“That was my first hot dog and I fell in love with it,” she explained.

#4 Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy on Walnut St. is a favorite of Pasadena natives, and it is located just 5 minutes from Pasadena City College.

Business has been down since the start of COVID-19, but they have pushed to keep employees at work, and to keep their customers satisfied.

Hours of business have remained the same, and they can be easily accessed on their website. Curbside pick up orders are currently available, as well as phone orders. There are also socially distanced outdoor dining options.

Lucky Boy is well known for having meaty and cheesy breakfast burritos that some consider the best in Los Angeles county.

The original owner, John, has managed the business with his brother for over 40 years. Although the restaurant is well known in the area, John explained that the pandemic has had an impact on him and his business. 

“Pasadena used to be a major destination for many events, COVID-19 has limited many things which has hurt a lot of businesses in Pasadena, this is a big catastrophe for me… I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.

#5 Gourmet Cobbler Factory

To satisfy the sweet tooth, The Gourmet Cobbler Factory is an adorable gem on Catalina Ave., just 1 minute away from Pasadena City College. Call in orders and delivery with Postmates as well as to go orders are currently being taken.

Karen, a baker at the black family owned restaurant, has noticed business has picked up during COVID-19, and growing public awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I guess black lives actually do matter,” she said.

Two of their best selling cobblers are the peach and mixed berry, which are always prepared and baked freshly from the freezer.

The Cobbler Factory remains open on Sundays, to offer their city an opportunity to get lunch after church.

These top five restaurants value keeping Pasadena’s community together and comfortable during these tough times. 

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