SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) — The sounds of sizzle fill the kitchen at the Omelette Factory in Santee, where the specialty has long been hearty breakfast favorites.
“It's very good,” says one diner as his plate arrives, decked out with an omelette and hashbrowns. The morning fare has kept customers coming back for nearly 3 decades. But then came the pandemic.
“It was rough,” said Omelette Factory co-owner Peter Giforos.
"From being a business that's been around for over 20 years to all of the sudden shutting down.”
Giforos says they quickly took their business online.
“That kept us moving because our regulars were finding out we had the online platform, so they were ordering.”
But Giforos says his top breakfast chef, Oscar—who also ran his own Al Pastor Mexican food truck in the afternoons—didn't have an online option to keep the truck going.
“With the pandemic and the shutdown, he had to give it up. He couldn't work it anymore.”
Sometimes opportunity knocks in strange ways. While Oscar had to give up his truck, it also shined a light on the fact the Omelette Factory was only a breakfast-brunch affair. There are many more hours in the day.
Now the restaurant, which used to close after brunch, gears back up in the afternoon and evenings, for Oscar's "Al Pastor Town;” a style of cuisine with roots in the Middle East and given its own flare in Mexico.
“It's amazing,” said waiter Marco Vega, “I mean that's all we've heard feedback-wise. And I've tried it all. He's definitely passionate.”
“It's got a little different unique twist on it,” said Giforos.
“Some of the dishes Oscar offers, you can't really find at some of the Mexican restaurants.”
The expansion is also providing more hours for employees and putting a twist on the morning menu.
“We're trying to do some of Oscar's unique flavors from the Mexican food into our breakfast,” said Giforos. As for Chef Oscar, he's passionate about food, but a bit shy when it comes to cameras. Giforos smiled, “Oscar likes to let his food do the speaking.”
Still, Oscar’s food has customers talking. As one said, “First time here. And we'll be coming back.”