When we first heard rumors last year of Chef Joseph Mahon scoping out Fullerton for his Burger Parlor pop-up, we were already doing handstands in anticipation. After all, Chef Mahon’s toque had stood resilient under the likes of Daniel Bouloud, David Myers and Charlie Trotter. He had also just ended his stint at the ever-evolving Bastide in Los Angeles, rock star famous for their avant garde cuisine.

A month ago, a press release revealed that (aside from the relocation of his highly acclaimed Burger Parlor to more permanent digs) he would be at the helm of a new breakfast and lunch eatery called Early Bird — located here again in Fullerton! Nevermind the handstands, now we were doing double back flips! Partnering with two very food-centric individuals: lawyer/entrepreneur Tank Menzies and nutrition buff/entrepreneur Marcelo Caraveo, it will be the kind of place that the three co-owners feel is sorely lacking in Orange County. It will be a chef-driven food haven steeped in Americana (as reflected by their imaginative menu). One that offers a really exceptional meal for those who rise with the rooster or are up and about during the sun-drenched hours of the day. With the influx of more home-based business owners and telecommuters, working and eating are usually apt to coincide.

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Recently the Executive Chef at Lemon Moon (owned by renowned culinary honchos Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunette), Chef Jonathan Moulton will hold court over Early Bird’s innovative kitchen as their chef de cuisine. Having been buddies since the first grade, Chef Mahon has the utmost trust in him and is confident that he will bring great experience in finessing simple concepts into shining creations.

So what exactly will Early Bird be offering that will have us forgo hitting that snooze button several more times?

Menzies is already ecstatic about their single-origin coffee beans, “Starting coffee menu will be Guat, Ethiopian, Rwandan and Costa Rica – brewed in batches depending on time…” These will be craft roasted off-site at nearby Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders and delivered to Early Bird straight up every morning.

Though self-admittedly, they will not be re-inventing the wheel, Early Bird aims to take the tried and true, but awfully tired traditional fare and turn it upside its head. Patrons will indulge in amped up flavor profiles (with a few whimsical twists here and there) and will truly appreciate the quality of all their ingredients sourced locally, organically and with a focus on Farm-to-Table peak of picking freshness.

Some of their signature dishes for breakfast will be the Eastwood Omelet (egg whites, asparagus, mushrooms, roasted peppers, oven dried tomato, fontina cheese); Frank Floyd Benedict (poached eggs, roasted portabella, spinach, smoked salmon, bearnaise sauce); Brioche French Toast (fiji apple compote, orange butter, spiced almonds); and the Morningside “Pizza” (smoke pastry, chopped tomatoes compote, parmesan, sunny-side-up eggs).

The Early Bird lunch menu will consist of heartier, but equally stunning items like Hanger Steak (with field greens, hummus, marinated lentils, za’atar, cashews, shaved carrots, mint emulsion);  Fried Chicken Salad (with poached eggs, arugula, radish, long beans, buttermilk corn dressing) Open-Faced Sandwiches (with burrata, pesto, shrimp on sourdough); and Penne Arrabiata (with capers, basil, sriracha, goat cheese).

On designated weeknights, the typically daytime operation will invite local chefs to pop up at the restaurant; fostering kinship in the community while promoting the advancement of creativity. Conceivably, on one or two nights one might even spy the familiar Burger Parlor logo peeking out of Early Bird’s window. But that’s another segment to stay tuned for.

Additional photos: Maurine Herberich

Early Bird is located at 1000 B East Bastanchury Road (at Brea Boulevard), formerly the site of Lomeli’s Italian Restaurant. They are expected to welcome the public into their comfortable nest in the next week.


Corky Nepomuceno

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