You can give me a good hole in the wall any day, and I think I've found the definitive place, Callahans, in Santa Monica (Los Angeles)
It's like stepping into the twilight zone, circa 1920's. a functioning museum. no attempt at fluff or facade. except for some fresh flowers by a picture of what I assume is a saint? it's old. But the food is tapped in! and inexpensive!
My farther is visiting and our custom is eating breakfast and dinner at his favorite watering hole, a family restaurant w/ daily specials. only this year we find the place is closed! how can you replace "the crest"? what we gonna do?
We got lucky and scored big time w/ Callahans. To our discerning eye, this place is a better in every way. oatmeal tastes like you made it at home. a nicer dinner salad that's chilled to the bone. the stuffed peppers, mashed taters and gravy is hot hot hot, and tastes like your mama made it. vegetables cooked just right. soups are home made. dad is very picky about clam chowder, yet again, cha ching! he hates toast that isn't toasted - each time it's perfect. coffee is hot and served in mugs instead of cups. it's all about the food, and this place just keeps surprising. a friendly place and service is excellent. I've found my new home.
wilshire blvd, between 12th and euclid (13th), north side of the road. hours 6 am - 10 pm.