One Hoag Drive
Newport Beach CA 92663
Basement, Near West Elevators
Ok. Now I know that most of you are thinking, “Seriously? Griffin is going to review a cafeteria in a hospital?!?!?” I know it seems a little weird, but if you read a lot of Orange County restaurant reviews online, I’m sure you’ve seen brief snippets, ramblings, rumors or comments about the cafeteria in the basement of Hoag Hospital. I know I have. I’ve been meaning to check out this cafeteria for years, but kept forgetting. Recently, a co-worker of mine had to go in to Hoag for knee surgery. I decided to go visit him the day after his surgery. I was happy to go visit a friend in the hospital to lift their spirits, but I was also excited that I would finally get to try the Hoag cafeteria.
I went to the hospital around lunchtime. I went up to my co-worker’s hospital room and saw that they had just brought his lunch to the room. I told him that I’d let him eat in peace while I headed down to the cafeteria to grab something to eat. I got to the cafeteria between 12:15 PM and 12:30 PM. It was absolutely packed. Most of the people in the cafeteria were hospital employees, but there also seemed to be a lot of non-employees as well.
As you enter the cafeteria, there is a cooler on the right with things like pre-made sandwiches and sushi. When you venture further in, you will find things like a salad bar, a sandwich bar, a soup bar, pizza, a grill, a couple of daily special stations and a “nibbles” station. A lot of the food here, like the salads, sandwiches and “nibbles” are charged by weight. I think the cost was usually around $0.35 an ounce. The grill made items like cheeseburgers and tuna melts for really cheap prices (Around $3.00). They also offer regular fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings as a side dish. The daily specials were "Greek Chicken" and a "Baja Shrimp Wrap."
After looking around, I finally decided to get a cup of chili, a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, a couple of sweet and sour chicken wings from the “nibbles” bar and a drink. This was a ton of food and I got it all for around $8.00. Not bad, eh?
The burger was pretty good. Not gourmet, but definitely better than a lot of burgers I’ve had before. The chicken wings were pretty good. Sweet, sour and cooked perfectly. The sweet potato fries were a little cold by the time I ate them, but they were still really good. My favorite part of the meal though was the chili. I wasn’t really expecting it to be that good, but it was. I’m not sure if it was canned chili or freshly made, but I couldn’t stop eating it. I would return to the cafeteria just for this chili. Overall it was a very enjoyable meal for a very reasonable price. I might have to stop by this cafeteria more often, whether someone I know is in the hospital or not.