BY: ANGELA CRUZ
When searching for a place to eat, two things usually come to mind: it has to taste delicious and be affordable. With gourmet entrees at such reasonable prices, At Last Café is a local restaurant that pleases both your tummy and your wallet. Chef John McLaughlin opened At Last Café about four years ago, and the restaurant has grown to be one of the most popular eateries in Long Beach.
At Last Café serves up mouth-watering gourmet dishes daily, like the creamy Three Cheese Mac-n-Cheese topped with toasted seasoned breadcrumbs or the French Pot Roast marinated in red wine and honey-cured bacon, served on fettuccine with fresh vegetables. The chef creates daily specials as well, which are posted on the black board inside the restaurant. Most nights require a reservation in advance in order to secure a table at the cozy café.
After being featured on the TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” the restaurant gained much attention and recognition; however, it took dedication for the restaurant to get to where it is today.
McLaughlin studied accounting at Cal State Long Beach, but quickly realized that his true calling was in the culinary arts. He studied at the Culinary Institute in New York where he discovered his passion for food, and at last he was on his way to doing something he loved.
McLaughlin worked diligently as a chef for many years and finally opened his own restaurant, hence the name, “At Last Café.” He was able to do it because of his determination and hard work.
Although it took years to open the restaurant, all the hard work paid off and McLaughlin was able to accomplish what he had set out to do. The chef said that patience was a key to his success, among other things:
“You need experience, and it costs more than you think,” McLaughlin said. “Oh, and be prepared to work a lot.”