I may be unusual among Chowhound readers, but I actually prefer a great value to a great meal. I would rather have a delicious satisfying meal at a good price than an expensive gourmet meal if I have to pay for it.
Teds Gourmet Fast Food of Azusa is perfect for me. It is surprisingly good food, in huge portions, for very little money.
It used to be a McDonalds. The menu is typical of those standalone fast food restaurants where the menu is made up of burgers, sandwiches, some Mexican food, gyros, and then six or seven dinners like Fish & Chips, Steak, Pork Chops, Fried Chicken, etc. You order, pay, get your drinks, take a number back to your table and wait for the food to be brought out. You can spot these as you drive by because they usually have a burger or pastrami sandwich special.
Such was the case with Teds. There were a lot of cars for a Wednesday night at 5:40 and I had two hungry kids with me. We were on our way to a function that started at 6:30 so we needed fast food. Teds is on a corner, next to a gas station, and has a drive thru. The sign said Teds Gourmet Fast Food and a handwritten sign on the door said soup and salad with all dinners.
I showed the kids the whiteboard with the kids specials (6 choices for $3.89 each includes fries and drink good deal) while I stared up at the dinner menu. Most dinners were $5.99 but I chose the most expensive dinner on the menu, a full rack of baby back ribs for $7.99. One kid chose the fish stick kids meal and the other chose the grilled cheese kids meal. The counter clerk asked for my potato, soup and salad options. The kids got cups for their sodas and I paid for the meal and took the number back to our table. There was a well stocked salsa bar next to the drink machines.
Once we were seated, someone brought out the soup and salad for my meal. They were huge! The salad filled a dinner plate and had red onions, croutons, two tomato quarters, two hard boiled egg halves, and decent blue cheese dressing. The chicken noodle soup was in a large bowl with crackers on the side. I let the kids eat the soup while I worked on the salad.
Then the dinners came out. Each kid got a lollipop with their plates. The fish stick dinner was a tempura battered whole fillet about 10 inches long -- a little oily for my taste, but I was expecting a processed frozen fish stick a la Gortons. They even brought a bottle of malt vinegar without asking. This was a kids meal? The grilled cheese looked good enough but I didnt try it. It, too, was adult-sized with a large portion of fries just like the fish plate. Catsup was on the table so the kids went to work on their meals.
My plate was a huge portion of (apparently) real mashed potatoes with not-made-here gravy which wasnt bad at all. The six or seven ribs is more like half-a-rack than a full rack but they were delicious-tender and meaty. Ive had better ribs at Johnny Rebs or even Tony Romas, but I still had to look around the restaurant to make sure I was eating at a fast food joint that sells a burger, fries and a Coke for $3.99. There was also a biscuit on the plate that was cut in half carefully and grilled cut side down. Nice touch. The only thing that was missing was a vegetable. I didnt expect one at a burger joint, but the rest of the meal was so good that a portion of freshly steamed or sautéed veggies would have put this meal up there with a good sit-down restaurant.
I ate almost everything on the plate and then a worker (they dont have waiters, right?) brought out a square of carrot cake. This was Mexican style carrot cake with strong spices and butter-cream-cheese frosting. We all ate some of that!
Neither kid finished his meal so I took a lot home. Including tax (no tip in a place like this) the total was $17.07.
We live about 3 miles away, so we will be back for sure!