In the early 1970s, Otto Lindsel left the forest of the northern west coast and moved to the Southern California area of the Antelope Valley to be nearer to his family. As he had many years of experience cooking for lumber jacks, it was natural that he would come up with the concept of opening a diner. This was the perfect retirement venture for him, thus creating the history of a great Antelope Valley tradition. Stories about Otto abound from longtime customers. Some of our favorites include his intolerance of customers who only came in for coffee, customers who took too long to eat their meals or anyone who complained about the food. All were thrown out with relish.
For almost 25 years, Crazy Otto’s was located adjacent to the train tracks on Sierra Highway in Lancaster, California. The diner originally consisted of 12 counter seats and one booth.Over the years, the diner expanded in an effort to accommodate the large crowds, eventually ending up with two separate and distinct kitchens and dining rooms. Due to the proximity of the railroad tracks to Crazy Otto’s, Otto devised a numbered wheel to be spun every time a train passed. The seat corresponding to the number on the wheel won a free meal. This tradition continues today. The passing of the train would cause the old building to rattle and shake to the delight of the customers.
Crazy Otto’s had also earned a reputation for having the biggest omelettes in town, which they decided to take to the next level in June of 1993. Crazy Otto’s Diner broke the world record for the largest omelette. The omelette was an astonishing 1,364 square feet! Crazy Otto’s received commendations from the Governor of the State of California and the local mayor for accomplishing this feat.
In 1994, things changed. As a result of the devastating Northridge, California earthquake, which caused severe damage to the freeways, Metrolink extended its services from Los Angeles to the Antelope Valley. It was determined that the original Crazy Otto’s building was too close to the railroad tracks and Metrolink required the property on which it was located. Crazy Otto’s found a new home, and over the next few years additional locations were established and Crazy Otto’s continued to be known for its fast service and generous portions.
In 1997, Crazy Otto’s got to be in the spotlight once again. “The Odd Couple 2, Travelin’ Light” starred Walter Mattha and Jack Lemon eating in the dining room of one of our own Crazy Otto’s restaurants . Unfortunately our fame was briefly stolen when Japan took the title for the “World’s Largest Omelette” from Crazy Otto’s. In October of 2002, Crazy Otto’s Inc., in conjunction with Clear Channel Radio and Robertson Palmdale Honda, were able to bring the title back to the U.S. where it belonged. Thanks to over 200 volunteers, we were able to assemble an omelette consisting of 34,000 eggs, 200 pounds of cheese, 50 gallons of milk, 500 pounds of bell peppers and 75 gallons of crushed tomatoes that was prepared on 11 portable grills and took approximately 6.5 hours to create. The omelette was an amazing 1,850.9 square feet! Now that’s crazy!
In April of 2005, another unexpected turn of events happened at Crazy Otto’s: the “Terminator” paid our restaurant a visit. With a coffee pot in hand, the movie star and newly elected governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, strolled through the diner serving our patrons their morning cup of joe. The customers eating breakfast that Saturday morning sure were surprised and only had one question in their mind after he left: “will he be back?” We don’t know if he will be back, but we will be here to serve you 7 days a week. We have even expanded throughout the U.S. to bring our quality without compromise to our patrons everywhere. We are also a new California franchise and look forward to serving up the traditions that have made us what we are today in new communities across the nation. In an average week Crazy Otto’s Diner will serve 22,000 eggs.
We are very proud and honored that we have become such a respected establishment in the community we call home: the Antelope Valley. We have been voted AV’s Best Breakfast for 15 years; this is a recognition that we take seriously and continue to build on. We are very supportive of our local schools and charities which we feel helps to strengthen the community we are proud to be a part of. Crazy Otto’s is open daily for breakfast and lunch and open for dinner in selected locations. The house specialty is Prime Rib which is guaranteed to be the best you’ve ever had. From all of our wait staff, bussers, cooks, hostesses, dishwashers and managers, we thank you for visiting with us today and hope you have enjoyed your meal. It is our pleasure to provide you with quality food, large portions, excellent service and a fun place to eat. We hope to see you again soon, and don’t forget: “If you leave hungry, it’s your fault.”