Amila Malovic, owner of Theory, explained why she opened the restaurant.

“I used to cook for a family of picky eaters," she said. "They’re all grown up and have moved away. I just want to keep cooking and make everyone happy.”

Theory has been the site of several other restaurants. Malovic has retained the charm of the site on Second Street, while freshening things up. There’s a nice fireplace, big windows and friendly staff.

Food For Everyone

“I like to try to focus on things that people cannot get in the stores,” Malovic said.

It’s mostly American and some dishes are inspired by her Yugoslavian roots.

The sesame burger ($15) is a beef patty, capicola, mozzarella, provolone, roasted bell pepper, avocado, romaine and jalapeño honey mustard sauce.

The flat breads are tasty, especially the Spinach and Goat Cheese.

Other items include the Philly cheese steak and meat and veggie versions of Panini.

Breakfast choices follow the idea of something for everyone: Crepes including crepes, a meat lover's omelet — Prosciutto de Parma, ham, Swiss Cheese ($15) — and French Toast stuffed with cream cheese, blueberry and strawberry flambé.

For first time diners, Malovic recommends the flat breads or the crepes. For lunch it's  organic soup, made fresh daily along with a sandwich or salad.


The previous occupant of Theory’s site, BRIX, served the famous “Fugg-Edd-About-It” pastrami sandwich. It’s still on the menu. Why?

“People used to come in when we were remodeling,” Malovic said. “They wanted to make sure we would still have the sandwich on the menu.”

So they kept it: a half pound of arguably the best pastrami in the city, Swiss cheese, deli sauce and coleslaw for $15 (or half for $9).

In addition to the full sandwich, they offer pastrami sliders.


Crepes, of course, and fresh apple pie.

“We only make it on the weekends,” Malovic said. “That way it doesn’t sit around and the customers enjoy it while it’s fresh. we make more only if necessary."

Cheese cake is made fresh on site as well.

Let’s Make a Deal

Theory has numerous options for the budget-minded diner. Their happy hour is noon to 6 p.m. every day, with food starting at $2.50 and deals on wine and beer. Every day until 4 p.m., bottomless mimosas are $15 with an entrée purchase.

There’s also a three-course meal for $27, which has entrée choice of Shrimp Chipotle pasta, Chicken Plate or Beef Stroganoff.


It’s beer from 16 taps and wine, which according to Malovic, is “very good, but reasonable.”

Why Theory?

"My friends always used to tease me about having theories, “ Malovic said. “They said I had theories about this, theories about that, so I decided Theory would be a good name for the restaurant.”

Important to Know

They do catering as well.

Theory Café is at 5372 E. Second St. The phone number is (562) 343-5998. They take reservations.

They’re on Facebook at

Theory opens at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday and at 8 a.m. weekends.

Parking is on the street.

Kurt comes to the Gazettes with 30 years experience in broadcasting and journalism. He has produced and/or directed hundreds of television programs, including news, sports, entertainment, election coverage, town meetings and telethons.

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