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Antique Row Cafe

Eggs, potatoes, toast
Copyright©2007 sandiego.com, Inc.

There’s nothing better than waking up on a bright Saturday morning, sipping your coffee while reading the paper…….eternal bliss. Then the tummy starts its morning stretch that ends up sounding like a beast growling in your midst. You know it needs some grub and fast. When these moments arise, let us give you some advice. Throw on some jeans and a t-shirt and head on over to Antique Row Café.

Part truck stop, part roadside dinner and all good ol’ home cooking like grandma used to make, Antique Row Café brings back fond memories of what a breakfast is supposed to be. Located on the corner of 30th and Adams in Normal Heights (there are even two street signs inside reminding you of where you are, just in case, and their staff all wear black shirts with the numbers 92116 boldly stating the local zip code). The café seems small from the outside, with tables and chairs lining its perimeter. They even have fresh brewed coffee for you to sample while you’re waiting for your table, how nice. Even when you enter the small front room, feeling the intimacy it presents, it’s not until you see the back section that you realize how large of a place it is. It makes for a special appeal, making everyone feel welcome and as if they were open just too personally whip you up some vittles.

Clearly the owner is a movie and 1950’s buff, because everywhere you look there are photos of classic movie stars (James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall), nods to the ever famous route 66 (with placards and signs reminding you of its legendary status) and an homage to everything from that era - old parking meters, nostalgic cereal and snack boxes and admiration to the best of San Diego’s sports teams, with team shirts and memorabilia. The seating booths continue to scream “the 50’s are back” with its uniquely patterned seats and draperies (keeps that Grandma theme going strong, thank goodness there are no plastic covers on the furniture). My favorite artwork is a redo of DaVinci’s last Supper. No need to look for controversial hidden meanings here as all of the players are now 50’ stars. What an honor!

But with all of these humorous antics going on around you, making you feel quite at home, it is the delectable dishes that will leave you in awe. The thing with breakfast is you wonder just how different one restaurant can be. I mean an egg is an egg is an egg, right? Who knows, maybe it’s the love the cooks put into the dish that make them so good. Sometimes it’s best not to ponder on the particulars and just relax and enjoy the food. We had a couple of out-of-town relatives joining us and we couldn’t wait to take them to Antique Row Café because it is one of those city treasures that most tourists would never have found. That would be such a waste.

We ordered Eggs Benedict (toasted English muffin topped with poached eggs, a slice of ham or turkey and Hollandaise sauce), and all of the components melded so well together. The crisp muffin with the eggs layered agreeably into the muffins nooks and crannies. Try the turkey for a simple departure from the usual ham as it added a nice variance of flavor. As a side dish we tried the Monterey Potato Cake (Monterey and Parmesan cheese, onions, peppers). This baby had loads of flavor with a crisp exterior and a soft, seasoned center.

Scrumptious Biscuits Smothered
with Gravy!
Copyright©2007 sandiego.com, Inc.

Also finding its way to our table was an order of eggs, potatoes, toast and a fan favorite, their scrumptious Biscuits Smothered with Gravy! The eggs were delightfully fluffy, the “homestyle” potatoes, crisp on the outside, mushy on the inside. Ahhh, but it was the biscuits and gravy that got this group salivating. Being huge biscuits and gravy fans, it is always exciting when you sample a different take on a classic that sets it apart from the usual flair. The abundant gravy came decadently all over the large, soft biscuits, spilling over the sides. The gravy had a unique, somewhat spicy edge to it which we really enjoyed. We have to say, one of the best! For the sweet-tooth in you, don’t pass up the Large Fresh Belgian Waffle (with your choice of blueberries or strawberries and whipped cream or plain). They are indeed large and such a treat to devour. The syrup was decadently sugary and mixed with the fruit and cream, just divine.

The menu additionally offers the usual varieties of omelettes, breakfast burritos, egg plates and French Toast but all done with Antiques own sense of style and taste and all plates come with a huge wedge of watermelon. Antique Row café also offers a lunch menu with a wide assortment of dishes. They are only open from 6am -3pm during the week and, only recently, have begun serving dinner on Thurs/Fri/Sat till 9pm. The prices are very accommodating and don’t come close to breaking the bank. Be warned though, they do have a dress code listed at their host stand, reading “leave you gun at the door before entering”, which for most of us should not be an issue. For a great breakfast with all of the tidings, make your way to Antique Row Café. You will be glad you did. Enjoy!

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92116
  • Phone: 619-282-9750
  • Name: Antique Row Cafe
  • Address: 3002 Adams Ave