Look at the bright side (or the sunny side up), breakfast lovers - the most important meal of the day is also served for lunch and dinner, and sometimes at all hours of the night. For eggs that are hard to beat, try these San Diego restaurants where breakfast is serious business, and that’s no yolk.
Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery
After operating for many years in Point Loma, Du-par’s relocated to the Gaslamp in August. The small chain of restaurants, with locations in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, has been serving breakfast (and more) 24/7 since its first location opened at the L.A. Farmers market in 1938. Du-par’s is famous for its secret-recipe buttermilk hotcakes, which Esquire magazine once ranked as the best pancakes in the U.S. The batter, according to Du-par’s chefs, takes hours to prepare. Tender in the middle and crispy around the edges, the hotcakes are served with melted butter and hot maple or boysenberry syrup.
440 J St., downtown
Hash House a Go Go
Despite this popular Hillcrest brunch spot’s name, it’s not the hash that generates lines out the door every morning. It’s the enormity of Andy’s Big O’ Sage Fried Chicken and Waffle Tower (among other monstrous meals), which has been written up in travel blogs and magazines nationwide. The over-sized plate comes with two sage-fried chicken breasts stacked atop a smoked-bacon waffle with fried leeks, two eggs and a hot maple reduction glaze.
3628 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest
Although better known for its butter burger - featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network TV show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - this popular Hillcrest café has a loyal following for its breakfast menu, which is served 7 a.m. to midnight. One of the restaurant’s most popular breakfast specialties is the crème brûlée French toast topped with whipped cream and berries. There’s also the Veggie Breakfast Mess: vegetarian chili topped with skillet potatoes, jalapeño cheese and salsa. For a big-time breakfast, try the hash, served with Angus beef, or with chicken and Granny Smith apples.
425 Robinson Ave., Hillcrest
It’s probably easier to ask what you can’t get at this New York-style deli in the College Area than what you can. Its multi-page list of more than 100 items includes an all-day breakfast menu of three-egg omelets, hotcakes and waffles, bagels and lox, latkes, blintzes and Grandma Fay’s Matzo Brei (fried matzo with eggs and applesauce). The Akin family has operated this old-fashioned diner since it opened in 1980. Their all-day menu is served from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and until 10 p.m. on weekends.
6930 Alvarado Road, College Area
The Crack Shack
This Little Italy quick-service chicken-and-eggs concept celebrates its first birthday in November. Created by restaurateur Mike Rosen and Bravo Top Chef Richard Blais, Crack Shack offers all-day specials, including the Senor Croque, a crispy chicken sandwich with fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese and miso-maple butter on a brioche bun; and the Royale sandwich with chicken sausage, sunny side-up egg and smoked cheddar on an English muffin. Not to be missed: the fresh-baked six-pack of mini biscuits served with miso-maple butter. The outdoor eatery has a full bar for cocktails al fresco, as well as a bocce court kids use as a sandbox - fun for the whole fam.
2266 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy
While it’s not San Diego’s oldest restaurant, Rudford’s restaurant certainly is a retro time capsule. The chrome-paneled eatery opened in 1949 and was further frozen in time when President John F. Kennedy rolled past its front doors in a parade, just a few months before his death in 1963 (a photographic mural of the event is painted on an outside wall). Since Day One, the 24-hour eatery has been serving breakfast dishes at all hours. Diners swear by Rudford’s fresh-baked biscuits and gravy, its just-right grits and its super-size Texas omelet. Its blueberry pancakes have a slight purplish tint, thanks to the sweet and tender berries stirred into the batter just before it hits the griddle.
2900 El Cajon Blvd., North Park,
This Hollywood-themed café in Kearny Mesa serves omelets, pancakes, French toast, breakfast burritos and morning combo plates from morning to night Sundays through Wednesdays and 24/7 Thursdays through Saturdays. Portions are large, and prices are reasonable. Select the ingredients to build a custom omelet for $9, or choose from breakfast favorites including the Gilligan omelet (ham, bell peppers and cheese), the Zorba omelet (feta cheese and spinach) and the crab cakes benedict (served with hash browns). Studio Diner is located at the former studio of Stu Segall Productions, which produced TV shows and films from 1991 to 2010. The restaurant has a 1940s vibe and is decorated with old movie-making equipment.
4701 Ruffin Road, Kearny Mesa
Breakfast all day is the motto of this 24-hour Gaslamp mainstay. From its copper-clad open kitchen come house specialties including the Waffle Cristo, a decadent blend of ham and cheddar cheese served between two halves of a bacon waffle, topped with powdered sugar and served with sweet potato fries. There’s also an extensive selection of Mexican breakfast options, like huevos rancheros and machaca con papas burrito. “The restaurant that never sleeps” also serves a solid selection of whiskeys and cocktails across a mahogany bar that once graced the home of actress Joan Crawford.
828 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp
The latest concept by San Diego restaurateur Johan Engman, Breakfast Republic combines traditional breakfast food with beer. Beer in the morning - it’s a concept that seems to be working. The founder of the Fig Tree Café chain has opened two Breakfast Republics in the past year (in North Park and Liberty Station) and he’s got three more on tap: Encinitas on Nov. 1, East Village in February and Carmel Valley next spring. The menu mixes traditional breakfast fare with adventurous dishes like Breakfast Bone Marrow (bone marrow topped with chorizo and quail eggs), Vietnamese chicken wing breakfast bowl and S’mores French toast. Only the Liberty Station location offers dinner hours. The rest serve breakfast dishes through the lunchtime hours.
2865 Sims Road, No. 106, Point Loma, 619.693.5434
2730 University Ave., North Park, 619.642.0299