A classic breakfast order: corned beef mince with hash browns and eggs on easy
It seems like Perry’s CafÃ© has always been there, always easy to spot from the Hwy 5-North to 8-East interchange. They say the family-run breakfast restaurant has been around for over 35 years, and its appearance certainly looks from another time – an accordion roof and fieldstone accents. But perhaps the real reason it stands out so easily is the huge wrap-around parking lot. Although it is so close to the city center, there is no other building within 150 feet, so the restaurant is on its own, presented as a centerpiece.
And, if you believe the banner hanging at the entrance, Perry’s serves “the best breakfast in town.”
Driving past the freeway, I was never one hundred percent sure how to get down to reach the place, which is on the Pacific Highway at the intersection of the two freeways and the Old Town streetcar stop. But while traveling between Old Town and Point Loma last week with kids in tow, it appeared there, the whole parking lot looked more inviting than ever. The kids hadn’t been to school for the Thanksgiving vacation and were slouching in the backseat. The errands I had to do would become a lot easier if I filled them with waffles and pancakes first.
Perry’s Cafe remains easy to spot from the highway after more than 35 years.
What surprised me most was not the two spacious dining rooms, nor the healthy midweek crowd that almost filled them up. It was how fast the food came out. We ordered right away, and within five minutes of being seated, waffles and pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream appeared. (Waffles at $ 12.95 in a combo with eggs and bacon; pancakes closer to $ 8 thanks to the price of the children’s menu).
A lot of people at the end of the morning, in the middle of the week
It happened so quickly that the kids didn’t have time to complain about how bored they were, although I don’t think they’ve ever eaten canned strawberries. Maybe this is a sign of the changing times, but I don’t think they’ve spent a lot of time in breakfast dinners. I, on the other hand, have visited more than enough to hang on to a usual order. My first instinct is always to try the corned beef mince ($ 12.99), although I can sometimes be convinced to add cookies and gravy ($ 5.99).
Candied strawberries and whipped cream cover a large waffle, served with eggs and bacon
According to its website, one of Perry’s pride of place is that many of its staff have worked in the restaurant for more than a decade, if not two. Our intuitive waitress clearly saw countless breakfast treats pass through these doors, as she made me understand all kinds of things. When I asked what kind of toast goes with the mince, she quickly pointed out that I could make cookies and gravy out of it for a few dollars easily.
Homemade cookies under a thick layer of sausage sauce
And so, after almost 20 years of wondering if Perry’s CafÃ© was worth a visit, I got my answer within ten minutes of deciding to eat there. Nothing particularly noteworthy about the food, with the possible exception of the excellent homemade cookies. But everything was pretty good, and there were large portions to enjoy, especially considering the anachronistic prices.
We should probably all be bringing kids to places like this more often, so the next generation can continue to nostalgia for American breakfasts.