Finding a place that has been in existence since 1949 is a win for me. Finding Rudford’s Restaurant, is a definite win. Even though this place doesn’t have diner in the name, it is your typical, classic diner.Which is a good thing.

It has that classic feel and atmosphere to it, a great variety of locals who frequent the place, yummy “home cooked” food, and oldie songs playing in the background. The booths are covered in red, the lights hanging overhead are stark in blue shades, and the walls of the kitchen and windows are metal. You can see it was built and has been around since 1949, all of which I love.

A friend and I went (who I have to thank, she is the one who sent me the Yelp link to the place) this morning. The staff is super friendly and have that “down home, we’ll probably remember your name” kind of vibe.

We split the bacon and avocado club. Which was delicious, by the way. We were also drooling over the fried chicken, which we will probably try the next time we make our way to this place. Which, I’m sure will be a fact in the near future.

I suppose it doesn’t look like much, but, trust me, it was GOOD. Plus, it even had the old spinning order thing. You know, that round metal piece between the counter and the kitchen, where the servers clipped up the order and spun it around to the cook? (Who, by the way, was in a little paper hat! You can sort of see him in the photo below.)

We enjoyed our food, enjoyed (maybe not so much my friend) the locals, and enjoyed the throwback feel of the place. There aren’t many restaurants where you can get great tasting food, cool atmosphere, and the historic feel of the past. It just doesn’t happen. Rudford’s provides all three and is a place I would gladly peruse again.Plus, it’s on the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Kansas Street! And anyone who knows me or has read this blog, knows I’m a native Kansan, so it’s an added plus for me!

Our Sunday adventures then took us to shopping and margaritas in Pacific Beach (which isn’t really classic at all, but worth mentioning.) And showcasing the margaritas we had seems important.

Then we were off to Encinitas, to a place we have passed many times before and even joked about, Cap’n Kenos. As it seems like the place where anyone over 60 goes to have dinner at 3pm. (Nothing offensive to those of you who are over 60.) It, too, has a retro, classic feel to it.

It’s rustic with a “we love the locals” kind of feel. Happy hour is every day of the week, the prices are right, and the people watching is sublime. We weren’t sure what to order for the happy hour we were attending here, but we went with the $7 decanter of wine, in red. Little did we know that decanter got filled, right in front of our eyes, with boxed wine. My friend and I had a good laugh over this. “Tip it!” And the bartender actually filled it quite full, so full we couldn’t even finish the whole decanter. I know, right, we’re so weak. And they were “out” of wine glasses, so we got mixed drink glasses. But, a glass is a glass, right? We’re not picky.

If you can see, in the background of the wine photo, there is a”fire.” This fire consisted of a light and some paper being flapped by wind, making a crackling noise. Very humourous, snicker inducing. It all just added to the charm of this place, and it’s “anyone is welcomed” attitude.

I was mostly expecting a lounge singer in a leisure suit to jump out and start entertaining us, and that would have actually been kind of swell, in all honesty. Instead, we watched the Mavs v. Heat game (way to go Mavs!) and people watched on some snooty ones nearby. All in all, it was a good time. I can’t believe I have driven by this place almost every day on the 101 and this was the first time I had ever been. I think the prices alone will bring me back. The boxed wine wasn’t all that bad, amazingly, but I think a cocktail will be in order for the next trip.

These types of places are refreshing to “discover.” There’s a simplicity and welcoming you don’t find many places and you don’t get overcharged for poorly made, small quantities of food. If you love a few quirks in the decor and the patrons, you’ll leave with a satisfied tummy, an enjoyed experience, and few good stories to tell your friends.

12 thoughts on “Classic

  1. Thanks for relating so well your trip to Rudford’s. I noticed that it is open 24 hours a day, making it an even better place to stop when most places are closed. Your nostalgia posts are very well written, plus the photos make the posts even more special.


  2. There is something amazing about a place that keeps it real and has “Blue Plate Specials” still on the menu. The only thing that would make it better would be the little jukeboxes in each booth!


  3. Another enjoyable post. I am living in New Jersey, King of Diners. A scene from Jersey Girl was shot up the road in Berlin, where JLo worked as a waitress in the real Berlin Diner. They are scattered every mile or so, and some are lame, having been updated with 80’s or 90’s decor, which is already out-of-fashion, but not in a cool or funky, retro-way. Yet.
    Many of these diners are constructed of shiny, Art Deco metal formations and quite impressive to drive by. And eating in them is a trip – huge menus too big to fully peruse. And lots of cole slaw. They always have cole slaw!


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