“Coffee, coffee, coffee” The mantra playing on a loop in my head on our two mile walk to breakfast this morning. T’was a late night last night. Lots of fun. Too much fun. As we passed Honey’s Bakery on the 101 heading towards the Potato Shack Cafe, I looked longingly inside at those beautiful carafes of coffee greeting people the minute they walked in the door. “Hello my darling, welcome back…” they cooed to me as I sadly kept walking. I dreaded the inevitable Sunday morning wait for a table at the Potato Shack, then another wait for my caffeine fix. I’m not going to lie. I was tired, hungover, and in a foul mood. But the stars were aligned today, because when we arrived, there were two large tables waiting for us. Not only that, but the waitress took one look at my bloodshot, pleading eyes, and brought me my coffee immediately. No ordering needed! She’s seen the likes of me before. She knew.
Now before I go on, you might be scratching your head at the address of the Potato Shack Cafe. It’s 120 W I St. That’s right, it’s not even on the freaking 101! But it’s so close, you can see it right over there. And they have this reputation for man-hole sized pancakes! Plus, it’s my blog, my rules, so stop being so technical and give a gal a break!
The Potato Shack Cafe is quaint and cozy with seating both inside and out. They have these beautiful wooden tables I couldn’t help but admire now that I had coffee and was human again. Each one is unique with it’s own character.
Jim, the owner, and self-proclaimed “Walmart greeter” was in, so I invited him to sit with us to tell the Potato Shack Cafe story, which he was more than happy to do. The Potato Shack Cafe has been around for 35 years, with Jim and his son, Scott, running it for the past 30 years. Many of the staff have been working here for over a decade. The Potato Shack was double the current in size at one point, taking over the location next door, then regressed back to it’s original size with the boom of restaurants taking over the 101. Instead of being bitter, Jim extends help to his competition like loaning out coffee when they run out if need be. Jim is an ex-marine who’s all heart. Between his work for the Make-A-Wish foundation, coaching the Torrey Pines high school football team, and dabbling in some smaller businesses, Jim’s plate is full, leaving most of the work at The Shack to Scott. Jim’s motto for The Shack is simply to give his customers more than they expect, and to always do right by them. Though The Shack doesn’t take credit cards, there is an ATM machine right inside. “People are so funny” says Jim. “Sometimes they will come in, not knowing we’re ‘cash only’ and then they freak out when they get the bill and can’t pay. I tell them not to panic, it’s only pancakes, eggs and bacon we are dealing with here! Breathe!” He then has them write out an IOU with their name and how much they owe on a piece of paper, puts in on the wall, and tells them to please bring it by next time. Not even later that day, just next time. And you know what? EVERYONE DOES.
So now I’m madly in love with Jim, the Potato Shack, and everything it stands for. Do we even need to order food? I’m ready to write a glowing review as is! Ok, ok, we are all pretty hungry, let’s eat some grub! Hubby ordered a Banana-Walnut pancake. IT DOESN’T EVEN FIT ON THE PLATE!
Kellen ordered an apple-cinnamon pancake with his eating technique of starting from the inside, moving outward. Maybe that’s a sign of extreme intelligence. Or we (probably) just have a weird kid. Both pancakes were absolutely delicious. Though if I were to order one next time, I will merge the two and get a cinnamon-banana-walnut pancake. A “cinnbanut”. That name should seriously go on the menu.
Not wanting so many carbs, haha, you’ll see, I stayed away from the man-hole cover sized pancakes. Instead, I ordered an omelet. They have lots of additions, each one costing a reasonable $1. I opted for an omelet with spinach, bacon and feta, my favorite trio-combination. It came with potatoes and bread of choice. I mean, I almost switched the sides for fruit. That really was my plan. But don’t I HAVE to try the potatoes at the Potato Shack? And you know what goes great with potatoes and eggs? Rye toast! Bring on the carbs!
Omelet with spinach-bacon-feta and rye bread
Though the potatoes may look plain, they really are scrumptious. So scrumptious that I kept finding Kellen’s fork stabbing brutally at my plate every time I turned my head. The omelet was packed to the gills with all the good stuff, no skimping here!
A reasonable thing to do is to split one pancake between two (or more) people. That’s what a few of us did in our group.
I looked over and saw that a slightly ballooned Hubby had slowed way down, but was almost done with his entire pancake! He waved our waitress over.
“Do I get anything if I finish?”
“Three” she said, completely unimpressed. “You need to finish three, and I’ve only seen it happen once”.
Please don’t forget about the Potato Shack Cafe! They are located right off Hwy 101, nestled on I st. This charming, family run breakfast nook has everything you want on a hung-over Sunday morning, or any other one. Enjoy a cinnbanut man-hole cover sized pancake, an award-winning omelet (well, if I had an award they would get it), or come for lunch, they offer that too. Invite Jim to your table for a cup of joe! He’s a great guy who puts his heart into this place. And it shows. So far, this wins for my all time favorite Encinitas breakfast!
I would like to take a minute to shamelessly plug the charity event I worked on last night. (Hence the hangover!) It was to raise money for the upcoming 16th annual Bike-A-Thon our local Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA is having on February 24th to raise money for kids in our community who need help. Thank you to all of the people who came out last night, and for all of our wonderful sponsors and local businesses who donated!
It’s not too late to help! Click on the link to donate any amount. Please put it towards my team, “Spinheads”. THANK YOU!!!
Please join us next week on Sunday, February 18th at 6:00 pm
The Encinitas Fish Shop
1010 South Coast Hwy 101