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Old School Restaurant in San Diego

Taking a quick trip to San Diego and looking for old school restaurants or coffee shops - the older the better with good old American comfort food like a real hot turkey sandwich, meatloaf, etc. Wouldn't hurt if it had some old school ambiance like semi- circular leather booths, dark woods - I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Anywhere in San Diego County

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  1. For the leather booths, old school ambiance, try Bully's in Mission Valley or Red Tracton's in Del Mar. For the coffee shop route, this thread was just posted today and has some good suggestions:

    I would add Rudford's on El Cajon Blvd., Brian's on Washington, and Brother's on Waring Rd.

    1. How about the Chicken Pie Shop? It's been around forever and you can get chicken pies or open faced roast beef sandwiches. Gravy. Peas. Old folks. Doesn't take anything but cash but good old fashioned lunch ! (I used to go there in 1978, haven't been for a VERY long time, but I think it is still there *and hasn't changed a bit* !)

      S D Chicken Pie Shop
      2633 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

      3 Replies
      1. re: dockhl

        Been going there since I was a kid which is longer ago than I'm admitting to on this board...

        1. re: dockhl

          I know that it is what it is...but it's terrible. The pot pies are somewhat edible...but the canned peas and carrots, the drab interior...why would anyone want to dine here, other than to indulge in nostalgia of days gone by? And nostalgia for what? Bad food? I found it very depressing... And the OP wanted nice circular booths and ambiance? Not here...

          1. re: DBrooks

            I have to agree. The pies are mostly crust and the interior is gloopy and tasteless. It's like bad institutional cafeteria food. Sadly IMHO, most of of the good old style places in SD have either updated themselves out of existence or closed.

        2. Hob Nob Hill in Hillcrest.

          1. Albie's
            Bully's East
            Old Trieste
            Red Fox Inn..is that still around?
            Harry's Coffee Shop in LJ

            I wish Lubach's was still around..

            3 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              I wish John's Waffle Shop in L.J. was still around...I kinda miss sitting at the counter and having a waffle or an omelet.

              1. re: nileg

                I so miss John's Waffle Shop too.

              2. re: Beach Chick

                in this town i don't think that red booth and meatloaf are featured together often. So given the great suggestions I would offer the following breakdown:

                Coffee house/diner/comfort food(so far offered):

                Phee's thread posted
                Harrys Coffee Shop in La Jolla
                SD Chicken Pie Shop
                Hob Nob
                Albies ? not sure

                Red Booth in this town seems to be more old school/lounge/steak/sinatra:

                Bully's (Del Mar, La Jolla, especially Mission Valley)
                Red Tractons - (excellent suggestion, by the way)
                Red Fox Inn (not sure, heard it was closing)
                Old Trieste (very old school, but please dress accordingly - sort of a dignified, hushed atmosphere)
                Dobsons - downstairs
                The Godfather restaurant - clairemont
                Manhattan's - old school NY Italian, jazz on fridays
                Whaling Bar - La Valencia Hotel - La Jolla

                again, first group is the food you are looking for, second group the atmosphere. It is San Diego and I don't think we really roll the same way. If anyone has better breakdown let me know...my husband will adopt you.

              3. Harry's Coffee Shop in LaJolla, back to the 60's, even the wait staff looks like the 60's, Broken Yolk in Pacific Beach as well. Maybe Filippies Pizza in Little Italy only, for a basic tomatoe pie or Bully's for a steak.

                1. I think I'm going to add Saska's in Mission Beach to this list. I had a buddy take me there a couple of years ago. I couldn't help but smirk (in a good way) at an old-school steak and seafood joint that served on pewter. Even more old school? They actually served a complete meal with a starch and vegetable. I guess the a la carte thing is dead to them. I'm okay with that. Again, it was two years ago, but I don't think they're changin' much.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gpdexter

                    My mom lives in Mission Beach a couple of blocks from Saska's. She told me about a month ago that Saska's has gone downhill. We've been LONG time customers of Saska's. Back during the 1960s my parents used to send me over to get 1/2 pound burgers and french fries, which I would order from the side door as take out. The burgers were enormous and two orders of french fries would half fill a small grocery bag.

                    Does anyone have recent experience eating at the Saska's in Mission Beach? I'd like to get a second opinion.

                    1. re: nileg

                      Baci on Morena Blvd is old school Italian. All the waiters are men and they dress in suits.

                      1. re: lovesfood11

                        Baci is old school but, their menu prices are absurd.

                      2. re: nileg

                        I think Saska change when they started focusing on sushi…they went away what made the place special in the first place; steaks.

                        I also agree with Bully's East, SD Chicken Pie Shop, Hob Nob, and Rudfords.

                    2. Old Trieste.. I had written about this awhile ago. So disappointed when we went.. way too bright.. i was all dressed up.. There were guys in Hawaiian shirts in there! Not what I expected.. bummer

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: butterbutt

                        I remember your very sad experience and was thinking if she only went to Baci's..
                        Back in the 70's and 80's, Old Trieste was part of the same boys club as Lubach's..
                        Not anymore.

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          I disagree with you about the boys club...it's just not at dinner. Every time I am in there for lunch I run into many of the old power brokers as well as new, up and coming business leaders, dressed appropriately. BB, I know the owner would very much have appreciated your attire. He has complained about that state of the dining scene in this city and being pressured to relax standards in terms of attire. It seems "the Tommy Bahama-fication" of dinner attire has taken over, and many fine-dining restaurants have seriously relaxed their dress codes. Case-in-point: George's California Modern - George and Mark welcome their guests dressed in jeans (expensive jeans mind you, but jeans none-the-less).

                          1. re: foodiechick

                            Old Trieste and Lubach's were known in the 70's and 80's as the 'Boys Club'..