Nini's Coffee Shop - nice family run joint
We recently stopped in at Nini's Coffee Shop for breakfast. Nini's was originally opened in SF in 1917, but then Nini & Wally "retired" to San Mateo in 1968 and turned an old corner store into the current Nini's. I believe the son is now running the place and looks like the next generation is also working there. Its off the beaten track in a completely residential neighborhood but according to yelp, it can get mobbed on the weekend. Monday morning when we were there, it was easy to get a table. The other patrons seemed to be regular folk - families & local industrial workers.
The place has all the hallmarks of a ol' time family run joint -- menu of basic comfort staples with a few signture dishes, funky home decored atmosphere with tons of signs and friendly waitresses that know the names of many of the patrons. There's counter seating as well as indoor & outdoor courtyard tables.
We both had the biscuits & gravy with eggs and potatoes which were quite tasty (although I'd order the potatoes "well done" in the future). Michael was a little sad that we just found this place, given that its just down the road from a place he worked for 3-ish years (not not anymore) - all those missed lunch opportunities!
We'll definitely go back to try out some of the other things on their menu - a lot of the lunch items looked worth checking out. In a world of corporate chains, I'm just really glad that places like this continue to exist.
Nini's Coffee Shop
1000 N Idaho St, San Mateo, CA 94401
yes! The key is to ask for the potatoes Extra Crispy or else they are kind of limp and lifeless. The best breakfast i've had there is the teriyaki steak and eggs. . . a nice strip of well marinated skirt steak with eggs how you like them. . .sounds weird but it's EXCELLENT! I like the little patio area. .. nice on a sunny day.
Patio there has about a dozen tables and is covered so you get filtered light and shelter from wind. They also have heaters. I really liked this place for the straight forward diner fare. Nothing particularly stood out to us as noteworthy chow, but it was all good for middle of the road American breakfast. The coffee was the weak point and could stand an upgrade to a better quality bean. The place seems very family friendly and feels like a fixture in the neighborhood with lots of regulars enjoying leisurely meals with friends. Worth going if you want a diner breakfast and are already in the area.