396 Broadway (at G), Chula Vista
Back in 1925, when Chula Vista was miles and miles of vegetable fields, one building stood out like a mole on your hand: the new eatery they called the Flamingo Café. Until a few years ago, one of the original patrons was still coming in. One "newcomer" has been popping in seven days a week for 47 years. Why do they come? "Because it really is like family," says Joanne Angel, the owner. "We get a lot of people on fixed incomes. That's why we have special Sundowner meals -- $3.99, every night." They also have Depression-era plates at Depression-era prices: like chipped beef on toast ($2.60), meatloaf sandwiches with fries ($3.75), or half an egg-salad sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of soup ($1.99). Check out the pictures of old Chula Vista -- and the clientele. Got arthritis? Ask for David. He has a uranium mine in Butte, Montana. For $3 an hour go sit in it three times a day. "They reckon after ten days you're a spring chicken, ready to square dance!" If he takes to you, he might even tell you how to get there.