It’s late Sunday morning, and there’s a mimosa in my hand, courtesy of Point Loma burger and cocktail spot, Royale.
4204 Voltaire Street, Point Loma
Serious cheeseburger fans will already be familiar with Royale, and its Pulp Fiction-referencing signature sandwich, the Royale with Cheese. The family owned business has earned recurring mention in the Reader’s annual burger issue, going back to its time as a pop-up counter restaurant in the back of University Heights bar, Park & Rec. What longtime fans may not know is that, since the move to its own permanent space on Voltaire Street last year, Royale has also started opening for weekend brunch.
The stylish space is dominated by a long bar, evidence of its usual late night hours slinging craft cocktails and beer to go with an expanded dinner menu, including beef and veggie burgers with American or gruyere cheese, a patty melt featuring both, and, in a bit of a left turn, a smoked trout and baby spinach salad.
However, in the 11 a.m. hour, I find its brightly lit dining room filled with young couples and their children. The young’uns eat off the kids menu, while the adults, like me, enjoy morning beverages with their food.
The brunch menu mostly finds ways to meet the appetites of a burger crowd. There’s a $12 Breakfast Royale, the burger topped with fried egg, bacon, and hash browns. A $10 sausage breakfast sandwich features fried egg, cheese, and caramelized onions on a brioche; a $14 fried chicken breakfast sandwich includes braised collard greens and sausage gravy on a large, house-baked biscuit.
But it’s something at the end of the menu that captures my attention: the $13 breakfast bowl. Like the smoked trout salad, this dish veers away from the traditional burger joint menu, topping farro grains with a mix of vegetables, avocado, and two halves of soft boiled egg.
Something else fans of Royale might not realize is that its owners, married couple Jordan and Mariah Brownwood, also own a certified organic farm in Valley Center. I wrote about Nopalito Farm previously because they grow hops for local craft breweries. However, they also grow fruit and vegetables up there, primarily for use in their restaurant.
Fresh seasonal fruit — currently guava, passionfruit, and assorted citrus — turn up in the rotating cocktail menu. Oranges from the farm put the mim in my ‘mosa. And the vegetables they grow contribute to a handful of dishes, including my breakfast bowl. The braised collard greens come from Nopalito, as do the avocados and roasted carrots. Farmers market vegetables round out the meal, including cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini.
Along with the tender and mildly nutty farro grains, and the custardy yolk of those eggs, the simple combination of fresh vegetables made for a healthy and filling first meal of the day. Since I like true farm to table food almost as much as I like burgers, I didn’t even regret skipping the heavier breakfast sandwiches to be the guy eating salad at a burger spot.
Not that I’ll make a habit of it: that Royale with cheese hits the spot, any time of day.