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I had spotted this place a while back and mistakenly assumed it was closed since it's distinctively shabby on the outside.

None

But not so! Lucky's was fully operational and apparently has been for eons. I stepped through the door and I was greeted by the strains of some Chinese zither music. The full name of the place is Lucky's Golden Phenix (sic) and the eponymous gentleman himself seems to be the only employee who works behind the zig-zag counter where breakfast is the only meal available and cash is the only acceptable currency.

When I walked in, Lucky immediately offered me coffee. Since it was only eighty-five cents for the cup (and everyone's entitled to a free refill with breakfast), I accepted. It was hot, fresh, and about as basic a cup of coffee as exists on this Earth.

As the price of coffee indicates, Lucky's is a complete and total time warp. It looks like it hasn't changed in about thirty years — even the elderly Lucky seems to be operating on decades of routine. The prices hover just north of "free." Nothing on the menu exceeds five bucks. I ordered the most luxurious item I could find, three eggs with ham, potatoes, and toast....for $4.10. After Lucky took my order, he walked back to the kitchen and cooked exactly that. It was the kind of breakfast that you might get in that little town from Northern Exposure. Anti-fancy, but not bad, not by a long shot. Lucky knows how to cook an egg and the pancakes that the little kid across from me was chewing on looked pretty perfect as well.

What can I say, I was taken with the anachronistic service model, the archaic pricing, and the Confucian vibe inside the restaurant in the early morning.

Lucky let me hang out and read for a while, he never dropped a check off or anything like that, so I just left the right amount of money and made my way out the door. Everybody else seemed to be doing likewise.

3804 Grim Ave
Monday-Saturday 7:15-Noon
Closed Sundays and holidays

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Comments
3

Lucky is by far the coolest cook in town. If you're ordering a lot, he'll say "Too much! You won't be able to finish that." You're right. His business model is ancient, but I guess he keeps folks like you and me coming back.

June 20, 2012

Somehow I am not surprised you're a Lucky's veteran! Good on you, sir.

June 21, 2012

this sounds like a very cool place to go...thx Ian and Ed

June 20, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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