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Allen's Alley Cafe

Vista breakfast spot has longevity and charm to spare.

No restaurant in Vista has been open longer than Allen’s Alley Cafe. In the restaurant world, sixty years is practically an eternity. I mean, Allen’s is no White Horse Tavern, but it’s been around for a lot longer the the five year life span of the average restau! Set in an eponymous alleyway, the long, narrow, brick building has a handful of tables and a lunch counter with some compelling patio space to soak up the North County sun during all-day breakfast service. It’s a true family affair, with pictures of children and little league teams and stuff on the walls. During my recent visit there, a friend (who grew up in Vista) was positive that the woman behind the counter had been there when he was a kid.

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The menu claims Allen’s biscuits and gravy are the best in the world: an ambitious mark when every other spot in the American South is likely to make the same boast. Still, the soft biscuits and creamy, sausage gravy at Allen’s were tasty, and inexpensive at $4.95 for a single biscuit, $5.95 for a double order.

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Allen’s is by no means alone in this, but the trend of naming menu items after one-time customers and staffers is maybe the greatest charm of small, family dining places. On the menu, the “Charlie burger” weighs in at a full 1LB of meat, the “Dunya’s special” sandwich is chicken and mushrooms on a croissant, and “Nina’s delight” is a veggie sandwich with cream cheese and almonds. Who are these people? Somebody knows, no doubt, but that’s not really the point. In some ways, there is no greater honor than having your name forever emblazoned on the menu at your favorite restaurant, particularly if it stays open for the better part of a century and shows no sign of slowing down. With all the Alley's charms, It's easy to see how it's "the place in Vista."

Allen’s Alley Cafe
124 Hanes Place, Vista
760-726-4433
M-F 6-3
Sat-Sun 7-2

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No restaurant in Vista has been open longer than Allen’s Alley Cafe. In the restaurant world, sixty years is practically an eternity. I mean, Allen’s is no White Horse Tavern, but it’s been around for a lot longer the the five year life span of the average restau! Set in an eponymous alleyway, the long, narrow, brick building has a handful of tables and a lunch counter with some compelling patio space to soak up the North County sun during all-day breakfast service. It’s a true family affair, with pictures of children and little league teams and stuff on the walls. During my recent visit there, a friend (who grew up in Vista) was positive that the woman behind the counter had been there when he was a kid.

None

None

The menu claims Allen’s biscuits and gravy are the best in the world: an ambitious mark when every other spot in the American South is likely to make the same boast. Still, the soft biscuits and creamy, sausage gravy at Allen’s were tasty, and inexpensive at $4.95 for a single biscuit, $5.95 for a double order.

None

Allen’s is by no means alone in this, but the trend of naming menu items after one-time customers and staffers is maybe the greatest charm of small, family dining places. On the menu, the “Charlie burger” weighs in at a full 1LB of meat, the “Dunya’s special” sandwich is chicken and mushrooms on a croissant, and “Nina’s delight” is a veggie sandwich with cream cheese and almonds. Who are these people? Somebody knows, no doubt, but that’s not really the point. In some ways, there is no greater honor than having your name forever emblazoned on the menu at your favorite restaurant, particularly if it stays open for the better part of a century and shows no sign of slowing down. With all the Alley's charms, It's easy to see how it's "the place in Vista."

Allen’s Alley Cafe
124 Hanes Place, Vista
760-726-4433
M-F 6-3
Sat-Sun 7-2

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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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