Getting to know Café 222 and why it is so exceptional, means getting to know the woman behind it, owner, Terryl Gavre. She has been in the restaurant business since she was 15 years old, and a successful entrepreneur since her early twenties when she started The Surrogate Wife. Terryl provided cooking, baking, grocery shopping, and other household responsibilities for many of Seattle’s professional athletes and television personalities. Her company was such a hit it garnered a large amount of media attention, which eventually resulted in a made-for-TV movie called Wife for Hire.
In 1992 she decided to take her earnings from the production and try her hand in the San Diego restaurant business, thus Café 222 was established. This restaurant has been featured in several publications as well as receiving widespread acclaim by Gourmet Magazine and the Food Network, among several other national outlets. This quaint little café serves up delicious America-style dishes with a few Baja options intermingled. With Terryl’s extensive history in this business and her flavorful menu, you can rest assured, you’ll have a tasty dining experience.
Café 222 Ambiance
Located in the East Village neighborhood of Downtown, San Diego, it’s easy to spot Café 222 on the corner of Island and 2nd Avenues; bright pink letters spelling CAFÉ atop the roof. An outside sidewalk patio boasts bright orange chairs and silver tables, perfect if you have your four-legged friends with you. Large windows allow natural light to flood the restaurant, and the bright yellow walls add to the airy feel. Red half booths with white tables and chairs provide a good portion of the indoor seating. Two diner-style counters with stools – one that faces the windows allowing you to people watch, and the other that facing toward the kitchen. This tiny restaurant has a comfy neighborhood feel.
Café 222 Food
Café 222 serves up breakfast daily, and lunch during the weekdays. The menu has traditional American breakfast items, as well as a few dishes that represent San Diego’s ties with Mexican cuisine. The menu offers Nibbles and Bites such as pastries, granola and milk, oatmeal, and seasonal fruit, as well as heartier scrambles, egg benedicts, biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, and other classics. A few of their Mexican specialty items include huevos rancheros and tamales and eggs – a big pork tamale, topped with Mexican gravy, served with two eggs, potatoes, refried beans, and toast.
The egg and meat dishes at Café 222 are excellent choices, but many patrons come for the specialty waffles that have been featured in Gourmet Magazine, and the Bobby Flay recommended stuffed French toast. You can choose the more traditional waffles like The Golden or The Basic, or you can venture out there a little and try the pumpkin, strawberry shortcake, or red velvet drizzled with cream cheese frosting. Pancake lovers enjoy buttermilk, blueberry, or orange pecan pancakes made with fresh OJ, vanilla, and toasted pecans among the other delectable choices.
Note: They offer “Take Home” items such as their house-made granola, house-made pumpkin waffle mix, corn waffle mix, Café 222 t-shirts, and Wafflehead coffee mugs.
The lunch menu is simple, offering a house-made soup of the day, house-made chili, Caesar and house chopped salads, and sandwiches. Specialty sandwiches include albacore tuna, turkey and jack, grilled teriyaki, tuna melt, ham and Swiss, and grilled cheese to name a few; all are served with a salad.
Café 222 Details
Because Café 222 is tiny, you could be looking at a wait time of up to an hour, especially on the weekend. They do not take reservations. You can order take-out during the week, but not on the weekends; there is no delivery. The restaurant is great for kids, but not so much for groups due to space limitations. This breakfast restaurant is ADA accessible. Only street parking is available, but they do offer bicycle parking. Café 222 has no TVs and no Wi-Fi.
Café 222 Neighborhood
The great thing about the location of Café 222 is the restaurant is off the beaten path enough to avoid the crowds of 4th to 6th Avenues, and yet close enough to walk to them. If you’re staying at the historic Sofia Hotel, the luxurious US Grant Hotel, or upscale The Westgate Hotel, it’s an easy walk to Café 222. The Gaslamp Quarter is an excellent place to explore the historic culture of downtown San Diego. Check out Westfield Horton Plaza on 4th Avenue, a great place to get some shopping in, and only about five blocks from the restaurant. For those traveling with children, The New Children’s Museum is three blocks away as is the Children’s Park. PETCO Park, home to Padres baseball is six blocks down and a block over on J Street. There is much to do in the downtown area, so grab a satisfying breakfast or delicious baked treat and hit the streets.