San Diego is known for its eclectic array of restaurants, Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Indian, French, German, the list goes on and on when it comes to various types of cuisine you can enjoy in the city. Once upon a time, diners were the bread and butter of the country’s eateries. in its earlier years. But, finding an authentic 1940s diner now isn’t so easy. If you’re lucky enough to find one, rejoice in the good ol’ fashioned American eats.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop is the lucky find for Coronado Island residents and visitors alike. This genuine diner has been around since the early 1940s, opening just a few years before our troops headed off to fight in World War II. It’s been a staple in the community ever since and is committed to providing a true American diner experience from the food to the service.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop Ambiance
The minute you walk though Clayton’s doors, you’ll feel like you’ve opened a time capsule. The first thing that catches you eye is the horseshoe counter that connects to the kitchen. Its bold red leatherette swivel stools make you smile with the memory of simpler times. You know you’re in the right spot. Glancing around, the white and cream striped walls feature bold big painted on words like Sugar & Cream, MMM…., Hamburgers, Ice Cream, and Malts let you know that only traditional American eats are served here.
Cozy red booths with working table jukeboxes line the windows on either side of the wraparound counter, retro appliances like the mint green malt machine, and the functioning mechanical cash register keep the authenticity the 1940s and ‘50s. Large windows, fresh flowers, a bustling wait staff wearing retro aprons, hand-written chalkboards, and old-fashioned touches like squeezable red and yellow ketchup and mustard bottles solidify that this is, in fact, a genuine 1940s diner, not a New Age mockup.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop Food
As with any American diner, the dishes will be classic American entrées. At breakfast you’ll find items like classic one or two egg breakfasts served with hash browns, toast, and your choice of meat, and a wide range of omelets, waffles, pancakes, and French toast. Classics like biscuits & gravy, chicken fried steak, breakfast sandwiches, and steak & eggs are also on the menu. You’ll also find dishes with a Mexican influence like chilaquiles, and huevos rancheros – two eggs on corn tortillas topped with home-made ranchero sauce, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese, served with beans and hash browns.
For lunch a variety of delicious sandwiches like the Grilled Tuna Avocado & Swiss, a classic with a California twist will tantalize your taste buds. What’s more classic American fare than a hamburger, or a hot dog? Nothing. You can choose from Clayton’s Burgers & Dogs list which gives you lots of choices. Try a one-third pound burger or dog with your choice of toppings from basic cheese to barbeque bacon. Prefer hot and spicy? Clayton’s Border Burger topped with jalapenos, spicy sauce, and Swiss cheese may be for you. Or, how about an absolute classic – a Patty Melt on rye with tangy thousand island. All burgers and hot dogs are served with your choice of slaw or fries.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can rest assured you’ll be able to enjoy authentic American fare any time of day. Now comes the most important part. The real prize. Delectable diner desserts! Grab a vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and even Oreo milkshake topped with a large amount of whipped cream. Choose a creamy root beer float, or a warm slice of home-made Granny Smith apple pie. It’s the perfect ending to a nostalgic meal, a reminder of playing outside all day during summer vacation, and running up the porch at night right as your own granny is setting the table.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop Details
Like most diners, Clayton’s Coffee Shop is relatively small, so they can have lengthy wait times during peak times and on the weekends. They are located in the heart of Coronado Island on Orange Street. Street and bike parking are available. There is no Wi-Fi or television in the diner, but who needs it when you can just mingle with other customers at the horseshoe counter. Clayton’s is ADA accessible. No time for a sit-down meal? They offer a walk-up window for desserts, coffees, and beverages.
Clayton’s Coffee Shop Neighborhood
Coronado Island is a family-oriented neighborhood that boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the city. Glorietta Bay Beach is an excellent choice for the kids with an adjacent park and excellent views of the Coronado Bridge. Stay at the Glorietta Bay Inn, a historic 11 room boutique hotel that overlooks the bay. For a little retail therapy after your meal and before hitting the beaches, just stay on Orange Avenue. You’ll find more than 100 boutiques that offer almost anything you can imagine – sunglasses, T-shirts, beach apparel, souvenirs, water sports equipment, and more. Learn a little bit about the neighborhood’s history at the Coronado Historical Museum, also located on Orange Avenue, or take a tour of the island on a bike or a Segway. Play 18 holes at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course, or serve up a few sets at the Coronado Tennis Center.