By Kelley Carlson
From scrambled eggs to grilled chicken, The Broken Yolk Cafe offers something for everyone on its oval-shaped menu. The family-friendly restaurant — which has nine locations throughout San Diego County and in Temecula — advertises that its food is fresh and the portions are ample, as scales are not used for weighing. Customers won’t find dehydrated potatoes here; the hash browns and home fries are prepared from genuine spuds on site. They will also discover the salsa is house-made, and fruit and vegetables are sliced and diced in the kitchen rather than prepackaged.
“People like that (freshness); they see the difference,” said John Gelastopoulos, who co-owns the chain with his wife, Chris.
Starting at the crack of dawn until its mid-afternoon closure, The Broken Yolk serves breakfast, so that even night owls can enjoy the most important meal of the day. The top seller is Eggs Benedict, featuring two toasted English muffins topped with Canadian bacon, two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.
Fans of omelets will find seemingly endless combinations (28 to be exact), each containing four extra-large eggs. The Mom Vegetarian Omelet is one of Broken Yolk’s signatures; it is stuffed with avocado, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, alfalfa sprouts and finished with sour cream and salsa. “Mom always tells you to eat your vegetables,” Gelastopoulos said when explaining the moniker.
His own favorite is Tony G’s Special, named for a patron who has consistently customized his omelet in the same manner for 18 years at the Pacific Beach location. The plate-sized, open-faced egg creation contains sautéed mushrooms, black olives, water chestnuts, green onions, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Additional light breakfast dishes include the Fresh Fruit Boat, a varying combination of melons, oranges, grapes, strawberries and pineapple.
French toast, waffles, pancakes and South of the Border-themed selections are among other options, as well.
But those who have a large stomach — and the huevos — are invited to try the Broken Yolk Iron Man and Iron Woman Special, highlighted in “Man v. Food” with Adam Richman on the Travel Channel. A 6-pound, dozen-egg omelet that is filled with mushrooms, onions, American cheese and smothered with house-made chili and more cheese is served on a 15-inch pizza pan with a large pile of home fries and two biscuits. To complete the challenge, one person must finish it within an hour; winners have the $25.99 cost waived, receive a T-shirt, and have their names added to the Hall of Fame Plaque.
Not only is breakfast an all-day event at The Broken Yolk, lunch is too. Customers have choices of sandwiches, street tacos, wraps, paninis, soups and salads, along with half-pound Angus burgers, many of which are named for local cities. For example, the Solana Beach Burger is defined by bacon strips, melted Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a buttered-and-grilled, sesame-seed bun, while the Del Mar Burger is piled with sauteed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Ironically, the most popular patty is “nothing fancy,” according to Gelastopoulos: the Old Reliable Burger, which is layered with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo.
Although the daily dishes are a draw, The Broken Yolk’s special events attract so many guests, lines form outside the door. One instance is the chain’s anniversary celebration, held every March, when about a dozen items are priced at $2.99. Another is National Maple Syrup Day on Dec. 17, when the establishment gives customers free short stacks.
But no matter which location people visit, they will find consistency. The menus are identical, and appearances are similar. Contrary to what the name suggests, which is country decor, The Broken Yolk is a modern breakfast house. The walls have warm tones — soft yellow and brick red — and wood floors, and the majority of seats are cushioned booths. Upbeat music plays as televisions silently show sports.
The Broken Yolk Cafe
Address: 1851 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Phone: (858) 270-YOLK (9655)
The Vibe: Casual, upbeat
Signature Dishes: Eggs Benedict, The Mom Vegetarian Omelet, Old Reliable Burger
Open Since: 1979
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: No
Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.
This week: The Mom Omelet Vegetarian