You’ve heard that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Well, you can’t build an empire without starting with a first store. At the Broken Yolk Café in Pacific Beach, they’ve been making omelets and more since 1979, and today they’re far from alone.
The Broken Yolk now has 20 locations in four states, including 10 cafés in San Diego. You’ll find them in the Gaslamp Quarter, Point Loma, Mission Valley, the South Bay and North County. And the next Broken Yolk set to open will be in San Diego State University’s new South Campus Plaza.
“That’ll be our first ‘casual concept’,” explained Broken Yolk marketing manager Lisa Erickson. “No traditional wait staff. You walk in and you order and you have a number and you sit down.” That’s ideal, she said, for college students. “They want cheap, fast and good, and then they’re outta there.”
The Broken Yolk’s growth is even more impressive when you consider that it’s only been franchising since 2008.
“I think breakfast is just popular,” Erickson said. “You turn on the TV and everyone’s doing breakfast and ‘breakfast all day.’ Right now it’s super trendy. People also like that extra protein.”
Among longtime San Diegans, the quintessential Broken Yolk is the original PB location, regardless of where others open in the county. “I still hear people say ‘Go to the one in PB first.’ It’s been the same for so long. You know what you’re getting when you walk in,” she said. “We are known for our large portions, for good food. You know you’re probably taking half of it home.”
The PB location has a faithful repeat clientele as well as a familiar staff. One of the cooks, Erickson said, has been there from the very beginning, and “We have some wait staff who’ve been here for over 20 years.”
She shared a story about one of the Broken Yolk’s most loyal PB customers: “One woman was telling me that after the birth of every single one of her children, her ‘reward’ was coming to the Broken Yolk and having breakfast.”
The original PB location, which also houses the company’s offices, is “the hangout” for some people, Erickson said, with a friendly “Cheers"-like environment. Its patio remains a coveted space for diners, most of whom are eating breakfast even at lunch time. (The café is open daily until 3 p.m.) There’s also parking available, which is a plus in PB.
Erickson, who has worked for the company for a little over two years, knew of the Broken Yolk long before that. “When I first came to San Diego, I lived in Crown Point,” she said, “and I remember coming over here all the time. It was the little place you went on the weekends, and it’s still that way.”
— The Broken Yolk Café, 1851 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. (858) 270-YOLK (9655). Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. For other Broken Yolk Café locations, visit thebrokenyolkcafe.com
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