Restaurant Review: I haven’t yet covered where you can eat some of the best breakfasts & lunches in the South Bay. You’ve got quite a few choices and one of my favorites is The Wave Cafe. Dennis Hogan is the owner and his wife, Jessica, sat down to talk with me after my meal. That’s part of the appeal of this little place — it is family-run and has an incredibly homey feel.
Dennis is originally from Connecticut. He was in the Navy and served as a cook on ships, including the USS Deleuth docked at 32nd Street in San Diego. After he retired in 1996, he became a cook at Grandma’s Pantry, which no longer exists. It has recently been replaced by the upscale Coronado Brewery that just opened in Imperial Beach.
Dennis worked there for about four years and then came here to what used to be called My Little IB Cafe. The owner changed the name to Wave Cafe. She left and now owns the pizza shop next door. Dennis bought the place from her seven and a half years ago and he’s been cooking hearty American cuisine ever since. Jessica comes to help out with the business as well, but she’s got grandchildren, so she’s busy being a helper all around.
They’ve done well, receiving the “Best Breakfast” award for 2014 for Imperial Beach. The menu is classic American. Breakfasts have kids and senior selections, such as breakfast bears and french toast. Adults can have chicken friend steak, steak and eggs, or a high surf omelet. There’s also a large stack of pancakes, a southern breakfast with biscuits & gravy as well as eggs benedict. Lunches include Championship Chili, tuna melts and my pick for lunch (so that I didn’t need to wait in the breakfast line): the BLT. They also list their daily specials on the board up front.
They have outside tables as well as indoor tables. Jessica says that the new hotel and SeaCoast 180 has actually brought the Wave Cafe even more business than before. What that means for us locals is longer wait times on the weekends.
Don’t forget to take a little look around the walls of the cafe as well. They’ve got an old picture of the Kahanamoku Brothers in front of surfboards in Waikiki Beach in 1928. They also, of course, have pictures that tell you to: Head to the Beach!
It’s first come first serve, so come early! This place has long lines out the door on the weekends.
Open: 7 Days a Week from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Prices: From $5.99 for kids & seniors to $9.99 for adult plates.
Address: 809 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach, CA 91932