The chili bean and cheese omelet at the Sun Café is really, really big and really, really good, especially considering you have to invest only $5.50 in one. This Gaslamp Quarter eatery slings terrific $4 Screwdrivers, too. It serves them in a generously tapered glass with an intriguing blue tint and uses a very interesting vodka called K?. The only item that might stretch your pauper's budget is the T-bone steak dinner, at $10.75. Every other main course runs from about $4 to $6.50, with some side items (like a single egg) going for a stinky ol' $1.25.
Lots of small restaurants have comparable or superior deals, of course; one City Heights venue asks a stinky ol' $5 for a chicken pot pie the size of a flying saucer. But that place, and most others in San Diego, can't touch tiny businesses like the Sun in an area that, to some, is the most compelling of all—the history the feeds it. The building, at 421 Market St., was constructed in 1883 and was a shooting gallery and confectionery factory before becoming a restaurant about a century ago; the walls nod benignly to that past through a number of ancient downtown-area photos. And any number of production companies take to the funky signage and glass-and-mortar façade: The Sun was featured in the movie Almost Famous and has been the backdrop for a cluster of commercials and TV series, including Veronica Mars, the recently defunct Warner Bros. show.
You're welcome to happen by between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. every day but Tuesday. And leave your debit card at home; the Sun takes cash only. You can call ahead for your stuff, too, at 619-239-9950. Either way, you're setting yourself up for a brush with local history and a darn good cheap meal to celebrate it.