It's funny how breakfast joints inspire a loyalty that few other restaurants can match. The menus are nearly identical, yet on weekend mornings the large crowds line up, everyone waiting for their turn at the trough. One such joint is Perry's Café on Pacific Highway.
I'd driven by Perry's many times, intrigued by the throng of people waiting outside. I attempted to go about a year ago, only to leave thanks to someone in our party who couldn't wait 15 minutes (time that was instead spent driving somewhere else-thanks a lot, Wiley). Ironically, my first taste of Perry's breakfast came about because this time I was the one tired of waiting: after 20 minutes at a nearby restaurant without getting menus or having our order taken, we split and headed for Perry's.
My companion and I were both skeptical, having heard so much praise over the years. Most places people rave about often fail to live up to the hype. Happily, Perry's is an exception. Pretty much an old-fashioned greasy spoon, Perry's serves Mexican and American breakfasts, boasting a number of homemade dishes that are served in ridiculous abundance at reasonable prices.
Mexican breakfasts include standards like machaca (shredded beef scrambled with eggs, peppers and onions), carne asada and eggs (with rib-eye steak) and eggs scrambled with nopalitos (cactus)-all served with beans and tortillas on the side.
The American breakfasts include bacon and eggs, ham and eggs, corned-beef hash and eggs, omelets, eggs Benedict and the like. Perry's also offers pancakes, plain or fruit-filled, and waffles, plain or fruit-topped. The egg breakfasts come with a choice of potatoes and toast, baked apple, fresh fruit or beans and tortillas.
Perry's also serves frittatas-an Italian take on the omelet consisting of eggs scrambled together with savory ingredients, topped with cheese and then broiled until puffy. Having spied a lot of awesome-looking frittatas on the way to our table, I ordered the combo frittata. Having spied a lot of awesome-looking pancakes on the way to our table, my girl got the banana pancakes.
The banana pancakes comprised two large pancakes rolled around a generous quantity of fresh banana slices, with additional banana slices on top, and smothered with whipped cream. The frittata was made with three eggs, thick-sliced bacon, mushrooms, onions, homemade sausage, and topped with an ample amount of cheddar cheese. Clearly, this is not a place for practicing moderation.
The pancakes were great-tender and fluffy, with the fresh banana adding a nice lift to the flavor. The whipped cream tasted prefab and is something I'd probably ask for on the side, if at all. The frittata was also excellent, with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs (not too dry, not too runny) surrounding numerous chunks of savory goodness. For an extra treat, add a spicy, tomato-y tang to your eggs with Perry's delicious house-made salsa.
To say the portions are generous is an understatement. Indeed, we were only able to eat about half of our food, and that makes Perry's a bargain if you're inclined to share. Breakfasts start at $3 for plain pancakes and top out at $9.75 for steak and eggs. Perry's has two locations, one here and one in El Cajon. They're open daily, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.