Since 1999, when Pete A. Cisneros Sr. opened Pappy's Coffee Shop, the rustic, homestyle eatery has attracted locals with generous portions of classic American diner food. From 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, chefs sizzle eggs alongside chicken-fried steak, jumbo cuts of ham, or fried bologna, and pile plates with seven-grain pancakes and waffles. Their 8-ounce burgers can arrive with Freedom fries or fried okra, and charming, 1-quart mason jars of cold soft drinks. The walls boast American and oil-rig-inspired memorabilia, creating an ambiance more down-home and eclectic than the vintage furniture-juggling contest at the state fair.
Locals linger at the counters of Cope’s Knotty Pine Cafe, chatting over steaming cups of coffee. Antiques and knickknacks speckle the wheat-hued wooden walls above booths and tables. Behind the counter, servers bustle, warmed by a griddle, and balance plates of omelets, burgers, and fried seafood. The dishes are all forged from recipes that might have been passed down through generations or discovered in extremely rough drafts of the Constitution.
Cafe 225’s seasonally changing menu is a tour of California. Fresh seafood evokes the state’s scenic coastline, and chicken breasts hot from the oak-charcoal grill come with drizzles of cream sauce and slices of avocado that call to mind the state’s lush avocado groves. Crowned in fire-roasted chilies and chipotle aioli, the eatery’s burgers mimic the spiciness of the Mexican food just across the border; with bacon and locally sourced cheddar, meanwhile, they become a tastier American classic than a baseball on a pie tin. An array of personal pizzas and pastas rounds out the menu, and the wooden bar’s selection of 70 wines and artisanal beers complements meals.
The restaurant’s proprietor got his start in the industry at the age of 12, when he helped make sandwiches during the lunchtime rush at his father’s San Francisco eatery. In the ensuing decades, he has cultivated the know-how and taste to construct Cafe 225’s menu, along with its exposed kitchen and rotisserie grill. Today, he even makes a point of sourcing as many ingredients as possible from environmentally sustainable companies.
At Zen Asian Diner, chefs are versed in cuisine ranging from traditional Chinese to American-style dishes. They sear and fry fresh ingredients to create egg foo young tossed with vegetables or barbecue pork, chop suey with meats such as chicken and shrimp. Additionally, the menu includes mouth-watering Asian fusion dishes such as curry-drizzled chicken and Mongolian-style spicy beef. Zen Asian Diner also serves aromatic cuisine beyond its doors—they have a catering team that assembles party platters for off-site events.
A smiling sunflower beams from Lollicup’s walls, menus, and cups. It’s an appropriate emblem for a teashop that specializes in whimsical drinks flavored with cotton candy, bubblegum, and passion fruit. Drink slingers pour more than 170 tea- and milk-based beverages and anchor them with tapioca, pudding, jelly, and tiny anvils. Though the drinks may be kid-friendly and colorful, Lollicup’s curators take the ingredients seriously: they select only the freshest cassava root for their boba and brew green and black teas from high-quality leaves.
Juice it Up! began in Southern California in 1995 as a purveyor of healthy, fresh-squeezed raw juices. Now, there are more than 100 Juice it Up! storefronts across four states, and at each location, juicers transform whole vegetables and fruits into tasty blends designed to boost mental and physical health. An orange, carrot, and ginger “Awakener,” for instance, contains the vitamins essential for good vision and accurate alarm clocks, while a combination of apple, cucumber, spinach, and kale is dubbed “The Immunizer.”
Beyond juices, staff also blend fresh fruit, non-fat yogurts, and creamy sherbets into custom-created smoothies, ranging from the classic—such as strawberry-banana and pineapple punch—to power blends packed with protein powder, specialty blends made with tea and coffee, and lower-calorie "delightful" blends. They can add vitamin-packed Booya! boosts to any drink to enhance energy, memory, and immunity, and fill acai bowls with granola and fresh-sliced fruit.