I must confess that I didn’t do a lot of research prior to showing up at Dottie’s true blue cafe . Knowing it was a triple D and within walking distance of my hotel in San Francisco, I took a quick look at the menu and thought it was a typical breakfast/lunch cafe known for corn bread and jalapeno jelly. My first hint that I had misjudged things is when I showed up at 9:15 on Thursday and there was a line. I figured what the hell, I stood in line at State Bird Provisions the night before for 45 minutes with great results, so a short wait for breakfast in another odd neighbourhood couldn’t be that bad, even among the numerous schizophrenic homeless people who walked by looking to teach me a life lesson. Since I was single, I managed to skip in front of 4 or 5 waiting couples and get a seat along the rail in less than 10 minutes. I felt pretty lucky having secured a second spot with a kitchen view in 2 days.
Shorty after, the seat became me became vacant and a woman I recognized from the line outside was seated beside me. It was clear she was a regular when half the restaurant said hi to her when she sat down. We quickly engaged in a conversation and I was able to get the following facts out of her:
- The busy cook was the owner. He didn’t look like a Dottie.
- The only time you can avoid a line is if you come during the week before 9 am. If you come on it weekend, count on it being a day trip.
- The old style brick walls at Dottie’s are somewhat unique to San Francisco and were not damaged during the 1989 earthquake. I guess the three little pigs fable did have some scientific merit.
- Dottie’s is known for it’s excellent baked goods (see sign below). I was told that a gentleman comes in every morning and makes them in-house. She pointed to a counter beside the kitchen where one could get any of the delightful treats to go.
The menu is large, especially when you consider the fact there is a blackboard full of daily specials including specialty sandwiches, frittatas, omelettes, french toast etc. With all the temptation, I stuck to my general triple D philosophy which inlcudes trying their signature item/dish coupled with something I really like. In this case, it was the louisiana hot link wth eggs served any style showcasing the grilled chili-cheddar corn bread and homefries with the jalapeno jelly of course.
It is very easy to destroy corn bread and this was probably the best I’ve had including restaurants in Tennessee. The jalapeno jelly was food crack (just to clarify..this was the hottie I met at Dottie’s and the not the aforementioned regular who was sweet but not my type). Even the homefries rivaled some of the nest I’ve had. They were tender and seasoned beautifully as also gave me a reason to use more jalapeno jelly. The sausage was middle of the pack but didn’t impair my enjoyment of the dish as a whole. Some of the best breakfasts I’ve had have been from recommendations of Guy Fieri. Dottie’s is right up there with the likes of Lucky’s cafe in Cleveland and Honey’s Sit and Eat in Philadelphia.
Following such a delicious breakfast, my eyes averted to the baked goods. I already knew a jar of jelly was coming home with me so I supplemented it with a coconut chocolate chip muffin ($3) and a Dottie’s peanut butter bar($5) as a snack for the hotel room later. They were neatly wrapped in foil grandma-style which made me think of Dottie since it’s such a grandma name. When taking pictures of these beasts, I put a fork beside them just to demonstrate just how big they were. Tastewise, they were delicious. The muffin was moist and abundent with coconut and the tasty base of the bar was covered in with marshmallows and just the right amount of buttescotch chips. I was thinking of inviting the whole floor over since I would have had enough for all of them.
I think the foundation of a successful breakfast/lunch spot is to offer a normal menu and jazz it up with either a signature item/dish, amazing baked goods and/or a day to day menu highlighting whimsical ideas by the chef based on available ingredients. Dottie’s does all three. The corn bread and jelly was phemonemal, the baked goods sublime and the board was “chalked” full of inventive dishes. San Francsicans love their lines, but they also love their food. The service was as friendly as the diners who frequent the place. The vibe was busy, fun and friendly. Based on past breakfast expereinces, I was convinced I would name my next pet Lucky or Honey but after eating here I may need to put the name Dottie in the mix as well.
Food: 5/5 Guyz
Service: 4/5 Guyz
Vibe: 4.5/5 Guyz
Total: 13.5/15 Guyz
For a complete list of my favorite diners, drive-ins and dives, please click this link: