San Diegans swoon for Cottage cooking

by Miranda Adler

Courtesy of The Cottage
Courtesy of The Cottage

The crowd congregating around The Cottage in La Jolla on the corner of Fay Avenue and Kline Street is constant.

Young couples hold hands, students and elderly folks are common customers, all more than willing to wait their turn for a seat beneath a cozy heat lamp outside. Locals, or anyone who has recently purchased a guidebook, know where to come for tasty Southern California cuisine and prime people watching.

The Cottage, renovated from a home that was built in 1915, offers generous portions of usual breakfast favorites for around $10, including omelettes, eggs and goods (both baked and battered). Manager Jackie Beoris gushed about one of the more popular orders, stuffed French toast, described as country-style French toast stuffed with strawberry compote and mascarpone cheese. Breakfast is served until 11:30 a.m. on weekdays, noon on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

The lunch menu features soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches averaging $12. The veggie sandwich, complete with double vegetable patties, melted cheddar and grilled onions on sourdough parmesan cheese toast, is a standout. As dishes are served surprisingly quickly, diners’ “oohs” and “aahs” are audible from the sidewalk.
Beoris said the restaurant is constantly busy, no matter the time of year.

“We’re definitely busiest on the weekends,” Beoris said. “The wait can get to be around 30 to 40 minutes.”
Free coffee and snacks are served to those who brave the wait on weekends. After salivating over other customer’s dining choices, it’s easy to see why this restaurant is a popular choice.

One couple visiting from the U.K., Lois and Colin Nicholas, heard about The Cottage and its pristine reputation from a visitor’s guide.

“It’s so packed in here,” Colin Nicholas said between bites of a crumbling pastry. “That’s always a good sign.”
The abundance of staff makes customers forget about how packed the place is, constantly refilling drinks and making small talk. The handicap lift, installed after a renovation in 2009, makes the restaurant easily accessible to the frequenting older demographic.

Owners John and Laura Wolfe currently manage the original Cottage in Wellesley, Mass. Beoris said there are plans to open another on the East Coast in April, which will reflect the same casual, Southern California feel of the other two locations.
The Cottage is more than the average La Jolla eatery and sure to please a variety of diners.