I probably speak for a lot of people in different parts of the state, but since I live part of the year in North San Diego county--specifically Solana Beach, I'll talk about this area. I rarely go out to eat since I haven't found very many value restaurants here. Restaurants seem to be overpriced and more about style than substance. Friends in other parts of the country tell me about packed family run restaurants with lines out the door that serve a great tasty good quality helping of food at an irresistable price and are turning a profit. Why is this concept extinct in San Diego? The only restaurant I've found that is a great value (meaning good quality consistent food for an awesome price is Souplatation) Where are your old fashioned breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurants that serve homeade food of good quality in copious amounts for a low price? 9 times out of 10 when a new restaurant opens, it's overpriced, bland and seems to be solely about profit. I know this area tends to have a higher end demographic but as an upper income person, I don't want to overpay and am not the type to freely spend $30 a plate for uninspiring food. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. Perhaps most people don't think like me and that's why these "hip" places that generate a buzz are multiplying and bargain eats are becoming extinct. I wish I had the capability to open up an old fashioned American diner type restaurant like many Greek-American immigrants did when they came to the United States. I am Greek-American and had family members and knew friends who ran these establishments successfully for many years in the 1930's to 1980s. You received a copious amout of homeade food at a fair or inexpensive price, the menu was easy to understand, it was unpretentious. The owners made you feel welcome. Why can't restaurateurs offer this in the year 2008? I want to live in a metro where you can get a bargain authentic eat or an awesome value (like you do at many big box stores) in all types of neighborhoods--rich and poor. I bet there are people in Rancho Santa Fe who feel the same way I do. So far, the only restaurants I've found that provide this awesome value are the happy hour at Pacific Coast Grill, the happy hour at the Brigantine, Rudy's Taco Shop in Solana Beach, happy hour at Bully's in Del Mar and Souplantation---which is very busy because at dinner because it's a great value, while many restaurants along 101 seem empty--I wonder why? Most other restaurants I've been to have been avergage, bland, overpriced or catered to people who are undiscriminating about food quality. I know I've ranted a little but I want to encourage potential restaurateurs in North San Diego county to ponder why Souplantation has lines out the door for dinner and come up with an awesome value restaurant of your own--can be any type of cuisine--and offer really low prices and have lines out the door.
I would feel the same way if I was on the city council and was to approve a motel along highway 101. I would happily approve a $99 a night chain motel that I knew at that rate was going to be booked solid most of the year vs a $299 night boutique hotel that might not be booked most of the year. I would want the most sales tax revenue vs creating an upscale image. If you build it, they will come.
Feel free to name any other bargains in the area