On the menu: Fig Tree Cafe diversifies with restaurants for breakfast

I remember my mother forcefully reciting a wise proverb to her children in the morning before leaving for school: “You should have breakfast like a king or a queen, lunch like a prince or a princess, and dine like a king or a queen. a poor. “

Johan Engman, CEO and Founder of Rise & Shine Hospitality Group – a San Diego-based restaurant conglomerate that focuses on gourmet breakfast, must have heard the same expression growing up in Östersund, Sweden, before planting his roots. in San Diego in 1997 when he was 16.

After spending years working as a busser, dishwasher, and waiter at various restaurants around town, Engman spotted a vacant restaurant site at 5119 Cass Street, on the edge of Pacific Beach and Bird Rock. By the fall of 2008, Engman had raised enough funds to launch his vision for the restaurant. Intuitively, he put the odds in his favor by opening a restaurant for breakfast and lunch in a market that he said was saturated with restaurants.

Want to visit?

Fig tree coffee

Address: 5119 Cass Street, Pacific Beach

Call: 858-274-2233

Website: figtreeeeatery.com

Hours: every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With a mother’s vein of elbow grease and sweaty fairness, Engman transformed the ramshackle lair into a sunny gathering place for breakfast.

Although slender ficus trees adorn the entrance to his new restaurant, the botanical name has not struck a chord with the young restaurateur. Since the ficus is a weeping fig, it chose the name Fig Tree Cafe, which became the first of a family of cheerful breakfast diners, including locations in East Village, Liberty Station and soon to open Mission Valley. They are joined by a host of Breakfast Republic, Eggies, Gaslamp Breakfast Company brands as well as Feast and Fareway on the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. More are coming next summer.

Admission to Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

As you stroll through the relaxed lobby of PB’s Fig Tree Cafe, the nostalgic morning aromas of freshly brewed coffee, smoked bacon, and wholesome whole wheat toast perfume the alfresco dining and draw you in. The striking decor includes a repurposed, kitschy surf board fitted with light fixtures and suspended from the beamed open ceiling, cozy neon blue cabins, a sprawling trompe-l’oeil mural of the beach and pier and four flowering fig trees in the front seating area. The latter flows towards the wooded back patio.

Fig Tree Café in Pacific Beach.

Fig Tree Café in Pacific Beach.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

A laid-back California coastal vibe colliding with a spice south of the border is reflected in the creative and healthy breakfast and lunch menu. Gluten-free and vegan options are plentiful, along with items to satisfy the most discerning carnivorous and pescatarian palates, while seasonal items change throughout the year “to keep the menu fresh, as it’s constantly being brought up to date. up to date, ”Engman said.

Winter specials, available until March 19, feature homemade braised baby back ribs on a creamy polenta, served with poached eggs and pistachio-mint pesto. Pair it with a little bit of liquid joy, be it S’mores Latte or Winter Mimosa Flight mixing Brut with blood orange, dragon fruit and Granny Smith apples.

Engman said the Fig Tree Cafe also uses mostly organic and non-GMO ingredients. Where possible, he sources from local vendors for the group’s 21 restaurants, including free-range eggs from Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch, a family-run egg ranch in Ramona; and “super tasty, gluten-free baked goods like multigrain breads and cinnamon raisins that don’t taste like cardboard,” from GIN, an acronym for Gluten Not Included, a family-owned bakery in Escondido.

Breakfast sushi at Fig Tree Cafe.

Breakfast sushi at Fig Tree Cafe.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

Popular menu items range from breakfast sushi (bacon, scrambled eggs, and rice rolls coated in green onions with plum sauce), mince meatloaf, and a scrambled egg and Monterey cheese with Anaheim peppers, corn tortillas, Mexican rice, black beans and house. makes salsa. There is also an assortment of French toasts like the iconic Fig Jam and Ricotta, as well as a Lobster Cake and Blue Crab Benedict.

Vegans can indulge in the plant-based Mediterranean mung bean omelet that incorporates olives, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and capers, along with homemade potatoes and a choice of vegan bread.

Grilled Turkey Sandwich at Fig Tree Cafe.

Grilled Turkey Sandwich at Fig Tree Cafe.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

Hearty soups, salads, and hearty sandwiches, like well-garnished grilled turkey, are healthy and satisfying breakfast options.

Wash it all down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, ginger kombucha, specialty lattes or a cup of organic and fair trade coffee. Liquid boost injections are a treat to boost immunity, cleanse, detoxify or fight fatigue. These can also be mixed with champagne for a powerful bubbling mimosa.

If you want to dine with your dog, there is a Puppy Chow menu to satisfy most canine cravings. The offerings range from grilled chicken breast and rice to eggs and turkey bacon. But please follow the rules for good dog table manners.

Mural in the patio of the Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach.

Mural in the patio of the Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

Although the Fig Tree Cafe has received many accolades and honorable mentions in the culinary breakfast world, the accomplished host humbly brushed them aside, “You need to focus on the best possible job when it comes to cooking. quality and service, and don’t take your eye on the price in ensuring that every guest has a great experience.

Engman also owes its recipe for success to its core values: “be resourceful and resourceful, remember where you come from and promote from within”. Rise & Shine COO Cesar Garcia started out as a line cook, while Sarah King started out as a data entry clerk before rising through the ranks to becoming the company’s CFO. .

There are also wares and souvenirs for sale so you can enjoy homemade jams, ketchup, good hot sauce, and a blend of coffee beans at home, while sipping on a fig tree-adorned mug.

Recipe from Fig Tree Café

Berry Sweet French Toast at Fig Tree Cafe.

Berry Sweet French Toast at Fig Tree Cafe.

(Courtesy of Fig Tree Café)

Sweet French toast with berries

For 4 people


8 slices of brioche bread (1 inch thick)

1 liter of heavy cream

12 egg yolks

½ C. brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tsp of spiced rum

1 tbsp unsalted butter


1. Combine cream, yolks, sugar, vanilla and rum in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk.

2. Add the butter to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until it melts.

3. Dip the brioche bread in the mixture and place it in the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown.

4. Cut in half and place on a serving plate. Spoon a generous dollop of the filling (below) and garnish with the fresh berries.


1 pound of frozen mixed berries

1 tablespoon of lime juice

1 cup of fine sugar

1 cup of cream cheese

C. condensed milk

1 cup chopped strawberries

12 large black berries


1. Add the frozen mixed berries, lime juice and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. When the berries become soft, mix until smooth.

3. Leave to cool.

4. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk.

5. Top French toast with jam mixture, cream cheese mixture and fresh berries.

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