Nine years ago, when I first wrote about the Daily News Café in Carlsbad, I described it as a great place to go with a couple of newspapers and some time on your hands while enjoying a leisurely meal.
And as much as I’ve become immersed in the digital age since then, there is something soothing about taking a step back, slowing down and actually reading a community newspaper like The Coast News over a fine breakfast or lunch at a place like the Daily News Café.
When I heard they are celebrating 30 years in business this year, I had to revisit them and get the back-story from owner Robert Ruane. Below are some highlights from that conversation and, if you have not been, it’s located right in the heart of Carlsbad and besides the solid menu, it’s a great place for people watching.
LTP: First off, congratulations on 30 years. That is a huge accomplishment in the restaurant business. Take me back to the beginning and how the Daily News came to be.
Robert: In 1985, we opened Linda’s Yogurt sandwich and yogurt shop next door to the Daily News location. It was not the Daily News at the time and there were four restaurants in this location in five years. Each time one would close, we thought what a great location for a cafe, and after five years of businesses coming and going, we were able to come to agreement with the landlord to open the Daily News.
In the beginning we offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that was in March 1990. It was a little tough getting up and running, because of tight economics overall and starting a new family as well. We felt the best thing to do was to eliminate dinner and focus on breakfast and lunch. That was when business started to take off, and breakfast and lunch became the focus.
Both my son and daughter worked here throughout the years and have chosen different career paths for themselves. I am fortunate to have a couple of employees, Jose and Deena, who have been here for our entire run. I also have several kitchen people, Arturo and James, who have been with us for more than 15 years. Our tremendous wait staff of Tera, Stephanie, Erin, Corey and Renne have given 10 or more years of service to the business.
LTP: What is the history of the building and was there something there prior to Daily News?
Robert: The building was opened in 1985 on the Carlsbad Inn resort property. The Royal Palms hotel was here prior to the resort being built. Built in the late ’30s, the Royal Palms had fallen into disrepair, so it was demolished and replaced with the Carlsbad Inn. There were four other restaurants here from 1985 to 1990. They all focused on nighttime business. None of them did breakfast. We always felt that breakfast was the way to go, because at the time there were very few breakfast cafes to choose from.
LTP: Have you always been in restaurants? What was your professional life like prior to Daily News?
Robert: My wife, Linda, ran her sandwich and yogurt shop since the mid-’70s and that is where our experience in food service began. I had been an electrician for about 15 years before going into the food business.
LTP: Are there menu items that you would steer guests toward who are going for the first time?
Robert: The omelets are incredible, and the French toast is made with bread we bake on the premises. The bacon is the best ever, apple and cherrywood smoked and delicious. We use the freshest ingredients available, some locally sourced when possible.
LTP: Do you have a mix of locals and tourists who make up your diners?
Robert: Our customers are a mix of locals and tourists. We have always felt that we are a local business first and foremost, but as the tourism grew in this area, so did our tourist business. We have seen many of the same tourists come back over the years.
LTP: Any shout-outs to your longtime staff or anything else you would like to add?
Robert: I want to thank all of the staff over all these years, some who unfortunately have left this world, Shannon, aka “Gator,” and Tony. A big shout-out to Roberto, Elias, Guillermo, Courtney, Deena, Erin, Stephanie, Erick and all the front of house staff who put in so much effort to keep this business going. I could not do it without them.
Find the Daily News Café at 3001 Carlsbad Blvd, Suite A in Carlsbad or www.dailynewscafe.com