Daphne’s California Greek has been household name across Southern California for decades. With humble beginnings in San Diego, the Mediterranean fast-casual concept quickly evolved into a franchise with locations across the state. Now owned by Elite Restaurant Group, with brands such as Slater’s 50/50 and Paxti’s Pizza also under its wing, Daphne’s has gotten a facelift in both its modern décor and new menu novelties.
Growing up in North County San Diego, Daphne’s was a family staple for me. I was one of three children, and we had very different palates. Daphne’s was one of the few places my entire family could agree on, and our go-to dinner before or after catching a movie just across the way. It didn’t take long for me to find my ‘usual’: the spicy gyro pita, with Daphne’s signature fire feta—a creamy, spicy feta cheese mix—that’s simply addictive. And so it goes with the typical Daphne’s customer, coming back time after time for those lifelong favorites.
The historic customer base also poses a challenge for Daphne’s, which in turn is also looking to attract new customers with a revamped menu that reflects more of today’s food trends. Balancing the new and the old puts Daphne’s on somewhat of a tightrope, yet one that they’re getting pretty comfortable with.
Daphne’s added chicken shawarma to their menu not too long ago, and it’s been a smashing success. Cooked using a centuries-old technique and served with roasted bell peppers, feta and pesto, generous layers of succulent and just-spicy-enough meat go quite well wrapped in Daphne’s perfected warm pita bread. Then there’s the new pita burger series, which subs out a traditional bun for two of those warm pitas, with a grilled burger patty plus a variety of Mediterranean toppings, from gyro meat to that iconic fire feta.
The gyro fries are a must if you’re looking for Mediterranean-American indulgence, cooked with red onion and fire feta and topped with gyro meat. And if you’re wandering, you’ll find fries on menus all across Greece. On the more traditional side, Daphne’s plates and bowls bring a bit of old and new as well. Shrimp has recently made its way onto the menu, with a quality and excellent smokiness that you’d never guess would come from a fast-casual setting.
Daphne’s has held onto its classics as well, keeping their long-time loyalists happy. Their gyro meat is as good as ever, shaved from a vertical rotating spit that will have your mouth water. Biting into a gyro pita with that—you guessed it—fire feta, a portal of nostalgia opened back up. For more information, visit Daphnes.biz.
Fall means Oktoberfest across the beer world, and few are more prepared than The Dudes’ Brewing Co., known across Southern California for their myriads of ever-changing beers that stretch the boundaries of drinkable imagination. To bring in the season and celebrate Oktoberfest in their own right, The Dudes’ has released a seasonal fall beer selection that pays homage to German tradition.
At the helm of the release is Lead Pilot Brewer Marco Leyton, a well-built and well-bearded army veteran who began his brewing career while stationed in Germany. Leyton was quick to note that the fall beer lineup was absolutely a team effort, though it certainly couldn’t hurt to gain influence from Oktoberfest ground zero.
The beirhalle hefeweizen starts off the lineup, light in color with a mild finish but strong in depth and character. Certainly the kind of beer that lives up to its namesake, where with each sip one can visualize the endless communal tables in beer halls across Munich (or Stuttgart, which Leyton notes is as the German Oktoberfest that has far more locals and fewer tourists). Same goes with the Oktoberfest, which has a crisp, clean mouth feel primed for enjoying many times over the course of a day (or four).
The Dudes’ pumpkin ale is the newest edition to the famed juicebox fruit series, and everything that a pumpkin spice addict could ever want in a beer. It’s equally smooth as the rest of the beer lineup, so no overpowering hints of clove or nutmeg, but enough pumpkin essence to easily make the point. And to round it out, you’ve got grandma’s pecan brown, an always-loved icon at The Dudes’.
Each of these beers finds an excellent pairing with The Dudes’ expanded food menu, which is now way beyond the original pizza, salad and pretzel concept that they debuted when first deciding to add a kitchen to select taprooms. The Dudes’ takes as much care in their food as they do their beer, making virtually everything from scratch. House-made bruschetta pairs nicely with the hefeweizen while their pretzels, complemented with an addictive beer cheese sauce (made with The Dudes’ own beer, of course), are a natural fit with the Oktoberfest. The pumpkin ale goes with a house-made burrata and the pecan brown with some excellent steak chimichurri bites.
Pizza remains a staple, with specialties like the sausage mushroom white and the margherita going well with just about anything from the extensive beer lineup. And while beers and food vary by location, The Dudes’ continues to expand with huge plans for new locations. Stay tuned for new opening announcements. TheDudesBrew.com
Farmer Boys has brought back two limited-time items to its menu: the xtreme bacon boy burger and the hog heaven breakfast burrito. These historic crowd favorites each showcase all things pork with indulgent fashion, and are available across all Farmer Boys locations through November 11, 2019.
The xtreme bacon boy burger features two fire-grilled all-beef patties and two slices of cheese, with bacon strips lining the top and a thick layer of crunchy bacon bits on the bottom. The hog heaven breakfast burrito wraps an omelet of 3 cage-free eggs, bacon, sausage, country ham and cheese around hash browns and fresh salsa, nestled inside a warm tortilla. Each creation is decadent in its own right of meaty, cheesy goodness, with rich, crunchy bacon in the spotlight. Pair either one with some always-crispy fries or giant onion rings.
Farmer Boys is fueling these items’ addictive nature with an additional incentive as well. Guests who purchase either the xtreme bacon boy burger or the hog heaven breakfast burrito will get $2 off these items on a return trip if they revisit any Farmer Boys location within two days. Those who are part of Farmer Boys’ loyalty program—the Very Important Farmer (VIF) program—can earn a free breakfast burrito by visiting six times in October and purchasing any variety of breakfast burrito, including the Hog Heaven Breakfast Burrito. In both cases, this leaves you just enough time to recover from the original food coma, and perhaps a stop to your local gym to prepare for the next round.
Each of these two items, as well as the entire Farmer Boys menu, is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Farmer Boys has made a name for itself in the quick service restaurant world by prioritizing quality ingredients, [very] generous portions and exceptional service. With nearly 100 locations across California and Nevada, Farmer Boys continues to expand both its presense across the country and the breadth of its menu with fun, fresh additions. For more information, visit FarmerBoys.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.