Friendly, casual dining hits the spot at Beachside

Signature dish: The Irish breakfast sandwich at Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen is a delectable combination of meats

Signature dish: The Irish breakfast sandwich at Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen is a delectable combination of meats

San Francisco’s oceanside community feels like another country, with its own weather and enthusiasms. People actually born in The City live here, along with three-legged dogs, surfers, RV dwellers, solo backpackers, bike advocates and a lot of babies and young kids, if the line out the always-open front door of Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen is any indication.

The corner of Judah Street and 48th Avenue, one block from the end of the street car line and two blocks from Ocean Beach, is one happening crossroads, and this new homey beach shack cafe rides on the waves of the vitality of this micro-hood.

Beachside fits in so uncannily well because its owners, Buffy and Patrick Maguire, seem to know everyone, and most of the customers in the cafe know each other. The couple started the kitchen-less Java Beach Cafe, one block west, in 1993, and opened Beachside, which has one, at the end of August.  

The Irish breakfast sandwich ($6.95 small/$9.95 large), is manager Buffy Maguire’s triumph, a bap (a soft, flour-dusted bun), filled with black and white puddings (uncased sausage), hamlike bacon and grilled pork links, all imported from Ireland.

The meats are moistened with sliced grilled tomato and an over-easy fried egg with runny yolk. The balance is sublime, the satisfaction deep.  Beachside knows to serve this sandwich unceasingly, all day and night, as it does all the breakfast items.

Fried chicken and waffles are the wood-oven pizza of the moment. For those who want to try this rural Southern comfort food, Beachside makes tender Belgian waffles and tops them with spice-coated fried chicken ($7.75/$9.95) that has been pre-cooked but finished to order to develop a crunchy coating. Whipped butter and maple syrup unexpectedly taste just fine with the chicken.

My other favorite is the country sausage sandwich ($7/$9.75), a big, moist patty of house-made pork sausage slathered with sauteed peppers and onions, deglazed with a whisper of vinegar, piled into a bap liberally spread with mustardy mayonnaise. It’s a knockout.

Every Friday and Saturday night, starting about 6:30 p.m., Beachside’s experienced chef, Nick Patchen, cooks four special dinner items that change each week.

One night, a heaped plate of fried calamari drizzled with smoky pimenton aioli ($7) and a little gem salad ($5) in creamy, lemony vinaigrette, with big freestyle croutons, rivaled any in The City, at half the price.

His grilled, sliced hanger steak — draped over a dab of white bean puree, and scattered with roasted peppers and an herbal green Argentinian salsa textured with crisp bread crumbs ($14) — was stunning. It called for a generous pour of Poppy Pinot Noir ($8) in a thin wine glass. With warm apple crisp ($3.75) for dessert, this luscious meal was an unbelievable bargain.

Everyone orders at the counter. Bendable silverware comes rolled in thin brown paper napkins;  water self-poured into tiny plastic cups. The tables wobble. The long wooden banquette shakes whenever someone sits down. The front door lets in cool breezes and the enthusiastic staff could use a little more method.

But these quirks and inefficiencies only make Beachside more endearing to its many regulars. Like one big happy family, the floor staff, customers, cooks and owners mingle practically every day — and still love one another.

Patricia Unterman is the author of many editions of the “San Francisco Food Lovers’ Guide.” Contact her at

Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen

Location: 4300 Judah St. (at 48th Avenue), S.F.
Contact: (415) 682-4961
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays
Price range: $3.50 to $9.95; Friday and Saturday dinner $5 to $14
Recommended dishes: Irish breakfast sandwich, country sausage sandwich, fried chicken and waffles, Fuji apple coleslaw, apple crisp
Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa
Reservations: Not accepted; counter service, food to go

entertainmentFeaturesFood & DrinkFood and WineSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Roger Marenco, president of operators union TWU Local 250-A, speaks at a news conference outside the Muni Kirkland Yard announcing Muni will not be increasing fares on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s union leader encourages riders to say ‘thank you’ to their Muni operators

A conversation with Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 250A

San Francisco’s live music clubs have been closed for more than a year. (Twitter screenshot)
S.F. venue recovery fund begins accepting grant applications

Entertainment presenters may apply from April 21-May 5

Most Read