Restaurant Review: “Denny’s – I Hardly Knew Ye”

by on September 18, 2011 · 24 comments

in Popular, San Diego, The Widder Curry

I have had some good meals in Ocean Beach recently.  “SHADES”, “NATI’S”, “OB NOODLE HOUSE,” “OB BBQ”, etc.

Tonight some friends and I decided to go to the “Village” for dinner, only to find at 6:15pm it was closed. It was suggested that we try Denny’s on Rosecrans for a fast and relatively inexpensive meal.

The first table we were shown was quite wet, so we asked for another one. Although it was wet too, the greeter came back with a handful of paper towels and dried the table.

We unwrapped our silverware only to find that one spoon was dirty; and one fork looked like it had been used to pry a hub-cap off of a tire.  We set them aside to exchange them later.

There were two menu’s.  One was the regular menu; the other one was a “cheesy” menu.  On one of the pages was this promo:

“Mac ‘n Cheese – Get an EXTRA (caps by the author) side of comfort. Select our NEW Mac ’n Cheese as your side choice with any entrée at no additional charge.”

The waitress, Rebecca, came to get our drink order. It was a new drink – “Island Splash” – that we decided upon.  It consisted of pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and lemonade.  It was served to us in a cold glass without any ice.

I ordered fish and chips, and coleslaw. I asked for the EXTRA side of Mac ‘n Cheese.  The waitress asked me which of the sides I was getting – chips and/or coleslaw – did I want to exchange for the Mac ‘n Cheese.  I said I read the promo as an EXTRA side and did not want to exchange anything. She said if I wanted the Mac it would cost extra.  Hmmm.  I didn’t want it in the first place, and, in fact, would be giving it to the person with me.

Midway through the meal I realized that my drink was warming up. I had to ask her to bring me some ice.  (It should be pointed out that there were free refills with the drinks.  We were never asked if we wanted any more; and the ice was brought to us in little glasses.)

We asked to have clean silverware, and when the napkin wrapped silverware was opened, there was another dirty spoon.

When the order came the fish was so hard that I could barely cut it; the fries were only warm.
The coleslaw was good, and the garlic bread was tasty.

While waiting for the check – which I had to stand up to get the attention of the waitress – my companion went into the men’s room, where he almost slipped because of the water on the floor – let’s hope it was water -. He also said that the water was so hot that he almost burned himself. He was unable to cool it down with the cold water.  It was only when the waitress brought me the check that she asked if we wanted any dessert.

The fish and chips had a price tag of $9.69 on it; the drinks were $2.89.  For that money I could have had a wonderful meal at SHADES and enjoyed it.

I seldom every go to Denny’s.  I doubt if I will ever return.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy September 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

You may have better luck at the Denny’s on Midway, which is where we like to go
for breakfast. Sure doesn’t sound like you had a good time at the Rosecrans location.


judi curry September 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

We were on our way to the Midway location but decided the Rosecrans Denny’s probably wouldn’t be as crowded. Wrong choice!


Presly Deen Hollingsworth September 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Gave up on Denny’s years ago, Ms. Curry. For many years, it was the reliable roadside food for me, but my last experience in Houston ended that. I am talking GREASE CITY! But I had a lot of good meals & fun hanging at the various Denny’s around San Diego. I will not ever forget Wolfie’s little European Cottage (or whatever it’s name was) with the German chef. I’ll long remember sitting frozen with fear at Jack in the Box in OB while the police cuffed & dragged out the staff -the car full of us totally blasted on Orange Sunshine.


judi curry September 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Hey, Presly, do you remember the Denny’s in OB? Where Rite-Aid is now? That used to be the best show in town – after 2:00am.


OB Mercy September 18, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hey Judi, The Harp on Newport keeps getting voted best Fish & Chips on the Peninsula, that’s the one I’m going to try next. Gave up on Dennys many years ago. And by OB BBQ, I’m sure you meant the The BBQ House on Newport. I had to correct because it’s my fave place to eat bbq here!


judi curry September 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

You are right. It is the BBQ House. As an “Irishwoman” – I will try the Harp soon!
Thanks for the heads-up.


Goatskull September 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Fish and chips at the Harp ARE pretty good tho I still love the fish tacos from Southbeach.


annagrace September 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Denny’s in North Park on El Cajon Blvd was THE after the bars close scene back in our salad days (1990’s) . After a night of dancing and all around partying, we would settle down to a Grand Slam Breakfast, which was cheap at the time, in the company of a truly motley crew of late night revelers who packed the house and stood outside waiting, smoking bidi’s etc. The lighting was garish, the waiters and waitresses looked like people from a different planet- subdued, drab & attentive- while the raucous customers were dressed in different shades of black or amazing odd color combinations starting with their hair and ending with their toe nails. (Off the subject somewhat- I heard that a freak wind and ran storm required closing the restaurant and there was no lock on the door- it was open 24 hours, never closed. Imagine that! ) These days, if I’m still awake at 2:30 am Saturday night, milk of magnesia comes to mind more often than a Grand Slam, so I have no idea whether that particular Denny’s still jumps and writhes.

When redevelopment came to City Heights, and an Urban Village was planned, there was no allowance made for any of the really good restaurants that were displaced or existed within the redevelopment area. The urban village ushered in Panda Inn, McDonald’s, Starbuck’s and Denny’s. I was really distressed to see a Denny’s instead of the wonderful Ahn Hong Vietnamese restaurant that used to be there. The reality is that many of my neighbors were not distressed.

Many people felt that our community had received full recognition of worthiness by having nationally recognized chain restaurants set up business here. We had arrived at that golden shore- of something! I’ve gone to our local Denny’s on University Ave. a couple of times, and have found that the Grand Slam breakfast is not inexpensive and doesn’t taste nearly as good as when I was dancing and drinking for many hours prior to my late night meal. For some of my City Heights friends, dining there is a sign of City Heights loyalty. City Heights residents work there, and employment is certainly a good thing. When a highly regarded City Heights resident who was a waitress at Denny’s was murdered (but not while at work), a few years back, it was a deeply felt tragedy among us.

It was eye opening for me to understand the significance of a Denny’s here in City Heights. I am truly glad we have one in our community. That being said, I choose Cafe Dore, for its magnificent paté chaud and Vietnamese sandwiches, and El Borrego, for the lamb mixote and beautiful tamales. Chacun à son goût!


dave rice September 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I spent many a night at “Punk Rawk Dennys,” named as such for the tag someone scrawled on the door at the Fletcher/Navajo location in El Cajon sometime in the mid-nineties. But aside from hangover food when there are no alternatives, I’ve sworn off visits to the chain due to my dad’s forcing about fifty too many $1.99 Breakfast Slams down my throat as a kid taking road trips across the Southwest in the late ’80s.


annagrace September 19, 2011 at 7:42 am

How funny Dave! I have no recall of any menu choice other than the $1.99 Grand Slam Breakfast. I was seriously taken back with Judi’s review of other food stuffs! Fish- no kidding????


dave rice September 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Bonus: after spending the evening getting stupid tattoos (I got a ridiculous tribal band around my leg, my ex-wife and her best friend got tramp stamped, and another buddy got his name in olde English across his shoulders) we retired to Denny’s – where we met up with the whole staff of the tattoo parlor we’d just come from and laughed about what idiots we were for our choices in body art.

Double bonus: the friend who got his last name tattooed was named Stevens. Being the homophobe that he was, we had endless fun applying an apostrophe with a Sharpie to his back whenever he passed out drunk and shirtless until he moved out of state.


butch September 20, 2011 at 8:35 am




thinking out loud September 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

Well you went to Dennys what did you EXPECT ? Roys ?
A lot of wasted words ..If you really want to review restaurants try places that actually have merit.


mr fresh September 19, 2011 at 9:34 am

ooooo! let’s extend our pinkies for ‘thinking out loud’ and petition the editors of this publication to get some ‘real food’ criticism here… on the other hand, there are lots of comments on this story, so it must have struck a nerve.


doug porter September 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

I remember eating the Denny’s “Patty Melt” at the (long gone) OB location. I can still taste it every time I get heartburn, 40 years later. Now that’s what I call ‘stick to your ribs!”


mr.rick September 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

Speaking of Denny’s. Back around around ’71 or ’72 I developed a scam around Denny’s. After being told on by some guy’s fresh out of the NTC when they got popped with some of the pot I’d sold them,I knew I’d have to come up with a new hustle. So, I’d just take them to Denny’s and vanish out the back door with the money. Which might not be a nice thing to do to some one, but it isn’t against the law.


mr.rick September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

If any of you old timers fell for my scam, I would like to take this oppertunity to apologize.


Outlaw September 19, 2011 at 10:50 am

There was a new Denny’s that opened in Vista across the street from the Vista Entertainment Center. I’ve never tried their Mac and Cheese (or have eaten there at lunch, or dinner), but their breakfast is good.


unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG September 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Once upon a time we used to visit the Denny’s on Friar’s Rd. after closing the old Big Daddy’s on Mission Center Rd., where Confetti was in the 80’s. The service was notoriously slow, & so one night I left my group at the table & stepped over to the pay phones in the hallway by the restrooms. I called Domino’s & talked a guy into delivering a pizza to the Denny’s. I bet him a great tip if he could get to the restaurant w/ our pizza before our food arrived at the table. The delivery guy won, but he had a tough time w/ the manager while trying to deliver. I made my point, but the service never improved. We all ate the pizza & the Denny’s breakfast that night!


annagrace September 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm



Marilyn Steber September 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Funny. This was the Denny’s where my girlfriends and I went to meet with a huge man and his pals we’d met out dancing. He gave his name for when a table came open. A very deep voice: Leroy.
We got served pretty quick. He was one of the massive front four Charger in that day: Leroy Jones.
I have no idea what I ordered. 8-)


judi curry September 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

After yesterday’s Charger game, we could use those four Chargers today, regardless of what you – or they – ate!


unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG September 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Leroy Jones played for the Chargers & used to hang out at the Radisson Hotel in Mission Valley in the mid-80’s. I think he drank gin ‘n tonic in a bucket. Hank Bauer was there sometimes as well as others like Fred Dean of the 49ers. I shook hands w/ Leroy once & my whole hand disappeared into a paw the size of a catcher’s mitt. Nice guy, though.


judi curry September 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Had the same sensation with my hand when I shook Jr. Seau’s hand. We could sure use those guys now. I’d supply the bucket; in fact, I’d supply the gin ‘n tonic!


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