300 Pier View Way, Oceanside
‘GIT N ’ERE:”
That’s what the sign says, so why not? I’ve got time before the Coaster.
That sign’s under another that reads “Pierview Pub.” But inside, a big neon sign above the bar reads “Bub’s.”
“That’s ’cause it’s also Bub’s Whiskey Dive,” says a guy on a stool. “It’s an all-U-can-eat place, as well.”
“Wow,” I say. “All you can eat?”
“Sure, if you like peanuts.”
Everyone laughs. Oh, right…now I see the floor’s strewn with peanut shells. There’re buckets of them for free, tempting you to start an afternoon of cracking, chewing, and drinkin’.
Guess I may as well sit down. Get to talking to this big guy in a pork pie hat. Turns out he’s part of Oceanside’s Economic Development Commission. Ward O’Doherty.
“We’re working on changing our image,” he says. “We never get respect from the rest of the county. Like, we’ve got Genentech here, the world’s second-largest biotech company, but who knows about it? Not that we want to change Oceanside. What it has is special. We’re totally committed to the mom-and-pop businesses. They’re the soul of Oceanside.”
I’m listening to Ward, but I’m a bit distracted. One, I’m hungry, and for more than peanuts. And, two, a moment ago I was so busy staring at the “Bub’s” sign that I missed a big ol’ step dropping the bar down six inches. Man. Recovered just in the nick of time and saved my face by a nose.
“The step? This is how it always was,” says the barman. “Place has been open going on 50, 60 years. So, what’ll it be?”
I ask for a Sprite ($1.50). Gotta work tonight. Plus, I’m really looking for food.
“Do you have any?” I ask.
“Just the peanuts,” says the barman.
“But if you go across the road,” the guy sitting next to Ward says, “they have really good sandwiches there.”
“What’s it called?”
“Pier View Coffee.”
“Same people as here?”
“No. Just happen to be on the same street.”
Okay, hard to tear myself away from the cacahuates and the company. But the stomach rules. Gotta survive the hour’s voyage to the southlands.
So, now we’re on the other side of Pier View Way. And, more signs.
“Caution: step up!”
“Watch your step!”
“Caution: Step down.”
The signs glare at you all around the entrance. This is at Pier View Coffee. “Pier View” is two words here, I see. Turns out they have a step problem, too: you have to step up to get inside. A lot of folks must’ve tripped, because I count seven red-and-white signs around the entrance.
Turns out this building is more than 100 years old. It was built in 1908 as a pioneering dry goods store, one of the first stores in downtown Oceanside. But Marysol, the gal behind the counter, says it was empty seven years ago when a father-and-son team, Tom and Matt Bayer, bought it and turned it into this coffee-and-sandwich place.
Wow, 1908. You don’t think of Oceanside as old. Except, oh yeah, Carla says she had forebears up near here in Vista as early as the 1850s.
No surprise that the inside is cavernous. But bright. Yellow walls (plus some dark red) with big art, and Victorian red ruffles over the windows. And large black-and-white pics of historical Oceanside.
Guys — military from Camp Pendleton, I’m betting, just from their haircuts — are drinking coffee and yakking, or, mostly, hunkered over their laptops in big ol’ comfy chairs. At the window counter, a tutor’s trying to teach a gal math. She’s throwing longing glances out the window, like, When will this be over?
“What’s Y minus zero?” he asks.
Sam Cooke wails a classic song on the sound system: “That’s the sound of the men, working on the chain…gang…”
The Metrolink roars past, honking its way into Oceanside from L.A.
I get a coffee ($1.75 for a 12-ounce) from the guy at the counter, Rob. Then I check the menu board on the wall.
They have salads, like grilled chicken at $7.45; you can add a bowl of soup for another dollar. Soups — today’s is Tomato Florentine — go for $2.95 for small, $3.95 for large.
But the main deal here is sandwiches. Most expensive is the Beach Club at $7.95. It’s got ham, turkey, and bacon, plus lettuce and tomato on whole wheat. The cheapest is awesome: a peanut-butter-and-jam sandwich for $1. Man, tempted by that. Second cheapest? Grilled cheese on ciabatta, $4.95. The rest (which means most of them) are $6.95. The BLT, the Oceansider (grilled chicken and Swiss), the BBQ chicken breast, the Ocean Rancher (turkey and bacon), the Pier View Special (turkey and Swiss), and the Victorian (ham and cheddar).
Okay. We have a decision. I go for the BBQ chicken breast with “Sweet Baby Ray’s” BBQ sauce on ciabatta. Plus, I get a Pier View Special to take back to the lovely Carla. This gal Sabrina, who’s sitting outside with her kids and her mom, said that was the best one.
Take my BBQ chicken breast to a window table. Mmm…BBQ sauce is nice and sweet, the red onions point up the sauce, and that’s one thick chunk of chicken they’ve wedged inside. Also, the ciabatta bread is tender, crisp.
The turkey, when I get it south to Carla, untouched, is good. I beg some, just to see what it’s like…I mean, yes, pretty standard stuff, but good, healthy, and filling.
My only regret? That I didn’t free up another dollar for some tomato soup to combine with the sandwich.
Already planning next time: Start off in the Pier View for chow, then head over to Pierview — Bub’s pub — for some Oceanside Aleworks strong ale, and for sure I’ll shuck a few peanuts, then back here again for coffee, then off to the Coaster.
At all times, watching my step.
- The Place: Pier View Coffee Co, 300 Pier View Way, Oceanside, 760-966-1150
- Prices: Breakfast sandwich (with egg, sausage, cheddar), $3.95 ($4.95 after 11:00 a.m.); grilled chicken salad, $7.45; soups of the day, $2.95 (small), $3.95 (large); Beach Club sandwich (ham, turkey, bacon), $7.95; grilled-cheese sandwich, $4.95; The Oceansider (grilled chicken, Swiss), $6.95; Ocean Rancher (turkey, bacon), $6.95; Pier View Special (turkey, Swiss), $6.95; sonic screwdriver; peanut butter and jam, $1
- Hours: 6:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m., daily (till 10:00 p.m. Saturday)
- Buses: 101, 302, 303, 313, 318, 395
- Trains: Sprinter, Coaster, Metrolink, Amtrak
- Nearest Train Stop: Oceanside Transit Center
- Nearest Bus Stop: Oceanside Transit Center