Crest Cafe – San Diego (Hillcrest)

Crest Cafe - San Diego

Whenever I stumble upon a promising recipe that highlights cinnamon or raspberries, I immediately forward it to The Astronomer. If it’s an insightful piece on quinoa, my friend Diana is the lucky recipient. And a feature on the wonders of woopie pies or Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is sure to land in my friend Laurie‘s inbox. The food-lovers in my life each have their own special passions, and I feel that it is my duty to treat their eyes and ears to the tastiest recipes and latest literature on the subject.

Crest Cafe - San Diego

When I came across an article about Crest Cafe‘s Butter Burger on A Hamburger Today, I wasted no time posting the link onto my cousin Jimmy’s Facebook wall. For as long as I can remember, Jimmy has inhaled sticks of butter with enthusiasm. During family feasts of bò nướng vĩ, Jimmy always sat next to the butter dish. Every time he added another stick into the sizzling brasserie, his face lit up with great joy. Knowing his penchant for the pale yellow stuff, it came as no surprise when Jimmy replied back with, “let’s go!”

The Astronomer, Jimmy, and I rolled to Hillcrest on my most recent trip to San Diego to taste the famed Butter Burger. We arrived at the colorful diner hours after the lunch crowd had departed.

Crest Cafe - San Diego

Jimmy stepped up to the plate and ordered the Butter Burger ($10.25), whose centerpiece was a half pound beef patty stuffed with garlic herb butter (tarragon, basil, and parsley). Following a hot minute under the broiler, the burger was topped with additional butter for extra flavor and richness. Cheddar cheese and a spicy garlic mayonnaise offered the final flourishes. And because Jimmy’s gluttony knows no bounds, he requested slices of bacon to top it all off.

Crest Cafe - San Diego

The onion bun from local bakery Sadie Rose did a valiant job keeping the hefty package together. Slightly pink in the center, the patty tasted phenomenally juicy from the butter marrying with the meat. Jimmy’s only regret was requesting bacon on his burger because it distracted from the meat’s subtle unctuous and herbaceous notes. Next time he’s sticking with the chef’s vision.

Crest Cafe - San Diego

The Astronomer was in a burger mood as well. His featured a heap of onion strings piled atop a medium patty, strips of bacon, and cheddar cheese. Barbecue sauce was served on the side for his smothering pleasure. The burger wasn’t as one-of-a-kind as Jimmy’s, but perfectly satisfying nevertheless. The onion strings’ crunch and sweetness did the burger right. The fries on the side were great too.

Crest Cafe - San Diego

Knowing that there’d be plenty of beefy goodness to mooch off, I opted for the Orange Marmalade French Toast ($7.25). I’m always seeking out decadent French toast experiences, and this one didn’t let me down. The poofs of bread were stuffed with an unbeatable combination of cream cheese, marmalade, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The orange syrup and whipped butter on the side were nice touches, but completely unnecessary when served with the stuffage.

We’re planning on heading back to Crest Cafe this holiday season when Jimmy’s brothers are in town. The magic of butter burgers needs to be shared.

Crest Cafe
425 Robinson Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-295-2510

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5 Responses to “Crest Cafe – San Diego (Hillcrest)”


  • Hi, Cathy! I must be distantly related to Jimmy because I can eat butter straight – no bread, no crackers, nothin’! My dad is also a butter fiend. Anyway, I am definitely bookmarking Crest Cafe. Just like the beautiful pat of melting butter tucked inside a Pappa Rich bun, this burger calls to me w/its buttery seductiveness. Butter inside and on top — genius!

  • Oh. My. God. I want all of them. Now. I’m seriously salivating. I think making stuffed marmalade french toast is in my future.

    Side note, but my grandmother (born in Spain, raised in PR) used to eat sticks of butter when she was little. The image haunts me to this day.

  • I will light a candle for Jimmy’s arteries next time I’m at church! And light one for my own cuz I’m hitting Crest up next time I’m down south, south.

  • wow. i have a cousin that use to lick butter sticks like they were ice-cream. he would literally peel off the wrapping and then lick. i have a jimmy-like cousin as well.

    i looovveee onion strings on my burger!

  • Hahaha, ding ding ding, you nailed the head on the donkey with that quinoa call! If I had a dollar for every quinoa recipe someone has sent me…

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