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Cappy’s Café Celebrates 40 Years of Serving Fun Food and Fond Memories

Photo by Cappy’s Cafe/Chris Trela

Restaurants come and go. Food trends change. You might say that the only thing permanent in the food service industry is change.

Surviving over 20 years is amazing. Few local restaurants can match his 55+ year track record at Five Crowns, but there are a few that have been in business for decades.

One of them is Cappy’s Café on the Coast Highway. This is a long-standing local landmark that has been serving hearty breakfasts and delicious lunches for 40 years.

Owners Cheryl and Tim Campbell celebrated Cappy’s service to the community in October with a ribbon-cutting event attended by Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley and a special anniversary menu featuring 40 Cent items. We officially celebrated 40 years.

Cheryl and Tim know their restaurant is essentially a time machine for many of their fans. They bring their children and grandchildren to Cappy’s to keep the restaurant’s legacy alive.

Tim and Sheryl Campbell

According to Tim, he and his wife purchased Cappy’s four years ago after running a seafood wholesaler and seafood restaurant in Hawaii. Tim also has his 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry.

Tim and Cheryl decided to return to the mainland and settled in Corona del Mar. “I’m more of a CEO, and I’ve learned a lot. I told my wife that I love this business and want to buy a restaurant, but there are some criteria.”

Some of the criteria include being close to where they lived, preferably on the Coast Highway, being profitable and not a turnaround restaurant.

“I wanted something with a good reputation, and I wanted stability in the staff,” said Tim. “I wanted to know that the staff behind the house and the front of the house would be there for a long time. I did.”

He spoke with a broker who showed him some restaurant options, although Tim didn’t think it was a good fit until one broker told him there was a potential spot that wasn’t on the market. , I spoke with the owner to see if they would be interested in selling it.

Its owner was David Dukes. The restaurant was Cappy’s.

Cappy Interior / Photo by Chris Trela

“He said he was interested, but he wanted to meet me to ensure he had an experience of what I was doing. He had his vision to take Cappy’s to the next level.” “I met with him, signed the deal, and in four months we got the deal. It was the best thing we’ve ever done.”

Once Tim and Cheryl owned the restaurant, they repainted it and updated the menu. What Tim said was that the menu itself needs to be updated, not necessarily the food. They took pictures of popular menu items and added them to the menu. They replaced slow-selling dishes with new ones, but Tim knew there were many items that would never leave the menu.

According to Tim, they wanted to know how the experience could be enhanced.

“It’s invisible,” said Tim. “The restaurant was so loud on the weekends that we couldn’t even talk. I like it, the staff is friendly, that’s the culture.”

Veggie skillet

Tim estimates that Cappy’s serves about 120,000 customers each year. Many of them are longtime regulars who bring their daughters and grandchildren to experience Cappy’s food and atmosphere.

“Our executive chef has been here for 25 years, our busboy has been here for 22 years, and our one waitstaff, Lindsay, has been here for 12 years,” says Tim. “Many people have been here for a long time. Because of that stability, the food is consistent.”

Cappy’s is open daily from 8am to 2pm. Tim tried to create his menu for weekend dinners, but found that customers preferred daytime dining, so evening service was gone.

“People know us for breakfast and lunch, not dinner, after all,” Tim said.

Tim also listens to his customers. One longtime diner loved the cinnamon swirl French toast and told him he had seen it at other restaurants.

cinnamon swirl french toast

“I added it to our menu and it’s now a bestseller,” said Tim.

Maybe so, but I loved the veggie skillet with scrambled eggs, avocado, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and cheddar over seasoned potatoes. , It’s a very hearty dish that I definitely want to make for breakfast every time.

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