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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

Rudford's Diner

San Diego’s Rudford’s shiny steel diner is a classic, open 7 days a week and 24 hours a day since 1949.

After opening those glass and steel doors in the 1940’s, original owner Tommy Rudford quickly established a loyal clientele with personal touches including presenting you with a donut with a candle in it if it was your birthday. LOVE! Tommy was very involved in his community, even running for mayor in the late 1940’s- donuts for everyone!!!

After Tommy passed away in the early 1970’s, his daughters continued to run the diner for another decade, before selling to new owners.

The retro feeling of Rudford's remains, with its blue leather booths and counter seating and so. much. stainless steel.

My favourite part of visiting Rudford's was when our waitress refilled our coffee cups at the speed of light with the words “coffee coming in”!

There is one single image of Rudford's that catapults it from cool retro diner, to a must visit piece of history, and that is an incredible image of President John F Kennedy waving to the crowd from his motorcade as he passes Rudford's on June 6th, 1963, just 169 days before his tragic death.

(The image also shows that the Rudford's exterior has not changed a dot since that day.)

Rudford's celebrates this image with a 6 x 12-foot enlargement of it on the side of their building. It also features on their menus.

When we visited Rudford's in 2023 I ordered a bowl of oatmeal - it came with butter, milk, brown sugar and raisins, and cost $2.50. That’s good shopping!

Sidebar: Rudford's also has something called “The Big Nick”. From a distance it looks like an eight-story meat and cheese filled hamburger - like- a hamburger made of six hamburgers. Anyway - if you can eat one in half an hour your meal will be free and you’ll go on to the wall of winners - we did not accept the challenge. Please tell us all about it if you do.


Southern California #144 -last visited August 2023

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