With a minimalist white exterior, Clayton’s Coffee Shop is be pretty easy to miss. But bypassing this gem would be a huge mistake. Don’t just assume it’s your standard coffee shop – Clayton’s, a relic from the 50’s, is more of an old school diner than Starbucks. Round stools circle the main bar where you can watch staff prepare delicious milkshakes. On one side a glass cabinet displays mouthwatering pies. Behind the counter is a old-fashioned till (the tall kind where you have to punch numbers in manually), which towers over most of the servers. Don’t fancy the bar? Chose one of the red pleather booths that circles the exterior of this relatively small and cosy establishment, that comes complete with buzzing atmosphere and soundtrack of The Beatles and Little Richard chosen by customers via the tabletop jukeboxes for the cost of a few cents.
This whetting your appetite? I haven’t even got to the incredible food! We visited for breakfast; John chose the waffles with berries, while I had French toast with maple syrup. Both were full of flavour and the portions sizes were more than generous (let’s just say we felt a little bit self-conscious of our stomachs when we hit the beach later that morning!). Later in the week we made a return visit for late-night milkshakes (chocolate brownie for me, strawberry for John), a highly recommended alternative to finishing your night in a bar! You can also get main meals here, which the reviews on TripAdvisor suggest are equally as tasty. And it’s great value too – at the time of visiting, all menu items were under $9.
For a well-priced, great tasting food in a genuinely friendly atmosphere, Clayton’s cannot be beaten. And judging by TripAdvisor and the clientele we encountered there, the locals agree – a sure sign that this is a must-visit venue. Just make sure you’re there at a reasonable hour; we got seated immediately at between 10 and 11, but it’s a small place and queues were building soon afterwards. (You probably won’t encounter this problem if you go for a late night milkshake, mind.) Though if you do encounter a queue, it’s well worth waiting in it; Clayton’s was probably my favourite eating experience in California.