Asked the reason for his longevity, founder/owner John Gelastopolous replied “Our guest-centric focus. We make [guests] feel the same way you would make your friends feel when they come to your house.”
A Greek immigrant who came to the U.S. at age 17, Gelastopolous worked his way up from being a dishwasher. He started Broken Yolk in 1979 in the Midway District, before moving his original restaurant to its present location at 1851 Garnet Ave.
There are now 34 Broken Yolks – 15 in San Diego – scattered through California and other states including Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Nevada.
Broken Yolk’s marketing director, Lisa Erickson, talked about the restaurant’s month-long 40th-anniversary observance.
“Through May 31, we’re having 40 days of giveaways, one every day, with everything themed around 40,” she said. “We’re picking people to win breakfasts for two and $40 gift cards.”
The celebration is carrying over to the menu.
“On May 21-22, we’re adding four breakfast and one lunch item – American breakfast, a short stack of buttermilk pancakes, classic eggs Benedict, a hash skillet and our ‘famous’ club sandwich – to the menu, all of which will cost $4.44. We’re also doing coffee at 40 cents and $4 mimosas on those days.”
There’s even a third component to the month-long celebratory discounts.
“We’re having a golden pancake promotion for everyone who is part of our reward card program, which they can sign up for until May 20 online or in-person,” Erickson said. “We’re going to select a winner at all of our 34 locations, and the winners will get free pancakes for a year, 52 short stacks, one every week.”
Gelastopolous characterized his menu as “traditional with some trendy stuff.”
“Our omelets are all with four eggs and we now have seven Benedicts. We’re always innovating. You’ve got to keep up with the times because things change,” he said. “That’s the key to longevity: You’ve got to be ahead of the curve.”
The restaurateur also credits has staff for the eatery’s longevity and success. “We’re in the people business,” Gelastopolous said. “It’s not just me. It’s everybody. I have employees who supported me. You’ve got to embrace those people. They’ve got to feel good for them to do well, and for the guests to be happy. Now we are in the circle where everybody’s happy.”
Asked what distinguishes him from other breakfast places, Gelastopolous replied: “Most cater to special niches. We cater to everybody, teens to 80s. That helps us with our longevity.”
Will Broken Yolk continue to expand? Gelastopolous thinks so, noting, “Everybody eats eggs for breakfast.”