“When local restaurant owner Aaron Phillips heard about the restaurant’s closure, he knew he had to carry on the tradition,” said Kassandra “Kassie” Dague, Truckstop’s general manager. “Just like the rest of us, he’d eaten there innumerable times and always remembered it as the place around the corner where you could go get a great pancake breakfast and as much coffee as your heart desired.”
Dague said Phillips was determined to give disheartened locals a place to call home again.
“So he decided to open Truckstop, a no-fuss, no-frills eatery that still offers great taste and craft,” she said, noting Truckstop’s menu offers pancakes “as big as a pie” and benedicts “to repent for.”
Formerly a bartender, Phillips has since become a full-on restaurateur.
“I was a bartender in PB at 10 or 15 different bars, including Hennessey’s, Moondoggies and PB Bar & Grill,” said Phillips, who saved his money and bought his first establishment, The Wood (formerly Hooters) at 4190 Mission Blvd. about six years ago.
“I turned that around from losing money to doing fairly well,” said Phillips, claiming networking as his key to success.
“I brought along the best bartenders in town and trained a lot of new ones,” he said. His objective, he said, was to create “a friendly neighborhood vibe.”
“It’s all about the atmosphere, having good food and drinks and a friendly staff, people that care,” he said.
Phillips has since purchased and is operating the Red Saloon below The Wood, a country bar in a space that was once a fitness boxing gym.
Phillips also owns Woody’s Breakfast and Burgers (formerly Woody’s on the Boardwalk) at 4111 Ocean Blvd. in Mission Beach.
Approached by a beachfront landlord, who prefers to remain anonymous, about a business opportunity when The Eggery in the Promenade at Pacific Beach strip mall on Mission Boulevard became available, Phillips said he jumped at the chance. He bought The Eggery and finished out the summer before closing the last few weeks for remodeling.
Truckstop was chosen as the new name for the establishment, said Phillips, because he just wanted to “get something real American” in the name.
Promising to bring something new and different to Pacific Beach, Phillips said he intends to offer comfort food at Truckstop.
“It’s stuff your grandma makes,” Phillips said of offerings like braised short ribs and mashed potatoes with carrots and peas, fried chicken and sugar-and-spice salmon.
“It’s all-American cuisine,” he said. “It’s all stuff that makes you feel good like your grandma cooked it.”
Speaking of which, Phillips said his grandmother was a great cook whom he learned and borrowed from and whose recipes live on in Truckstop’s menu.
Dague pointed out the Truckstop menu is loaded with new flavors like a tri-tip skillet and a peanut butter and jelly French toast.
But Phillips decided to keep a few of the old favorites on the menu “as a tribute to The Eggery and so that the regulars had something familiar to come home to.”
Unlike The Eggery, Truckstop will be open for dinner, as well.
“Day by day, we can give Pacific Beach something new to talk about,” said Phillips. “Hopefully, the Truckstop will be another example of what a little elbow grease and a great menu can do for a place.”
The Truckstop is located at 4150 Mission Blvd. Call (858) 274-8785 for more information.