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The Coast News

Restaurant is a Trip to a Better Time

David BoylanWe all have our time travel fantasies, and one of my top five favorites would be to transport back to pre-1975 Encinitas when people like Bobby Cardosa ran establishments like Fish House West (where Yogi’s is today) in Cardiff and where buying fresh fish from the last of the Cardiff Dorymen was still in practice.

Pure, old school Cardiff with the fresh fish purchased right off the beach — sounds like a great time to be around these parts to me.

Bobby went on to open Fish House West Seafood Products on 2nd and I streets in Encinitas and the first Peabody’s in Mission Valley in 1995.

His daughter Brie started working with him in 1999 and has been a partner since 2005 and runs the day-to-day operations at their current Encinitas location.

I love places rooted in the community like that. These are not restaurant carpetbaggers, popping into town and claiming to capture the local vibe. These people have been around and survived, which is saying something in the restaurant world.

The fact that Mr. Peabody’s is not easy to find (being tucked in an Encinitas strip mall between a laundromat and a dentist’s office) yet is full on a regular basis, is another sign that they must be doing something right.

It’s an old school bar and restaurant that features some of the area’s best live entertainment which can vary, depending on the night.

On a recent visit around dinnertime, the crowd was plenty diverse with a mix of after work people at the bar, young hipsters in for the solid happy hour food specials and a smattering of older folks enjoying fish and chips and the very reasonably priced rib eye steak.

There is nothing fancy about this place and that’s kind of refreshing. I felt like I was walking into a bar in the Midwest with shuffleboard, a good jukebox, live music and super friendly staff.

Mr. Peabody’s turns into a lively bar scene later in the evening but the full kitchen stays open until 10 p.m. with a limited kitchen until midnight. The fare coming out of the kitchen is solid and satisfying. We started with the fried artichoke hearts and homemade potato soup. The soup was hearty enough to be a meal in itself with bacon sprinkled on top and big chunks of potato in a creamy base. All the starters are below $8.

I took my son Quinn to this one as he is an eating machine and we wanted to sample as much as possible. We went for the fish sandwich, which was crisply Alaskan cod on a nice fresh bun with a side of fries. The prime dip sandwich is Peabody’s take on the classic French dip and it’s quite good with thin sliced prime rib, pepper jack cheese, Ortega chili served on a ciabatta roll and au jus for dipping.

That was $11.99 but most of the sandwiches are under $8 and they have daily sandwich specials for $5.99 with a side. I should also mention the $9.99 prime rib dinner on Friday and Saturday. And of course the $13.99 rib eye is a great value, was cooked perfectly, and came with a choice of several sides.

The locals there that night said the burgers and fish and chips were what brought them back on a regular basis, so I will make it a point to get back soon to sample those. You can’t go wrong with a half-pound burger for $6.99. Breakfast on the weekends looks equally enticing with a steak and eggs special featuring that rib eye plus a great looking selection of scrambles. Mr. Peabody’s sources their tortillas, buns, and a good portion of their menu ingredients locally and many of the dishes on the menu are made in house from scratch and the portions are hearty.

They are open for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. Live music is featured Thursday through Saturday and karaoke Sunday night. Check out their menu and band lineup online at Mr. Peabody’s is at 136 Encinitas Blvd.

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