Barrett Junction Cafe History
The Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile is the historical cornerstone in the peaceful unincorporated valley known as Barrett Junction and a part of the Dulzura community; East of San Diego, California, on state highway 94.
The property was a homestead in the 1800’s , turned commercial in 1915, got larger in the 1920’s and 30’s with an improved café and motor court , and became the premier, Friday night fish fry house in San Diego County after the 2nd world war (1946). Standing room only! The crowds are smaller today but the World Famous Fish Fry lives on and enjoyed by all that care to dine on deep fried cod.
Highway 94 is the updated version of the stage coach line. The original mercantile is still standing, it is the small white cottage. A porch was added with a few tables set around to hang out and enjoy your lunch or dinner.
The Saloon was established and added to the building in 1947. The Quonset hut was add to accommodate the larger crowds attending the free dances and fish fry. The field across the street from the cafe was used for rodeos..
During the 1950’s when Vi worked at the Barrett Lake, she would bring home catfish for Bill (Avril) to serve at the Cafe. It was into the 1960s when the county told them they could not serve fish that was not pre-inspected, that they began purchasing random types of fresh fish at the fish market in San Diego and preparing them across the street continuing to serve the all you can eat. By the late ’60s they began serving cod and only indoors, due to the county regulations.
The current owner, Leon Herzog, purchased Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile in 2000 and has continued with the Famous Fish Fry.
Leon introduced his favored barbecue pork ribs to the Cafe menu. As he did the pulled pork sandwiches. The barbecue is prepared on Saturdays. Usually done by 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
The Mercantile continues to grow as does the Cafe & Bar. When you walk through the building your eyes will be fed with the many amazing antiques, collectibles, deer heads, pictures, and much more.
In the large dining room there use to be a larger than life statue of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley to greet you.
The Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile recognized by California as the Small Business of the Year of District 40 in 2009. It is an honor to receive this award. Only 78 businesses were selected out of 3.5 million in the state of California. We thank you our customers, without you this would not have been possible.
P.S. You don’t own Barrett, you Live Barrett with its pioneer ways.