Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile

Explore Highway 94

In Campo, Calif., a unique view of the metal wall separating the United States and Mexico can be seen during a weekend ride on the San Diego and Arizona Railway, in restored cars. (Laura Randall/For The Washington Post)
A view of the metal wall bordering Mexico and California from the railway in Campo, CA.

There is so much history to discover regarding the Back Country of San Diego County. Some has been covered here on this site and on others as well.

In discovering the history at one time a newsletter was published dedicated to that history, The Back Country Messenger. It has moved on. Some copies still remain for posterity sake.

The copy I took the title from is the August 2007 edition. In searching the web I was unable to find the archive of this newsletter. However, I did discover an article published in the Washington Post in 2016.

In Campo

25 feet from the Mexican border, California’s Old West roots remain

By Laura Randall June 20, 2016

Laura recalls her trip with husband and children to Campo in this article. They traversed the Highway 94/Campo Rd path and visited many of the historical sites along the way.

Stopping here at the Barrett Junction Cafe to dine and enjoy the company of other diners who love our All You Can Eat Fish Dinners, otherwise known as “the fish fry.” Still served daily, except Mondays when we are closed.

The history of the southern border of California includes the military, where the Buffalo Soldiers patrolled and more than a few skirmishes were fought. The Stone Store Museum holds the breadth of the military history and the many skirmishes fought along this path.

You may read more of Laura’s Journey here.

All You Can Eat Fish Fry

Serving the Fish Fry since the 1940’s

Before the Cafe and the Quonset Hut, there sat a small white building that was once a General Store. It served the settlers of the Dulzura and Barrett area. Small and simple, a homestead sat here as well.

History continued to create change, the once dirt path where stage coaches traveled became one of the first cars sharing the road with horse and buggy. Settlers, military and native citizens shared in the history of this area.

It is told that in the 1920’s the Cafe was built, the addition to the general store. Small and serving the community with general merchandise and groceries, becoming a Cafe to serve various dishes of the times.

Everyone who has ever lived out here shares in the history, sharing their stories of living here and coming to the Cafe.

In the 1940’s the rodeos, dances, and fish fry began. Perhaps in that order or varied. The rodeos were held across the street from the Cafe while the dances were held where the Quonset hut now sits.

The fish fry was free and all you can eat, fresh caught, cleaned and cooked on site. The dances held in the dirt field. The Quonset hut was installed by the neighbors in the 1950’s. The county stopped the free fish fry and the fresh caught, mandating all fish is purchased and sold. (long story short)

Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile
1950’s Barrett Junction Cafe

Places to Visit

Most of the following historical landmarks and other venues on this page are also listed on our Places to Go page.

The Wineries on Highway 94

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum

Motor Transport Museum in Campo, this is where feldspar use to be manufactured for porcelain. The link is from the Roadtripper’s site.

Stay over night at the Jacumba Resort & Spa, famous for it’s hot springs. Jacumba has a rich history, movies stars and the rich use to vacation here.

Enjoy hand made chocolates at the Wisteria Candy Cottage in Boulevard.

This is a short list of places to visit in the San Diego Back Country along Highway 94. There are more places to camp, hang out, day hike and more.

Map of Southern California
Explore Highway 94.

Call us to reserve your space for your next gathering, club event, birthday, family reunion, or other events.

Do you have a story to share about life in the San Diego Back Country? A journey on Highway 94? Contact us and share your story, with permission to print here on the blog.