Subscribe to "Escondido Business Insight" for more stories like this delivered monthly to your inbox.

A New Breakfast Spot with a Southern Flair is Coming to Escondido

Inside Huckleberry’s Southern-themed restaurant.

Breakfast restaurants are a popular staple in San Diego County, yet many of them serve a traditional breakfast and brunch menu of eggs, pancakes and french toast. A new restaurant is coming to Escondido that will blend Southern comfort foods with a California twist. 

Huckleberry’s, which is slated to open sometime in early spring, is a new kind of breakfast and brunch eatery with a menu filled with Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes, sweet cream flapjacks, Mardi Gras beignets, stacked chicken and waffles, and the spicy Bayou chicken sandwich, along with some California-inspired dishes such as a California omelet and a California chicken sandwich. Huckleberry’s will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. 

Mardi Gras beignets (top) and stacked chicken and waffles (bottom) are menu favorites.

These Southern-inspired dishes are served in a Southern-themed atmosphere. Outside it looks like a warm, welcoming cabin with log-fenced and river rock pillared patios. Stepping inside, guests will feel like they are walking into a Southern landscape set in  weeping willow trees and warm, welcoming dining tables. The atmosphere is complete with the dancing lights of fireflies, and the sultry beats of Zydeco music playing in the background.

“The look and feel is a Mississippi Bayou atmosphere,” said owner Greg Graber, who is CEO of Heritage Restaurant Brands, the franchise brand that runs Huckleberry’s and other restaurant chains, Cool Hand Luke’s Steakhouse/Saloon and Perko’s Cafe Grill. Graber and his partners will own and operate the Escondido Huckleberry’s independent of the franchise. 

Huckleberry’s Southern-inspired theme was the brainchild of a man named Randy Brooks who grew up in Missouri and “wanted to bring his Southern-inspired dishes to California,” Graber said.

There are currently 23 Huckleberry restaurants throughout California including one in Reno, Nevada. The plan is to expand further into other states. One is scheduled to open soon in Austin, Texas. 

The Escondido location is the first in San Diego County. As an up-and-coming brand, Graber chose Escondido because he feels it has everything they are looking for in a city including business-positive atmosphere and family-friendly environment.

“Escondido, in my opinion, has all the trappings of a bigger city, but such a nice smaller-town feel,” Graber said. “The Chamber of Commerce and the folks at the city have all been really welcoming and wonderful.

Graber added that this is the exact location they were looking for as their first San Diego site and hopes to quickly become a community staple as well as a supporter of Escondido organizations and community events.

“I’m hoping that Huckleberry’s will be a source of pride for Escondido,” he said. 

Escondido Huckleberry’s owners from left to right: CFO Chip Anderson, VP of Marketing Reem Fahoum,, COO David Glennonand CEO Greg Graber.

Huckleberry’s is currently under construction just off Auto Park Way, in the mall near Planet Fitness and Dick’s Sporting Goods, an ideal location for diners looking for a meal off the state Route 78 and Interstate15.

Huckleberry’s is expected to bring 50-60 new jobs to Escondido. Hiring will begin when construction is near completion and about three-to-four weeks before opening. New hires will be required to complete a 7-10 day onboarding and training process before opening day. New team members will include servers, hostesses, bussers and cooks.

“We call our service style Southern hospitality,” Graber said. 

Making customers feel connected to the place is essential  to Southern hospitality as well as a dose of Southern charm and friendliness. The brand motto is “charming people with a genuine desire to serve.”

Graber has already hired a general manager to help oversee the development of the restaurant and prepare for the new hires. 

“We thought it was important to hire someone local who knows the area,” he said.

He is currently training and getting firsthand knowledge of the restaurant and its requirements, including that the kitchen is properly staffed and run.

“We call it the heart of the house,” Graber said. 

Heritage Restaurant Brands launched in 2016 in San Luis Obispo and has been growing steadily since that time. The core team all come from the restaurant business and their franchise model is built to help owners grow and succeed. Their business strategy includes giving new franchise owners the tools to help them build. These tools include marketing information, training help, vendor/distribution support, menu development, planning design and more. 

For investors, Huckleberry’s has a total investment range of $332,000 to $1,477,000 and an annual net accumulated unit value (AUV) of $1.74 million.

In 2022, the organization plans to open 8-10 new locations throughout the U.S. 

“We will probably do more restaurants in San Diego, but Escondido will always be the first,” Graber said.