Sunday, July 8th | Rail Side Cafe | 322 S. San Dimas Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773
The Rail Side Cafe in San Dimas is near one of those “village walk at fill-in-the-blank-town-near-you” new condo complexes, and, as such, it’s part of a relatively new mixed-use strip mall of supporting businesses. Looked at though the lens of urban sprawl, the Rail Side is entirely unremarkable. Its small menu features some paninis with various meets and cheeses, sandwiches much the same, and a few breakfast offerings (pancakes, waffles, bagels). It’s not so different than Wahfles in La Verne … and note: Wahfles has a theme of WAFFLES.
What does Rail Side have, other than a a few hundred (when we were there) San Dimans wandering around, staring down at their phones, searching desperately for, it turns out, Squirtle (with sunglasses)? Well … ambiance. We don’t focus on ambiance much because flavor always comes first, but Rail Side is a nice little place: French cafe music plays lightly inside, several umbrellaed tables sit outside, maybe with a family or two having a relaxed morning of it, and the guy making sandwiches behind the counter – almost definitely the proprietor – takes a minute to step out, ask how the food is, then greets his own in-law, wife, and baby daughter.
And the menu does have some niftiness: the Berlin bagel ($4.79) with a particularly delicious cream cheese, strawbs, bluebs, and powdered sugar was impressively tasty enough to have lodged a little place in our increasingly crowded food minds, though the Wicked Good Rail Croissant ($7.79, croissant with sausage and gravy) will soon fade.
Do the Rail Side’s posters of French rail-themed movies create a true Parisian vibe? To put it to you in French: hell if I know! But does having a light breakfast in the Rail Side seem a lot like what having breakfast in a version of a Paris depicted in some sort of ennui-centric movie starring Greta Gerwig would be like if really it all took place in San Dimas? Absolument!