FOOD & BEVERAGE: Brunch and Beyond at Rachel’s

Robert Sherman at  Rachel’s
Former FIN photographer Robert Sherman across the table during our epic breakfast, with waitress Julia.
Photo by Shoshanna McCollum.

Rachel’s, a versatile dining spot in Ocean Beach, has been a local favorite for years. While they offer a variety of satisfying meals throughout the day, their breakfast menu remains a gold standard for those who crave eggs, French toast, and other early-hour comfort foods. What sets Rachel’s apart is their commitment to quality and variety, making them a go-to spot for any meal.


No matter the time of day or meal you choose to have there, the formula for success remains the same: attention to detail, cleanliness, and courteous service.


I recently met up with a dear friend there for brunch, and my experience exceeded all expectations. Mostly, Robert came before me and scored us the best seat in the house. I had never dined on their outdoor balcony, which only holds a couple of tables but is perfectly delightful.


On this mild June day, we watched Ocean Beach from above on one of the last mellow weekdays before July 4th rolled in. It was an idyllic scene framed in widow flowerbox blooms. Now, that is what one calls ambiance!


Those tables are a holdover from the pandemic lockdown days, but they worked out well. George and Angela were smart to keep them in place. George is Rachel’s son, and Angela is his lovely wife. Rachel is doing fine. She called me over the winter. We chatted for almost an hour, and yes, she still bakes those goodies! This personal connection is what makes Rachel’s more than just a restaurant. It’s a place where you’re always welcome.


I wish I could tell you I ordered something new and exciting, but I ordered the French toast I know and love with a side of bacon. Why mess with perfection? Robert ordered the same thing, except with a side of sausage. We both popped for adding fresh berries. I highly recommend you do the same.


Let’s not forget about their coffee. They make a nice, robust cup of dinner-style coffee with as many refills as needed.


The truth is all winter, I wait for when I can taste Rachel’s French toast again. Those thick, pillow-soft slices of Challah bread drenched in syrup, mixing with the salty-sweet flavor of the breakfast meat, channel memories to me. Memories of my other breakfasts there, sharing meals with friends and loved ones. I still can see a ghost image of myself at any of these tables inside the former building that once was – a Gus Peterson building, if I am not mistaken, that let in plenty of natural light. This new stricture also does, and the soft-green shades of their interior are calming on the eye. I’ve made new memories here.


Other things to remember for different meals of the day are their excellent salads, which are always fresh, their gift for making salmon, and the squash blossoms they prepare here. My friends wait for their squash blossom entrees to come into season. Then, of course, there are the baked goods… always the baked goods. Some swear by their crumb cake, but I, for one, stand by their pignoli nut cookies. Also, what are you waiting for if you have not tried their homemade gelato yet? No one on Fire Island makes gelato better!


Rachel’s Restaurant & Bakery regularly contributes to community and charitable functions throughout the summer, including the Ocean Beach Community Fund, Ocean Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Ocean Beach Youth Group events, making it a great restaurant and a good neighbor.


This year, Gelato between two chocolate chip cookies was the amazing treat during Taste of Ocean Beach.Photo by Shoshanna McCollum.
FIN cartoonist Eric Pederson and I having coffee at the “old” Rachel’s the last summer it was open in 2017.Photo by Shoshanna McCollum.
The new Rachel’s Restaurant & Bakery is now in its seventh summer.Photo by Shoshanna McCollum.