Harry’s Coffee Shop: A Reflection on La Jolla’s Beloved Diner


Harry’s Coffee Shop is one of La Jolla’s most respected and well known dining institutions. Known for their superb breakfast, 1960’s charm, and great coffee, Harry’s has become a generational gathering place for the community. Here is an exclusive look at the unique history and story behind the beloved La Jolla diner which coincidentally involved the baseball team: The Dodgers.

How It All Began
Harry’s Coffee Shop traces its origins to New York City. During the 1950’s, the Rudolph family owned and flipped numerous coffee stores around town. In 1958, when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Harry Rudolph decided to follow the team to the west coast. After finding the seaside community of La Jolla, he decided to stay and opened Harry’s Coffee Shop where it stands today. La Jolla at that time had only approximately 5,000 residents and many of the guests at the diner were regulars.

The diner was open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner up until the mid 1990’s. With nine children in the Rudollph family, Harry decided to stop serving dinner and spend the evenings with his children & wife.

SEE ALSO: Dining before Dinner: Our Favorites for Breakfast, Lunch & Brunch.

The Menu
Original dishes that have been on the menu since Harry’s first opened its doors includes Harry’s oatmeal, bagel & lox, and the traditional 2 eggs any style. There is an old saying that states, “Nothing has been removed from the original Harry’s Coffee Shop menu, only added.” Popular menu additions include breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, and the Philly cheese steak. [pullquote]“Nothing has been removed from the original Harry’s Coffee Shop menu, only added”[/pullquote]

In addition, Harry’s has given its employees the freedom to use their talents to create their own dishes and promotes them as the daily special. Often times, these specials become so popular that they are added to the daily menu. You will also notice that the employees at Harry’s resemble a fun loving and diverse family. That’s because many of them have been working there for most of their lives. Multiple employees have been there for 20+ years, respectively, while two employees a whopping 30 years!


Harry’s Coffee Shop Today
Flash forward to 2014 and the coffee shop is still a prized La Jolla gem. Harry Jr. is one of the nine siblings who manages the restaurant and carries on the tradition of serving great food. Harry Jr. has been challenged with respecting the charm of the diner and upgrading the cosmetic appearance of the restaurant, he says being part of such a multi-generational restaurant is what keeps him going. Being able to see families come in regularly, watch them grow, and have them bring new family members to Harry’s is something very unique and special for any restaurant.

New additions to the restaurant can be seen in the added artwork throughout the diner. Black and white photographs by Roy Porello of La Jolla surfers taken in the 1960’s have been added to the store. These new additions have helped the diner retain its charm throughout the past 54 years. So whether you’ve stopped by for a fresh cup of coffee or indulged in waffles a la mode as a child, Harry’s Coffee Shop has a special place in the hearts of La Jollans and visitors a like.

Harry’s is located at 7545 Girard Av. La Jolla, CA 92037 and is open 7 days a week. Share with us your memories of the diner by commenting below!

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