Tip Top Meats

Butcher Shop | German | Grocery Store | Hamburgers | Steak
One of the best

Tip Top Meats is a fifty-year-old butcher shop and German grocery store with a restaurant tucked into the corner of the store. There are reasons to line-up at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is also a long list of grocery items and fresh meat products you’re going to want to come back for. Most impressively, the master butcher and founder, “Big John,” is a skilled forger of Turduckens. 

Tip Top Meats has a large menu of German specialties and American diner classics showcasing the freshly butchered meats and John’s skill as a sausage maker. One of the best ways to experience these is with the “Big John’s Breakfast.” Three eggs any style, delicious home fries, and all-you-can-eat servings of your choice of breakfast meats. You should choose bratwurst and Polish sausage, because John’s house-made sausages are excellent. All-you-can-eat breakfast meats are always a treat, but we know of nowhere else that includes meats of this caliber. John’s sausages are as good as you can find in the New World. 

At lunch, Tip Top makes an excellent cheeseburger. It’s cooked to correct temperature with a coarse butchers grind on an eggy brioche-like roll. Essentially, it’s a very good steakhouse style burger at a fast food burger price. The sandwiches are recommended as well. They are a great example of the generosity of this place. They all come with three halves. The Rueben is a popular choice, as it includes house pickled sauerkraut. 

There are many options for dinner plates, and you know the meat will be fresh and delicious. Even though it was a butcher shop, we were surprised at how good the steaks are, even if priced lower than most hamburgers in San Diego County. A daily special offers a large sirloin dinner with all the trimmings, sides, and a beer — all for the price of a cocktail in a swanky bar. The sirloin is juicy, heightened and softened with a tangy marinade and smothered in grilled onions. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, the best food  here are the sausages — with eggs in the morning, on a roll in the afternoon, or on a platter in the evening.

All dinners are served with sauerkraut and/or red cabbage, we recommend both, as they’re very different and compliment each other nicely. The best choice for side dish is the warm German potato salad, which has a pleasantly chunky texture and is fragrant with leeks. The dinners come with soup, which are surprise stars. Particularly good is oxtail soup, thickened with rendered gelatin. 

Based on the success of the meat shop, a fish shop was opened recently next door. It offers the same blend of quality, freshness and value that the butcher has for decades, but applied to Pacific seafood. To stand out among the many other fish market-restaurant hybrids in California coastal towns, Tip Top Fish offers a few Northern European flourishes like rollmops, stuffed pickled herring. 

What to Eat
Tip Top Meats, Cheeseburger
Standard issue cheeseburger at Tip Top: one side is cheddar, the other Swiss. The bun is eggy and rich.
Tip Top Meats, Potato Salad
Potato Salad
Best side dish: tangy warm German potato salad, at left
Tip Top Meats, Oxtail Soup
Oxtail Soup
Get soup with dinner. It's excellent. Oxtail soup is a meal in itself.
Tip Top Meats, Big John’s Breakfast
Big John’s Breakfast
Big John's Breakfast comes with unlimited homemade sausages.
Tip Top Meats, Steak n Stein
Steak n Stein
The sirloin portion of the "steak and stein" combo
Tip Top Meats, Reuben
The Reuben. Sandwiches come with three halves on a strange combination of different rye breads.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday7am - 7pm
Monday7am - 7pm
Tuesday7am - 7pm
Wednesday7am - 7pm
Thursday7am - 7pm
Friday7am - 7pm
Saturday7am - 7pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 125 MILES | 2 hr 29 min

Eating Up the Coast

The trip from San Diego up to Los Angeles County is only 115 miles or so, but with treacherous Southern California gridlock, the drive could eat most of your day. Instead, why not spend the day eating? Starting in San Diego, one of the most historic morning meals in the West can…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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