[Half Moon Bay, CA] Dad’s Luncheonette

Dad’s Luncheonette is the first stop of a day trip with the kids today. When we got there, it was pretty sparse and 4 people were eating. We ordered, then moved two stools to the side of the counter near the register so we were covered by the shade umbrella and avoided the rain.

Apparently Bauer published his review about Dad’s Luncheonette two days ago, as I found out after the chef mentioned Bauer and the review to a tourist couple as we placed our order. I had no idea about that or I would have stayed away for months from the place and the inevitable crowd that descends like a plague of locusts. So much to my relief, the rain apparently deterred many today, and it was pretty peaceful.

I got the burger sandwich, the mac and cheese with chips, and the blondie. The chef delivered the food. There were no new customers for a while so he stuck around and chatted a bit. Take my report with a grain of salt given I was split among listening in and half-participating in the Bauer conversation, trying to keep the kids from knocking over things, convincing them to eat, and actually eating.

The sandwich was pretty good, with the egg yolk oozing over the components the sandwich. Patty was cooked to medium by default. White cheddar was the slice of choice. HMB had the perfect weather for growing quality non-watery salad greens and the sandwich put some of those to good use. What stood out to me was the red onion pickle (chef pickled himself) which added a bright pop of tartness to the rest of the sandwich. It was a pretty good sandwich. Forgot that it was a sandwich when I ordered- so I was wondering for a couple of seconds what exactly I got. I Ate too quickly and don’t remember much about the patty now. Someone else would have to comment.

Burger sandwich:

The mac and cheese was ordered for the kids. It was made with pepperjack, layered with potato chips on top. The kids wouldn’t eat much of the mac and cheese because its slightly spicy, so I finished it.

Chocolate strawberry blondie- thoroughly enjoyed this delicious cake. It had small chunks of chocolate, maybe a little vanilla, a dash of salt.


Canned wine:

The eating area, and the counter on the right. Note: its not covered. It was pretty amusing that a few diners that arrived after me went back to eat their burgers in their parked cars.

Would love to go back and try the mushroom sandwich, the herb salad, and other seasonal specials.

While eating, chef Scott Clark was talking about Bauer with the tourists. That’s when the topic of the review on Friday came up. I asked whether Bauer disguised while eating there and the answer was no. The comment was that the reviewer could be recognized by looking at the tip of his blond hair from the back. So there you go. He visited there 3 times before the review. I guess it is standard but that is curious given the small menu. Murphy was present in at least one of those visits. Because of the review, they ran out of food on Saturday by 5pm.

The chef’s credentials on HMB Review.


I was there a few weeks ago and had the hamburger sandwich, mac and cheese and herb salad. I thought the burger was great, nicely balanced and loved the pickled onions as a nice acidic contrast to the beefy patty and egg. The herb salad was very bold - just super fresh herbs, parsley - I’m forgetting what else, the lemon vinaigrette had a sweet element necessary to balance it. The Mac and cheese I thought was a fail, the noodles were overcooked and some parts were just bland with other bits having clumps of cheese with jalapeno - the sauce wasn’t integrated. The menu is super limited so you have to assume that kids are going to get the mac and cheese, so putting jalapenos in there is an odd choice. Somehow when I’m in HMB I feel like I want some seafood - would be great if the soup was a chowder or if there was a fish sandwich or something on the menu.

1 Like

Tried out Dad’s Luncheonette Sun 4/23/17 for lunch around 11:30am and there were already many people eating inside and hanging around waiting for their food. We waited in a short line to order and pay at the one cashier.

I ordered:

hamburger sandwich $12
mushroom sandwich $11
herb salad $5
soup of day: curry carrot soup $6
tayberry blondie $3.5

Everything was pretty good. My least favorite was the herb salad, not a fan of carrots so I didn’t eat the chunks of carrots in the soup, but the soup part was nice, some curry flavor and also sweet from the carrots, my favorite was the blondie.

Charged it. Bathrooms: need a ladle key - go in the middle of the strip mall and there are separate M/F bathrooms. Women’s had 2 stalls/sinks.

Then we drove to Mori Point so I could see the wildflowers for this year, husband didn’t like that I parked too far he says and wasn’t prepared for this hike, but it was a short uphill and only took maybe 1hr. Flowers were good, I hope it’ll be better in May.



Thanks for the report, and great pics! BTW, is the mushroom sandwich substituting the beef patty with mushroom? What kind of mushroom? Curry soup is Indian-style?

Its interesting he seems to have a good talent making blondies. Not that he shouldn’t, because of his chef talents. Though I would have thought savory items are more his thing.

The mushroom sandwich is just without the beef and I couldn’t tell what kind of mushrooms, I ate it but really scarfed it down and it tasted mostly of egg. I liked it.

I would say it was curry powder and pine nuts and lots of carrots. I guess a little like Indian curry. I just liked the soup, but he seems to change it often.

Owner/Chef Scott runs down from the kitchen with the food and brings it too you after shouting out your name. He did spill an order and had to re-do one. I hope they get someone to help with that, those stairs scare me! More seating is also in the plans.

I was thinking about those stairs too. Coming down the caboose every time an order is ready has to be tiring after a long service. He should just hand the food to the cashier.

Does anyone know if there are lines during weekend lunch service these days?

Peach and white chocolate blondie. Preferred the chocolate strawberry one from last time. Though this one was pretty nice, a bit on the sweet side. This is a picture of the whole blondie.

There were maybe 5 people in line at 2:30pm Saturday.

This looks like a cute joint to visit. What are some things to do or points of interest nearby? I’m thinking about making a trip out to HMB.

Hi tastytime, welcome to Hungry Onion btw!

We live in San Francisco, and find ourselves driving down to HMB almost once a week.

Fresh fish and seafood off the boats are our attraction there. On Saturdays and Sundays (sometimes during the week as well), we enjoy buying our fish/seafood off the boats on Johnson Pier at Pillar Point.

The selection changes according to season. King salmon just opened.

Last weekend, there was LIVE halibut, ling cod, anchovies, kingfish and rock cod.

We are on Mr. Morgan’s email list. Although Mr. Morgan does not offer live fish, his catch is usually harvested the night before and reasonably priced. Our favorites are the chilipepper rockfish, sand dabs, flounder, and whatever else comes up.

A gentleman last week was drawing quite a crowd, fresh live sea urchin. Uni, yum!!

A board at the head of the pier lists what is available on which boat and the slip.

One of our favorite boats, Mr. Morgan.


@Google_Gourmet Wow, nice pictures! In the first picture, is that whole net full of sea urchin? Amazing. I’ll have to tell my family and friends about Mr. Morgan; they all love seafood. Unfortunately, I’m lacto-ovo-vegetarian and don’t eat seafood, but I appreciate you sharing the beautiful photos with me! Thank you!!

1 Like

A big net of beautiful tasty urchin!! Part of his haul, he also had more big containers in the water keeping cool. :slight_smile:

Even if you don’t indulge in seafood, the drive alone is worth the time. The ocean views are world class (driving down hwy 1). The farm stand just outside town has fresh local artichokes, peas, etc…

1 Like

@Google_Gourmet Ooo… the farm stand sounds like a great place to visit! Great tip! Thanks!

If they have it at this time of the year, don’t miss Andreotti’s artichokes. I have yet to find artichokes better than theirs. They have a farm stand a couple of blocks from the beach.


Awesome, thank you! What’s your favorite way of preparing artichokes? I’ve never really messed with them, so they’re almost as foreign to me as sea urchin is! :joy:

I was there this week, and there was no jalapeno in the mac and cheese, which was a good thing, because the kid wouldn’t have eaten it. Everything (burgers, house-made chips, mac and cheese, blondies) was very good. More seating would be nice though.

1 Like

Ate there on consecutive days, before and after our camping trip in Pescadero.

Burger sandwich still great with the pickle and melted white cheddar. Beef patty was delicious also. mushroom sandwich had some really juicy maitakes.

Green salad had greens that were super fresh.

The shortbread was lightly sweet, lightly tart, and delicious.

The retooled smoked gruyere Mac and cheese was very good. Even this adult enjoyed this with the kids but he couldn’t steal too big of a portion from them.

The weekend special was smoked chicken today though we didn’t have space for that.

Chef picking out chicken from the bucket that was smoking the chicken.

Saturday lunch. Took a few mins to order and another 5 to 10 to get the food. Efficient.

Meal #2:

Roasted tomato soup. Pretty nice.

Jalapeno smoked chicken. It tasted like a very moist version of tea smoked duck, but with half a chicken. Julienned squash with yogurt on the side. Tasty. I guess this was the mass-market version of Saison’s smoking.


It is smoked gouda according to my notes.

Some sort of coconut cake. But its not really a cake. Decent.


Soup with fall ingredients- pumpkin, cranberry beans, shitake. Decent.


The soup of the day was roasted eggplant soup last Sunday, with a bunch of pumpkin seeds, salad greens, goosenberries, sesames on top. The soup itself was quite tart (I forgot which vegetable supplied that tartness) mixed with a bit of smokiness from the roasted eggplant. It was very complex, and good.

The banana pudding was not very successful. Its overly sweet and one dimensional.