With endless desserts in Mason jars, thrift-shop-chic couches, kitschy upside-down lampshades and more board games than you’ll ever have time to play, Kearny Mesa’s Up2You Cafe is the Pinterest of restaurants — and the food’s not bad, eitherLocation: 7770 Vickers St. San Diego, CA 92111 Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. – Sat. 12:30 p.m. to 12 p.m. Our Rating: 3.5/5 Price: $ Recommended: Banoffee Sundae, $6.25
Tucked away on Convoy Street of San Diego’s Kearny Mesa, the quaint Up2You Cafe is packed almost every night with customers clamoring for their specialty desserts, refreshing drinks and fun lounge area.
For the full Up2You experience, dine in. Drinks are served in Mason jars, and, despite the plastic-only utensils available, your order comes beautifully assembled on a porcelain plate. Ordering to-go, however, compartmentalizes your order’s different components, which is disappointing for those who desire the aesthetics.
Like the title says, your choices for dessert customization are completely up to you — the quantities of your add-ons determine your final cost. Up2You offers three, main customizable specialties: Honey Brick Toast ($3.75), Crepes ($3.50) and Belgian Waffles ($3.50), the former being most popular. Imagine a block of honey-kissed, white toast, partially segmented into nine pieces and then set to crisp and caramelize in a toaster oven. Once done, the customer’s requested add-ons (your choice between different kinds and quantities of spreads —Nutella, dulce de leche, nut butters, etc.— fruits and ice cream) are applied.
It’s much more rewarding to be impetuous with your order combination instead of planning it out while waiting in line. Being adventurous with your combination allows you to not only enjoy the full satisfaction of the comprehensive taste, but also the feeling of success from your spontaneous selections. No brick toast combination has ever been unsatisfactory.
Some preset desserts are offered as well, such as creme brulees, banana splits and tiramisus. Their Banoffee Sundae ($6.25) is like a banana split with a crunch — crumbled Oreos topped with banana slices, dulce de leche, a scoop of your choice of ice cream, whipped cream and cocoa powder. A phenomenal play on textures is all served in a latched, airtight jar. Like the food, the decor is colorful and quirky. The muted, deep colors give a sense of being calm, yet invigorating. Some walls have painted pieces, some have various framed graphics. The furniture is mixed from old lounge-style couches and ottomans around coffee tables to simple chairs and Bauhaus-style stools around seemingly old wood tables imprinted with a gold, lotus-like design and cluttered with different carvings etched by previous customers.
As for drinks, the popular house drinks — Up2You Milk Tea, Matcha Green Tea, Thai Tea — are best enjoyed with Honey Boba, extra-sweet boba coated in a light layer of honey, for an additional $0.50. The Up2You Milk Tea is not to be missed — its earthier taste gives it the flavor depth of Thai tea.
Most nights, seating is hard to come by, and although Up2You is well-staffed, their service can get slow. In comparison, during the day it’s quiet and relaxed enough to use as a study space or nice place to meet up with a friend for a small snack-and-chat (The service is much faster, too). But no matter at what time of day, you’ll always get patient and friendly assistance, even if you’re having a hard time deciding what to order.Up2You Cafe is not common for evening studying because of its social environment but definitely a better place to unwind with a small group of friends. The ambiance is fun and social without a party of one in sight. From table to table, you’ll see people enjoying their drinks, trying each other’s desserts or simply chatting and playing available games (i.e. Jenga, Uno, Cranium, playing cards, etc.) while waiting for their order and/or after they’ve finished eating. How you spend your time (and your money) is truly up to you.