The Santa Fe Café is nestled inside the historic Fullerton Train Station, a beautiful Spanish Colonial-style building that originally opened in 1930.

Despite the café’s charming appearance, travelers passing through might not think it’s much more than a place to grab a coffee on the go or pick up an item they forgot to pack, such as a toothbrush or aspirin.

They wouldn’t be wrong; it is a good place for that, but it’s also so much more.

A Metrolink train passing by the Santa Fe Café.

A Metrolink train passing by the Santa Fe Café. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

The Santa Fe Café has been welcoming guests since it first opened in 1994, and the people-watching at the café is second to none if you’re into that kind of thing. Every slice of life passes through the café, white-collar, blue-collar, young, old and everything in between.

As with any business inside a train station, there are times when the café is bursting at the seams and then quickly empties except for a few regulars.

Life at the Santa Fe Café can go from hectic to sleepy and often does numerous times throughout a single day.

The outside of the Fullerton train station

The Santa Fe Cafe is located near the Fullerton train station. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

But some people do stay; some people hang out all day. The Santa Fe Café has regulars who use the café as their local watering hole. Enjoying a cold beverage, watching the game, and chatting with each other is commonplace.

“We have some people who come in and have a couple of beers; we have other people who come out to train watch, they’ll sit outside,” said Zoraya Cabrera, an employee at the Santa Fe Café. “We have people who are in a rush, trying to get to the train quickly, and we have a lot of people coming and going and others who like to stay a little longer.”

Those who are in the know come for a reason other than people watching. They come for the food.

The Santa Fe Café is not your typical greasy spoon. The food here is outstanding. And they make everything from scratch, including their renowned ice tea.

A Bacon Cheeseburger on sourdough bread at the Santa Fe Café.

A Bacon Cheeseburger on sourdough bread at the Santa Fe Café. Photo credit: Dustin Malek

“Getting good ice tea out here is hard,” said Jean Patanella, who is originally from Texas. “The ice tea here is freshly made, and it’s one of the only places in Southern California I have found that has really excellent fresh ice tea.”

Everything on the menu is good at The Santa Fe Café, especially the bacon cheeseburger. Combine it with the onion rings, and it is to die for.

The onion rings at the Santa Fe Café

The onion rings at the Santa Fe Café Photo credit: Dustin Malek

The Santa Fe Café has it all. A beautiful and historic location, a friendly staff, excellent food, indoor and outdoor dining.

Whether it’s a place for a quick bite before a long trip or a place to hang out and watch trains go by, the Santa Fe Café has you covered.

 

Author profile

Dustin Malek (He/Him) is a Journalism major residing in Fullerton, Ca. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and riding his bike around town.