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About Us

A Historic Site

One of the original Aunt Emma's Pancakes restaurant in Chula Vista in 1959.

1959 - Don Robert Roland and his two sons Robert and Jack founded the Aunt Emma's Pancake franchise at 5435 El Cajon Blvd.  Roland was born in Ohio, came to San Diego in 1911, worked at the old Monarch Drug Store at Fifth and Broadway,  and founded a chain of soda fountains in 1918.  After his death in 1969, the restaurant franchises were gradually sold off.


1965 - Aunt Emma's Pancakes in Chula Vista celebrated their grand opening. It advertised that it will be open 24 hours, including Sunday, and offered a special king size breakfast for $.88.  


1998 - The Chula Vista franchise was the last one established by the Rolands.   Between 1959 and 1964, others had been established at La Jolla, Point Loma, Escondido, and El Cajon.  50 years later, the only Aunt Emma's still open are the restaurants owned by Niko Gelastopoulos in Chula Vista and National City. 


2009 - The former Keith's Restaurant in National City is now an Aunt Emma's sister restaurant.  Popular specials from Keith's have been integrated into the expanded culinary selections at Aunt Emma's in National City.

A restaurant

Delicious strawberry crepes with whipped cream and orange juice at Aunt Emma's Pancakes in San Diego

Aunt Emma's has been proudly serving pancakes since 1959 and it's been family owned and operated since.  Our motto “It’s Always Pancake Time”, was coined by the founder Robert Roland.   Aunt Emma’s has satisfied hungry customers’ desire for breakfast for the last 50 years.  A favorite family restaurant, Aunt Emma’s has kept prices low and put customer service first.  


Our establishment flourishes with time-tested pancake recipes, waffles, omelettes and south of the border specialties. The menu includes 24 varieties of pancakes, delicious strawberry, apple and cajeta crepes, other breakfast items, and lunch and specialty sandwiches.  Our pancakes are made from our very own Aunt Emma's special recipe, and we are sure you will enjoy every bite.