The Sacramento Breakfast Club has been enjoying breakfast as a club since 2006, and over the past eight years, we've visited nearly a couple hundred restaurants in the greater Sacramento area. As the "media guy," I'm the one who takes photos, interviews the staff, and ultimately publishes the article on our Facebook page, and this web site. When it comes to publishing an article, all restaurants fall into only two categories, 1) Easy-to-publish and write about, or 2) Not-easy-to-publish or write about. The "not so easy" restaurants are the vast majority, as they're good, solid, basic, yet nothing stands out about them. The "easy" restaurants features "something" that is outstanding, either good, or not-so-good. In the case of today's visit to Chewy's, this article was an easy article to publish, as Chewy's stands heads above other Sacramento-area restaurants for all the right reasons.
Photo: If you're a follower of the adventures of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, you may recall back on our meeting of May 11, 2012, we met at this same location, but in it's previous life, it was a barbecue restaurant, which was voted, by our club members, as the most "hated" restaurant that we had visited. Editor's note: I loved it, but I was out voted. Today, Friday, April 11, 2014, we had the pleasure to visit Chewy's, which is one of the best restaurants that we've had the pleasure to enjoy. Gee, what a difference a new owner, a new format, and a couple of years can make!
Photo: Booths line the walls, and a gigantic table is placed in the center, which is prefect for a meeting of the Sacramento Breakfast Club. Photo was taken early in the meeting, before the majority of the members arrived. The friendly owner of the restaurant, Jesus Chavez, is at the right of the photo, chatting with a customer. When he's on-site, he welcomes every diner to his fantastic restaurant, and treats everybody like family.
Photo: A week or so prior to our visit, I located Chewy's on Facebook, "friended it," and sent a message detailing the mission of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, and the fact that our club would be paying a visit to the restaurant today. As usual, Shalene and I were the vanguard, but as we walked in the door, we were greeted by the owner of the restaurant, Mr. Jesus Chavez, who greeted us personally, and welcomed us to his fine restaurant. He had checked out this web site, so he knew what to expect, and welcomed us, like family, and personally thanked us for holding today's meeting at his fine restaurant. Jesus, no problem! Jesus is a nice guy, a gracious host, and knows how to operate a SUPERIOR restaurant. One small detail: Although Chewy's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they're DEAD SERIOUS about breakfast, as breakfast is served anytime the restaurant is open. For breakfast loves, such as our club members, that's a HUGE green flag!
Photo: The kitchen is open, and if you're a kitchen "freak," like I am, you can watch the very busy kitchen staff in action. Photo was taken from the cashier's station, which is acessible, and not at all intrusive, and doesn't require access into the kitchen. Chef Sammy is at work, preparing potatoes for our meal. Although I wasn't able to capture his actions in a photo, when Chef Sammy turns eggs, he flips them over like a pizza. Amazing!
The format of ordering is two-fold, and it depends upon the number of the guests. The "default" way to order is to step up to the counter, place your order, pay for it, and receive a number. When your order is ready, it will be brought to your table. There is a tip jar, next to the cash register, but tips aren't mandatory, expected, but, as always, they're appreciated. Just for the record, Sacramento Breakfast Club left a generous tip, on the table, and in the jar at the counter.
For a large group, such as ours, a staff member will come to the table, and take orders, individually, using a computer tablet. Like any sit-down restaurant, you order your food, when your order is ready it is brought to you, and you receive a tab, which you can pay at your table - if you use "plastic" - or hike up to the register and pay, in the good ol' fashioned way. So, depending upon your needs, or the size of your group, Chewy's gives you choice, and you can have it your way. Just for the record, we enjoyed a large membership turnout at today's meeting, and singles and couples chalked up individual tabs, and the cheerful staff at Chewy's tabulated every tab cheerfully, efficiently, and without a fault. How many other restaurants offer that kind of service?
Photo: Jesus Chavez, the owner of Chewy's, was expecting us, and was very gracious to host us, and treat our group as family. He was eager to show me how Chewy's produces their large, flour tortillas, which are used as sides, and wraps for burritos. He invited me into the kitchen, and demonstrated the step-by-step process that results in Chewy's wonderful flour tortillas. Click on the photo, or this link, which will take you to a post that details how Chewy's tortillas are made. Don't worry... it's just a easy "click" back to this article...
Photo: As I was invited into the kitchen, which is rarity in U.S. restaurants, due to insurance reasons, I had the opportunity to watch the staff in action, cutting vegetables, washing dishes, and doing other "behind the scenes" work. It's all good, as Chewy's operates as a team, and all "team" members are super-friendly, strive to please, and produce excellent food. Gee, I just can't say enough good things about Chewy's...
Photo: Our birthday guy, Ricky! Ricky's mom went around to every table, introduced herself, and let everybody know that today, she and her husband were meeting Ricky for breakfast, to celebrate his 40th birthday. Ricky is a local musician, so mom requested that when her son walked in the door that everybody sing "Happy Birthday." In this photo, Ricky has walked in the door, the resounding song of "Happy Birthday" from everybody in the friendly restaurant! As you can see, Ricky was amazed, and has a smile on his face, as he shows my camera his "Beatles" tee shirt, as he is a fan of the legendary rock group, The Beatles. Judging by the smile on his face, I thin his day, and his 40th birthday was made by his visit to Chewy's.
Photo: Dad, mom, and Ricky at Chewy's, as I photograph them on Ricky's 40th birthday. I offered to email them a photo, but instead, I took photos using Ricky's camera, and the camera on his Android phone. Everybody at Chewy's sang "Happy Birthday" as Ricky walked in, and it really surprised him, and I really think it made his day.
Photo: Food arrives at our table. We were served by several staff members, so, sadly, I was unable to get the names of each individual server. Well, Sharlene and I will be back by just ourselves soon, so then we can get a few more details. I can't wait to try one of Chewy's burgers... they look divine.
Photo: Unlike many other restaurants in the greater Sacramento area, Chewy's is very gracious about offering substitutes for those who, for whatever reason, prefer fruit over potatoes, at NO EXTRA CHARGE. Teri holds Sharlene's bowl of fruit, which Sharlene ordered, rather than potatoes, which is the de facto standard for the meal. Although it's Sharlene's bowl of fruit, Teri appears much more enthusiastic than Sharlene does. After the fact, Sharlene told me the fruit was crisp, fresh, and vastly superior to fruit bowls served at other restaurants. Ah, another reason why Chewy's rates on the "top shelf!"
Photo: Check out the lead photo on this article, and you'll note that Chewy's offers a "$3.99" breakfast special, so Robert took 'em up on their offer. Pictured is Robert's breakfast ... $3.99 plus tax! OK, the deal is that you get to order 3 items from an extensive list, so Robert ordered eggs - two eggs are counted as "one" item - home style potatoes, and a slab of ham, which came to only $3.99, plus California state sales tax. (Damn!) It's a breakfast which is just the right size for 95% of the population, made of fresh, quality ingredients, and it's priced at, or below the level of what you would get at a fast food restaurant. Custom prepared food at a bargain basement price!
Photo: Sean shows off his order of an omelet and steak fries. As if he didn't get enough protein, he ordered a gigantic flour tortilla on the side, after watching me enjoying myself in the kitchen, as I was privileged to observe how the tortillas are made.
Photo: If it's breakfast, and it's Mexican, count me in. Checking out the menu, I zeroed in on "The Spicy Cazuela." What is a cazuela? The menu says... "That's the Mexican meaning of how cooking is done. Using a fry pan, mixing all ingredients, and piling them up on a bed of potatoes. Topped with two eggs, any style, toast, or homemade flour tortilla." Hmmmmm.... With an introduction like that, how could one resist? In my case, from the "Breakfast Cazuelas" menu, I ordered, "The Spicy Cazuela." I'll let the menu describe my breakfast choice... "Chorizo, linguica, onions, bell pepper, habanero chili peppers (Yeah!!!) and cheddar cheese." Actually, is was definitely on the "hot" side, but very manageable. At $8.25, the price was right, the portion was right, and the breakfast was "top shelf" in all aspects.
Photo: Today's members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, from left to right, Cynde Barlow, Teri McCloud, Sharlene Rench, Robert Kipperman, Eric Rench, Sean McCloud, Mary Rupp, David DeMario, and David Rowland. Great turnout today, from great club members, at a superior restaurant.
Over the years, I've published literally hundreds of articles detailing my culinary adventures at various restaurants over the western United States and northern Mexico. If I had to categorize restaurants, I'd estimate that 10% of them fall into the poor category, 10% of them make the outstanding criteria, and 80% of them are good, adequate and meet or succeed my expectations. Chewy's is definitely a restaurant within the top 10% category of restaurants.
We had a large turnout at today's meeting, and during the post-meeting in the parking lot, all of today's members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club agreed that Chewy's in one of the best restaurants we've had the pleasure of visiting! If you love delicious, fresh food, comfortable, yet informal dining, and amazingly friendly people, Chewy's is the restaurant to visit. In all aspects, the restaurant is AMAZING, and I have run out of ways to favorite ways to describe this top-shelf restaurant.
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