The situation: About 07:30 in the morning, I pull up to Lido Bar and Grill, park, and jump out of my car and hurriedly snap a couple of photos of the outside of the restaurant. The reason I was in so much of a hurry, is that there were two vacant parking spots directly in front of the restaurant, which afforded a clear view of the facade of the restaurant, and the patio dining, which would be partially obscured if cars occupied the parking spots. After taking the photos, since I had 40 minutes or so to wait until the rest of the club members appeared, I sat in my car, pulled out my cell phone, and started to surf the Internet.
Photo: Lucky for me I was able to photograph Lido Bar & Grill with two vacant parking spaces in front. Note the patio dining, which wasn't an option for us on the chilly November morning.
OK, I have to admit, from the standpoint of most folks, that is not normal behavior, as how many people actually do stuff like that? As I was merrily surfing the Internet, suddenly a lady appeared at my window, and motioned to me that she wanted to talk. I opened my door, and the lady who me, with a note of trepidation, "What are you doing?" I replied that I was sitting in my car, surfing the web, and waiting just a few more minutes before I entered the restaurant. That wasn't what she meant, as she then asked me, "Why are you taking pictures?" Let's see... how many times have I been asked that question from "civilians?" So, I presented her with one of my business cards, introduced myself, and told her that I was the vanguard of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, and that we would be holding today's meeting, Friday, November 13, 2009, at the restaurant I was parked in front of, Lido Bar & Grill, and that I would be entering the restaurant shortly, to begin the first of many cups of coffee. My little explanation broke the ice, as the woman introduced herself to me as Shawna Rivera, co-owner of the restaurant, and invited me to come inside.
Inside, Lido's is a comfortable, attractive, warm and friendly place. We noticed that the place is decorated in a fall motif, complete with pumpkins, scarecrows, faux leaves, colored lights, and other fall icons. As you enter the restaurant, to the left is a sort of breakfast bar, complete with high stools, and THE PASTRY DISPLAY! ... where the cinnamon rolls and other pastries are located, along with coffee and soft drink machines. Mounted on the wall, behind the counter, are three large white boards, where the menu is posted, hand-written using marker pens. Quite unique... To the right of the breakfast bar, separated by a partition from the dining room, in plain view is the squeaky clean kitchen, where you can watch the kitchen staff in action.
Photo: The main dining room is decorated in fall decor, and is very attractive and comfortable. The karaoke booth is in the extreme left of the photo. Note the patron at the extreme right is enjoying a beer for breakfast.
Photo: Shawna poses in front of the attractive breakfast counter that contains the coffee makers, soft drink machines and the pastries! The white boards, with printed menu choices, are on the wall behind the counter.
Lido's is a little bit like the pub in the television show, "Cheers," in that it's a neighborhood hang out, and everybody seems to know everybody. During our breakfast meeting, we noticed that Shawna would greet many of the guests by name. It appears that the first time you visit, you're a guest, on your second visit, you're a member of a large, happy, extended family, which is the sort of atmosphere that we love in a restaurant. We noticed a few interesting features, including a full-service bar, and a karaoke booth. We questioned Shawna of what goes on after dark, and she happily told us that on weekends, they frequently have live entertainment, or karaoke. In fact, she invited us to come back this evening, as they were featuring a local band that specializes in Cajun, and rock 'n roll standards. Wow! I'm making a note of this, and plan to take the wife to Lido's on a future Friday or Saturday evening to enjoy a great dinner, a few drinks, and a bit of live music.
As she took our orders, Shawna told us a few interesting tidbits of information about Lido Bar & Grill, in that they have been in business since 1995, and that she and her husband Don own and operate the restaurant, and that every on the menu is made in-house, from scratch, using only finest and freshest ingredients. The breakfast menu (and the lunch and dinner menu) is quite extensive, and offers many favorites, and something for every taste. I certainly was tempted to order one of the interesting-sounding omelets, especially the choice named "Miss Piggy's," but I defaulted to my de facto favorite breakfast, the "Milanesa Napolitana." What???? The menu describes a Milanesa Napolitana as "Breaded deep fried steak, served with country sausage gravy, two scrambled eggs, and a buttermilk biscuit." In other words, it's a chicken fried steak, Lido-style, with a fancy title... How could I resist, especially when lured by the thought of in-house made country, sausage gravy, covering my steak and my potatoes?
Photo: Shawna's daughter Nikki, who works at the restaurant, poses behind the breakfast counter with some muffins, fresh from the oven. As I took Nikki's photo, Shawna commented to me that "Nikki grew up in here."
Photo: The kitchen at Lido Bar & Grill, which can easily be seen, and photographed, as you pass by, on way to the dining room. That's a portion of our order, resting on the counter, and the remainder is cooking on the stove and the griddle.
While we were waiting for our orders to arrive, I had the opportunity to take a few photos, and admire the operation. As I mentioned before, the decor is comfortable and attractive, and the fall decorations added an attractive touch and perfectly complimented the pastel colors that are the theme of the restaurant. Friendly Shawna kept our coffee mugs full of some of the best coffee that we've ever the pleasure to enjoy, and she pointed out that it is obtained from a local source, located just up the street. As a nice touch, we were offered large glasses of ice water, and the cream for our coffee was not only plentiful, but it was in small stainless steel pitchers that did not cause a mess when you added cream to your coffee. We dislike those little containers of half and half that many restaurants use, as they are a pain to open, there never seem to be enough of them, and the empty containers clutter up the table, until they are removed. Lido Bar & Grill is a class act in every respect!
Our orders arrived fresh and hot from the kitchen, prepared exactly as ordered. David, Mark and I ordered the "Milanesa Napolitana," Matt and Latasha ordered an omelet, and Brad and Dan ordered breakfast burritos, smothered with country gravy. By ordering a variety, it gave us a chance to compare notes... and the verdict reached by the jury was unanimous: Totally delicious! My chicken fried steak, fried eggs, potatoes and biscuit were arranged on one medium-sized platter, with a very attractive presentation, and the "Milanesa Napolitana" and the potatoes were covered with thick, delicious country gravy, with lots of chunks of fresh, in-house made sausage... yumm! The steak was breaded, and cooked to a golden brown, and it was so tender, that I cut it into bite-sized pieces with my fork. It was so tender, that you could have easily cut it into pieces with one of those "cheepie", plastic forks! Folks, that's tender! The potatoes were quite unique, in that they were a cross between country style potatoes and hash browns - whatever you call them, they were cooked to a nice golden brown on the outside, yet they were tender on the inside, and covered with delicious gravy - a winning combination. My eggs over easy were cooked to perfection, and the in-house made biscuits were light, fluffy, full of flavored, and buttered with melted butter. The breakfast was simply delicious, and one of the best breakfasts that I've enjoyed for a long time.
Photo: Shawna places Dan's breakfast burrito on the table in front of him, as she holds Brad's identical breakfast. Note that the burritos are covered with gravy, as per Dan and Brad's request.
Photo: If you're wondering what a Milanesa Napolitana looks like, well, here it is. The photo shows the attractive presentation, and the meal looks delicious, but the photo can't convey how delicious this breakfast really was.
Lido Bar & Grill is staffed by efficient and friendly people, who seem to really like what they do, and make you feel genuinely welcome and appreciated. The wonderful can-do attitude starts at the top, as co-owner Shawna is very friendly, efficient, attentive, and truly is a nice person, with a warm personality and a big heart. I must add that she is also truly gracious, as she not only tolerated my photos, endless questions, and generally raucous behavior of our club members, but she actually encouraged it, and even took photos of our group, upon my request. To top it all off, our club members were treated to a delicious, freshly made cinnamon roll, courtesy of the house. Thank you, Shawna!
Photo: The core members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, from left to right, Brad Holther, Eric Rench, David DeMario, Dan MacLeod, Matt Donnelly, Latasha Banks, and Mark McIntire.
The Sacramento Breakfast Club was treated to an outstanding breakfast, served in attractive, comfortable surrounds, by wonderful people. If you're looking for one of the best breakfasts in town, look no further than Lido Bar & Grill.
Bar & Grill
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