After work, on Thursday, June 28, 2006 the members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club decided to visit a restaurant favored by locals, the Western Coffee Pot Family Cafe, on Auburn Blvd. in the city of Citrus Heights, which is a new city which was created out of a portion of Sacramento County, only a couple of years ago.
Photo: Western Coffee Pot's unpretentious building is painted barn red with white trim. On this Friday morning, the parking is largely empty, which is unusual for this busy restaurant.
Western Coffee Pot is located in a wood frame building, of unknown vintage, and is painted a subdued red with white trim, and the front of the building is landscaped with quite a few bushes. Parking is ample, as the parking lot is HUGE, which is a good thing, as the restaurant can get pretty crowded at time. When you walk in, you're immediately greeted by a guy with a big smile on his face, and seated at a table. On this occasion, there were four of us, and we were seated at a table big enough for six hungry diners, near a window at the front of the restaurant.
Photo: Today's breakfast crew consists of Dan, Bev and David. That's my empty seat, as I'm taking the photo. Note the Christmas tree that's decorated for the 4th of July, directly behind David. The Christmas tree remains all year, only the seasonal decorations change.
If you're looking for a restaurant with 5-star decor, look elsewhere, as Western Coffee Pot's dining room is comfortable, functional, no-frills and in-your-face to the point. It's plain, and very clean, and the formula works quite well. If I was to describe the decor, the first phrase that comes to my mind is "1960's era roadhouse" which will give you general description. All in all, it appears to be very "low tech" which is ok, as its almost like stepping back to a bygone era, and reminds me of some of the many roadhouses that I used to frequent during my younger days. Despite the fact that the decor isn't elegant, this place features something that is quite unique: A year around, fully-decorated, lighted Christmas tree! The catch is that the tree stays year around, but the decorations change with the season. Since it was late June, the tree was decorated with patriotic decorations. I must confess that I've never seen a 4th of July Christmas tree before.
Photo: Our friendly waitress hands Bev her breakfast of Mexican omelet and fruit. Note the plates of chicken fried steak in the foreground, which Dan, David and I chose for breakfast.
After we were seated at our table, we were greeted by a friendly waitress, who produced menus and asked us what we wanted to drink. Well, after working the night shift, that's a no-brainier, as what could be better than a hot cup of Joe? With a name like Western Coffee Pot, you just know that their coffee is good... and its naturally served from a bottomless coffee pot. We were immediately served a glass of ice water; a nice touch. David, Dan and I knew exactly what we wanted, as we'd been talking about Western Coffee Pot's signature dish for the last week: Chicken fried steak, sitting on top of sausage gravy, two fried eggs, and homestyle potatoes, with lots of pepper and onion slices. Bev's choice was a bit more "girly" as she chose a Mexican omelet, with a side dish of fruit, rather than potatoes. Dan, David and I usually order about the same thing, as all of us are ex-military, and that makes us "meat and potatoes" kind of guys.
Photo: Here's another shot of today's group enjoying breakfast in the plain dining room of Western Coffee Pot.
In less than 10 minutes after placing or orders, our waitress brought our breakfasts to the table. She first brought the three orders of chicken fried steak, followed by Bev's order of Mexican omelet.
The chicken fried steak is Western Coffee Pot's signature breakfast dish. It is a typical, delicious, juicy, breaded chicken fried steak, but what sets it apart from many other restaurants is that they first spoon the gravy on the plate, and place the steak on top of the gravy. That is unique, as I've never seen that done in any other restaurant. David, Dan and I all are big fans of homestyle fried potatoes, and Western Coffee Pot's potatoes won't disappoint you, as they're fried to perfection, and loaded with diced onions and bell peppers, LOTS of them, which are sauteed just right, as they retain a little "crunch" but not too much. If homestyle potatoes aren't your thing, you can order hash browns, fruit, pancakes, or other substitutions. You have many choices of toast, and the three of us chose sourdough, naturally.
Photo: Dan and Bev MacLeod, and David DeMario enjoy breakfast. Eric Rench, your webmaster and author is taking the photo, and we couldn't get our waitress to snap the photo of the four of us, as she was "too busy."
I can't give you a first-hand account on Bev's Mexican omelet, but I asked her what she though of it, and she said it was good, and I noticed that all of her breakfast seemed to disappear from her plate. As for the chicken fried steak breakfast, it is unbelievably good, and will satisfy the most ravenous appetite. If you're a meat and potato lover, you really need to pay a visit and consume their signature breakfast dish.
Western Coffee Pot is one of those sort of places where you'll meet your neighbors, as it's a favorite of the locals. It is such a favorite that a couple of local motorcyle and four wheel drive clubs hold meetings at the restaurant, as they have the facilities to cater to many events. The place is locally owned, and it has been in the same location for many years. The staff is attentive and friendly, but not intrusive, and they will make you feel welcome, and give you a sense that they're glad that you stopped by.
Photo: Note the horseshoe-shaped breakfast bar in the middle of the dining room. The kitchen is to the right of the photo, out of sight.
Photo: Here is is, my breakfast of fried eggs, chicken-fried steak, placed on top of the sausage gravy, homestyle potatoes, and sourdough toast. Breakfast doesn't get any better than this...
Drop by Western Coffee Pot for a fabulous chicken fried steak breakfast, friendly service, reasonable prices, and an outstanding dining experience. The membors of the Sacramento Breakfast Club will be back again...
Update, October 2008: Sadly, Western Coffee Pot is another victim to hard times in Sacramento, as the last time we went by the restaurant, the doors were closed, and there was a "For Sale" sign posted in front of the restaurant. We'll miss the chicken-fried steak, placed on top of the gravy, as that dish was a Western Coffee Pot exclusive.
Coffee Pot Family Cafe
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