Are you looking for a decent, informal breakfast in Yosemite Valley at a reasonal price, at least by Yosemite Naitonal Park standards? Base Camp Eatery, located in the Yosemite Valley Lodge "campus," serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. On mid-Friday morning, June 22, 2018, my brother and I got to enjoy a great breakfast experience at Base Camp Eatery.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Base Camp Eatery is located near the center of the Yosemite Valley Lodge, which is a great central location if you're staying at the lodge, or visiting fabulous Yosemite Valley. The main entrance to the restaurant is at the left center of the photo. Parking in Yosemite Valley can be tight, but the lodge offers ample parking, and it's really handy if you ride a bicycle.
The name Base Camp Eatery is derived from the fact the restaurant is located, in the lodge, near the base of Yosemite Falls, and not far from the base of El Capitan, which is a magnet from mountain climbers from all over the world.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll notice the main order counter, and the "Disneyland-style" maze that channels customers toward the order counter in an orderly fashion, without creating a line that snakes out the front door during busy times. On this mid-Friday morning, June 22, 2018, lines weren't a problem, as we'd arrived after the big breakfast rush.
Photo: Call me "old school," but today was the first time I'd ever seen touch screen food ordering stations. The idea is you place your order from the kiosk, pay with it using a credit card, and walk up to the counter to pick up your meal. However it didn't exactly that way for me, as I wanted an "American Breakfast," and it wasn't a menu option on the screen!
Welcome to 2018 in Yosemite National Park! My brother is waiting at the counter, confused as I am, as the touch screens didn't list our breakfast of choice on their menu.
Photo: My what a difference a few years make! The last time I set foot in this restaurant was back on Saturday morning, January 07, 2006, when the restaurant was known as the Food Court, and my wife and friends had an absolutely terrible breakfast dining experiece. Click on this link to read the article I posted about our lousy dining experience at Food Court back in January of 2006.
Just a couple of years ago, management scrapped Food Court, completely gutted and remodeled the building, and it has emerged as Base Camp Eatery, which is a great place to enjoy breakfast in Yosemite Valley.
The pizza restaurant is located to the right of the photo. We actually went over there, to "maybe" enjoy pizza for breakfast, but the staff guy said they were only "prepping" the pizza and they wouldn't be serving pizza for a couple of hours. So we opted for a more traditional breakfast.
Photo: The digital menu is posted above the order counter. You have the choice of making your order, - and paying for it - at the kiosk, or you can do the same at the counter, as the friendly staff will be happy to accommodate you.
Our menu choice, the "American Breakfast" wasn't on the digital menu, as it was located on a sign near the maze where you wait to order. Perhaps that's why it didn't appear on the kiosks?
Photo: Eddie, the super-friendly counter guy, takes breakfast orders from other customers. When I mentioned to him the "American Breakfast" wasn't on the menu from the touch screen station, he just laughed and said that he'd be glad to take my order at the counter. What a difference between friendly Eddie, the "grumpy eggman" that we met during our visit the Food Court 12 years ago!
Base Camp Eatery is still a cafeteria, as you make your selection from the kiosk, or the digital menu posted above the counter, you pay for it, and then Eddie or one of the other friendly staff members will hand your pre-made order to you, complete with plastic plate and plastic cover. But unlike Food Court - which I believe was serving leftovers from the week before - the food is warm, fresh and it actually tastes good!
Photo: The dining room is absolutely HUGE, and I estimate that it could accommodate 200 people or more. If you're not into the food served by Base Camp Eatery, there is a Starbuck's co-located next door. Note the condiment, soda and coffee serving station to the left of the photo. Despite the many positive upgrades, this restaurant is basically a cafeteria. But, I have no complaints...
Photo: Talk about a "million dollar" view of lush Yosemite Valley, out one of the many windows that afford panoramic views of the beautiful scenery. On this Friday morning, the restaurant was completely illuminated by using natural light from the many large windows.
Photo: Eddie, my friendly server and counter guy, dishes up my breakfast. I ordered the "American Breakfast," and everything was already pre-cooked in the stainless steel containers to his side - like in a Reno buffet - so all he had to do was dish up my breakfast.
Eddie, and the fellow staff seem very happy in their jobs, as everybody had a smile on their face, and we were treated like family.
Photo: I smile, as I'm ready to dig into my "American Breakfast," with a friendly bottle of Tapatio hot sauce to enhance the flavor.
Photo: My "American Breakfast" was pre-made, but it was warm, fresh and delicious. As I mentioned before, it was sort of like a Reno buffet breakfast, except you don't serve yourself.
With the "American Breakfast," you get a choice of either bacon or sausage, home fry potatoes, scrambled eggs and a biscuit. Dummy me, as I could have had my biscuit labeled with gravy... why didn't I ask?
Here's the interesting thing: I ordered sausage, but my breakfast was served with bacon instead. When I pointed that out to them, instead of serving me a new breakfast, they added sausage at no charge! I got double the meat! I thanked Eddie for that and mentioned that I'd never had a restaurant do that before. He chuckled and said something like "Our fault, we like to keep our customers happy." I'm happy indeed, and that's great customer service!
I would describe the food being cooked as "medium," which is great with me, as I'm not looking for anything fancy. Unlike my previous visit, the food was warm, fresh, and tasted like something you'd get in a buffet in Reno. Good food, and I was very happy with my breakfast experience at Base Camp Eatery.
Base Camp Eatery provides a decent breakfast, in an informal setting, at prices that are in line with what you'd expect in a National Park. The staff is friendly, the dining room is squeaky clean, the portions are ample, and the view out the large windows is priceless.
Base Camp Eatery
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