Unless you live in Kern County, California, you've probably never heard of the small community of Buttonwillow. If you've buzzed down Interstate-5, as you've passed the Buttonwillow exit from the freeway - the small town of Buttonwillow is actually located a couple miles west of the freeway exit - you may have noticed the exit features many motels, gas station, a convenience store or two, and several restaurants. Exit the freeway, and you're in for a treat. If you're in the mood for breakfast, I'd highly recommend paying a visit to Willow Ranch Restaurant.
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: It's around 9 in the morning on a chilly, rainy Monday morning, December 31, 2018, and I've arrived at Willow Ranch Restaurant for breakfast.
The restaurant is located off I-5 at the Buttonwillow freeway exit, and is a favorite of locals, truckers, 5th-wheelers, and travelers on the interstate.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, this little guy greets with daily specials, but it seems there weren't any specials posted today. This "mascot" is very appropriate, as the Buttonwillow community is noted for it's numerous cattle ranches.
Photo: View of the restaurant as you enter the front door. Christmas decorations are still up, even though it's New Year's Eve, which lend a festive atmosphere to the dreary morning. If you look closely, you'll notice the reflection of the photographer, as he snaps the photo.
Photo: Since I was dining my myself, as sat at the counter, which is my usual tactic, as it gives you a chance to chit-chat with the staff, and watch them in action. The two gentlemen sitting at the counter are Buttonwillow local ranchers, and spent much of the time talking about the joys of cattle ranching in Kern County.
Photo: After sitting at the counter, and ordering a delicious cup of coffee - which I truly needed - I had a chance to look over the breakfast menu. I almost went for the "Tri-Tip" breakfast, but I was truly hungry, so I went for the "Country Fried Steak." At the price of $13.95, I guessed it was big, but I asked my friendly server, Amber, and she said it is HUGE! After it arrived, I could see she wasn't kidding. You'll note the restaurant features diner cuisine, which is what I like.
As an aside, when I pulled up to the restaurant, I noticed the word "BBQ" on the sign. After placing my order, and after getting a refill of coffee, I asked my server when barbecue is available. She said "Anytime the restaurant is open." Looks like I missed my calling in life, as I could have ordered barbecue for breakfast. Next time...
Photo: After placing my order, I had a chance to look around, and take a few photos of the large dining room. The decor could be best described as "country," which works perfectly in Buttonwillow.
Photo: As I'm sitting at the counter, I'm watching Amber pick up orders from the kitchen window, and delivering them to other tables. On this Monday morning, the restaurant was quite busy.
Photo: Meet Amber, my friendly hostess, who delivers my order with a smile. It's not much of a journey from the kitchen window to my place at the counter.
I saw the chef place my order on the kitchen counter, but I NEVER had thought it would arrive on two plates, so I has taken by surprised when Amber delivered my order to me, and I had to do some fast photography.
Photo: Thanks, Amber, as I smile, as I know I'm going to get full, and enjoy a delicious breakfast of country fried steak at Willow Ranch Restaurant.
Photo: My breakfast of "Country Fried Steak," was HUGE, and would satisfy the breakfast appetite of any long-haul trucker, or for that matter, an NFL linebacker. If you count the plate the biscuit and gravy arrived on, this is a THREE-PLATE-BREAKFAST!!! This definitely put me in business...
The HUGE steak arrived on it's own plate, covered in gravy. You get a knife, but it's mostly for decoration, as the steak was so tender you could cut it with a fork. You get the choice between hash brown or country fried potatoes; I chose the country fried and they came with bell pepper and diced onion. Yummy. Eggs are fried over easy, which is my de facto standard. You have your choice of toast, English muffin, or biscuit and gravy. For me, that's a "no-brainer" as biscuit and gravy always wins in my book.
The breakfast was both delicious and HUGE! Everything was cooked perfectly, and it arrived in a timely manner, about 15 minutes after placing my order. At $13.95, it's not cheap, but you get A LOT OF FOOD for your money, and it's delicious, and will keep you going for the rest of the day.
By the way, after I got home and dinner time arrived, I opted for a small salad, as I was still full from breakfast.
The restaurant is "country," the service is outstanding, the dining room is comfortable, and the delicious food definitely reflects the taste of residents of the southern San Joaquin Valley. When you're in the mood for a great breakfast, and you're driving on I-5, I'd highly recommend a stop at Willow Ranch Restaurant, located in Buttonwillow, CA.
Willow Ranch Restaurant
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