Rivers Edge Cafe is one of the more popular breakfast and lunch restaurants in the greater Sacramento region for many reasons, including amazing "Americana" cuisine, friendly, casual dining, a comfortable, "dog friendly" patio, friendly staff, and the amazing owners, who treat all guests like family. Rivers Edge Cafe is well-known to "foodies" and all those who appreciate hospitality in the greater Sacramento area for good reason...
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 a little after 11 o'clock in the morning, Saturday, May 23, 2020, and once again, Rivers Edge Cafe is open for business after being closed for over two months.
In late March, due to the COVID-19 scare, the county forced all dine-in restaurants to close, and offer only take-out or curbside pick-up. Those options didn't work for Rivers Edge Cafe, so the owners were forced to close the business, and furlough all of their employees. Happily, today the dining room and the patio re-opened, to welcome guest, and treat them to the excellent cuisine the restaurant is famous for.
We're looking at the restaurant from the lovely patio, which is now VERY spacious, thanks to the "social distancing" requirements of the county.
Photo: Just as during my previous visits to this friendly restaurant, as you enter, you'll be greeted by the friendly staff, who will welcome you like family.
Due to Sacramento County's restriction, re-opening the restaurant was an achievement. The restaurant re-opened only two hours before my visit, with significant changes, thanks to the COVID-19 scare.
Prior to the current virus scare, Rivers Edge Cafe was a full service, sit-town restaurant, but is now is required to operate on what I call the "taqueria" format. The way this works is you walk to the order counter, make your selection, pay for your order, and then you're rewarded with a number. You seat yourself, but you're required to "social distance" yourself from other guests, and when your order is ready, it will be brought to you. The "format" is not what it used to be, but it works in these troubled times. All staff members are required to wear masks, and those who have contact with food are required to wear disposable gloves. Guests aren't required to wear masks, thank goodness.
Photo: One section of the lunch menu, which is protected by plexiglass. You can look, but you can't touch, as printed menus at your table are a "no-no" on this day in late May, 2020. Rivers Edge Cafe re-opened today, but operates on significantly reduced hours, with less staff. The bright side is that everything listed on the menu is available anytime the restaurant is open.
I went to the "Gourmet Burgers" section of the menu, I started at the top, and stopped when I came to "Hornet."
Photo: The main dining room in the Coronavirus days is quite spacious... may I say nearly bare?
Photo: Meet Shannon Park, along with her charming husband Tony, is the co-owner of this fine restaurant. She brought my "Hornet" to my seat on the patio with a smile, as Shannon is a wonderful person. I've known her for over ten years, and every time I visit her amazing restaurant, she treats me like family.
Photo: Thanks, friendly Shannon, for snapping my photo, as I prepare to enjoy my "Hornet," along with a side of fries. I'm sitting the patio, as the weather is in the low-70's, which makes a perfect day for outside dining, and outside dining is especially encouraged these COVID-19 times.
Note that my meal arrived on a plastic tray, my burger and fries were served on a paper plate, and that I'm using pre-wrapped, disposable plastic utensils. There are no salt and pepper shakers, and no bottles of mustard or ketchup on the table, and my ice water is served in a disposable cup, complete with plastic straw. Ketchup in a little cup... no worries. I foresee a lot more stuff being trucked to local landfills in the near future, but this is the way Sacramento County wants to "roll..."
Photo: From the "Gourmet Burgers" section of the lunch menu, I went with "Hornet," with I assume is named after the mascot of nearby Sacramento State College, which just happens to be a hornet. The menu states the burger includes, "Bacon, Cheddar, eggs, jalapiņos, grilled onions, tomatoes, lettuce and Thousand Island." Choice of sides includes fries, coleslaw or salad. For a nominal extra fee, you can add seasoned fries or sweet potato fries. As always, I went with a simple order of fries, and I'm glad that I went in that direction.
When you place your order, the meeter/greeter/cashier asks your preference as to how you want your meat patty cooked - which is always a nice touch - and I asked my burger to be cooked medium. The burger starts with a large patty of seasoned beef - I'd guess about six ounces- and arrived, as ordered, cooked perfectly medium.
The juicy patty of beef is placed on top of a large, super-fresh bun... maybe brioche? I should have asked... With "Hornet," your burger has a definite "twist," as you get amazingly fresh lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapiņo pepper slices, grilled onion, bacon, Cheddar cheese, a fried egg, all topped off by a helping of Thousand Island dressing. Shannon asked if I wanted steak sauce or mustard, but this burger was just fine the way it was presented to me, so I declined her fine offer. Condiments are not offered on the table in Sacramento County, thanks to the COVID-19 thing that is currently happening...
My choice of sides was fries, which is my de facto standard, and I was absolutely delighted with my fries, as they were perfectly cooked. I'm "salt sensitive," but a certain amount of salt is necessary for fries, and the side of fries I enjoyed were salted just right. (Note: If desired, more salt is easily added so why salt the fies to death?) The fries were deep fried to a light, golden brown, and were salted just right, and not at all greasy or oily. The fries were large, almost the size of steak fries, they arrived hot from the kitchen, and were absolutely delicious. There was also a spear of dill pickle with the burger, hidden behind the generous mountain of fries.
This is an "old school" burger, as it's BIG, juicy, loaded with lots of "goodies" and you definitely need two hands to enjoy the goodness. As with the trademark of a superior burger, the meat, cheese, bacon, egg and bun is "warm," and the lettuce, tomato and diced jalapiņo peppers are "cool," which makes for a superior burger sensation. The meat-to-bun ration was perfect, and all ingredients complemented one another, which led to an amazing burger "sensation." The cheese was perfectly melted, and you could TASTE it... which made for a burger to rave about. Anyway you look at it, Rivers Edge Cafe makes a great burger, and "Hornet" is a burger that burger lovers will savor!
Photo: I cut my amazing burger in half, to more easily enjoy the goodness, as my hands are on the small side. You can see the goodness in this burger. The chef at Rivers Edge Cafe has talent!
Lets go back to Monday, November 11, 2019, when Rivers Edge Cafe hosted a free breakfast for all service veterans, and was covered on local television...
Photo: Monday, November 11, 2019, to honor veterans, Rivers Edge Cafe held a "Veterans Day Breakfast," where veterans eat for free, and I was invited to attend. How could I ever pass on a free breakfast? It's just after the 0730 opening of the restaurant, and I'm in the mood to enjoy an amazing Veteran's Day breakfast, at Rivers Edge Cafe, thanks to the hospitality of friendly owners, Tony and Shannon Park.
Sacramento television Channel 13's truck is parked in front, as we'll be on local television, as we enjoy our delicious breakfast.
Photo: As you walk into the restaurant, you'll be greeted by a friendly meeter/greeter who will seat you in the spacious dining room, or if you prefer, you may sit at the bar. You'll notice the bar as soon as you enter the restaurant, and you'll notice several varieties of beer on tap, along with a small espresso bar behind the counter.
Rivers Edge Cafe offers a family-friendly dining room, amazing hospitality, where staff treat guests like family. If you have a sweet tooth, you've arrived at the right restaurant, as complimentary cookies and coffee are offered at the bar for all guests. For those who use a wheelchair, there are a couple places at the counter, and of course all have easy access to the spacious dining room.
Today is a special day, as the bar is decorated to honor veterans of all branches of the armed forces, and this morning, the restaurant is giving a free breakfast to all who have served our country.
Photo: The dining room is comfortable, spacious, and features booths along the walls, and tables out on the floor. I suppose if you had to put a label on the decor, you'd label it as "contemporary," but it's comfortable and has a very clean look and layout. There are a few pictures on the walls, and a number of large screen television monitors, several of which are replaying and rehashing the exciting NFL football action from yesterday.
The dining room is very busy on this mid-Monday morning, November 11, 2019, as the owners of Rivers Edge Cafe are offering a free breakfast to all veterans.
Photo: The "Fan Favorites" and "Healthy Selections" page of the extensive breakfast menu features many favorites and innovative offerings. There is another page of the breakfast menu that features omelettes, griddle favorites, along with "comfort food" American classics. There are another two pages of lunch choices, as the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch.
Photo: To show their support, and honor veterans, today, Veterans Day, November 11, the owners of Rivers Edge Cafe, Shannon and Tony Park, offered a free breakfast to all who served, from restaurant's opening hour at 07:30, until 11:00 in the morning. They graciously offered a breakfast of "Stuffed Hash Browns," along with a cup of coffee, to all veterans, and active duty personnel in the armed forces.
I happen to be personal friends with the Parks, and I, along with a host of other veterans, friends and "foodies," were offered a special invitation to sit at the counter of the restaurant and enjoy breakfast on Tony and Shannon's dime. To add to the festivities, "Good Day Sacramento," one of the local morning news/magazine television shows, planned to do a live television broadcast during the 9 o'clock hour.
Shannon set a number of dishes, representative of some of the choices of the breakfast menu, on the counter, for the benefit of the television camera, but for the benefit of the invited guests, and any veterans who happened to come in for a free breakfast.
"Stuffed Hash Browns" comes from the "Fan Favorites" section of the breakfast menu, and includes hash brown potatoes, stuffed with bacon, sour cream and cheddar cheese. The hash browns are fried on the griddle to a golden brown, then stuffed with all of the goodies for a true taste sensation. "Stuffed Hash Browns" is a signature breakfast menu offering at Rivers Edge Cafe, and it something that you don't want to miss.
Thank you, Shannon Park, for graciously allowing me to publish the photo.
Photo: Meet Cloe, the friendly gal behind the bar who has just created an amazing "Bloody Mary," complete with bacon, for another diner.
Photo: I couldn't resist ordering the "Hangover 2," and it's brought to my by co-owner Shannon, with a smile. I've known Shannon and her husband Tony for a number of years, and they welcome me, and all guests with a friendly smile, and treat everybody as family.
Photo: Thanks, Shannon, for snapping my photo, as I prepare to enjoy my delicious "Hangover 2" today at Rivers Edge Cafe. I didn't have a hangover, but if I did, this amazing breakfast would be a sure cure for it.
Photo: From the "Fan Favorites" page of the breakfast menu, I ordered the "Hangover 2" which has everything that I love, including the "Big Stuffed Hash Browns," biscuits, with country sausage gravy, along with two fried eggs. This breakfast is a sure cure if you have a hangover, but I haven't suffered a hangover for over 50 years, so for me, this breakfast was just a true delight...
The "Big Stuffed Hash Browns" is listed as a separate item of the breakfast menu - which is a meal in itself for most people - and it's the centerpiece of "Hangover 2" meal. "Hangover 2" is BIG... no... it's GIGANTIC and includes a GIANT slab of perfectly golden fried hash brown potatoes stuffed with bacon, sausage slices, onion, sour cream, jack and cheddar cheese. I "assume" it starts out as two slabs of hash brown potatoes on the griddle, with the bacon, sausage, sour cream placed on top of one slab, and then the other slab is placed on top. Whatever the case, when you sink your fork into this creation, and take a bite, you're rewarded with a taste sensation that defies description. Think of crisp, perfectly fried hash brown potatoes combined with gooey cheese, a little sour cream to hold it all together, onion to add a little pizzazz, and bacon with sausage to bring out the "pork" in you. I've never had anything like this before!
If the giant stuffed hash browns aren't enough for you, the breakfast includes TWO fresh, in-house made biscuits, covered with thick, rich sausage gravy, with lots of chunks of sausage. Rivers Edge Cafe gives you lots of gravy, so you can dip a piece of your stuffed hash browns into it for a taste sensation that would make John Wayne proud.
The breakfast is rounded out by two eggs, cooked to your preference. In my case, I ordered my eggs fried over easy, and they arrived just the way I ordered them - over easy - placed on top of the stuffed hash browns for an attractive presentation, and a good place to start with this amazing breakfast.
This breakfast is simply amazing! Everything works together to make a tasty breakfast, and a true breakfast sensation. This breakfast is BIG, it's the breakfast of champions and "foodies," and unless you have the appetite of Paul Bunyan, or an NFL linebacker, this delicious breakfast will keep you satisfied all day.
Photo: Shannon presents a "Country Fried Steak" breakfast with a smile. The restaurant made quite a few sample dishes and placed them on the counter for the benefit of the television program, and for the many hungry and "foodie" veterans present.
Photo: From the "Traditional Favorites" section of the breakfast menu, this is the "Country Fried Steak" breakfast. The country fried steak comes battered, smothered in country gravy, sprinkled with bacon, and rests on a split open biscuit.. You get eggs cooked your way, and the choice of hash browns, or country potatoes.
The foundation of this amazing breakfast is a large piece of ribeye steak, pounded flat, battered, and deep fried to a rich golden brown, southern style. Rivers Edge Cafe has considerable expertise in breakfast, and that skill shows in the country fried steak, as it's simply delicious, perfectly seasoned, and has the right batter-to-meat ratio. The delicious crispy batter enhances the meat rather than smothers it. The meat rests on top of a split biscuit, and it's topped with a generous helping of creamy, country gravy, with lots of sausage, and sprinkled with bacon pieces for an added taste dimension.
You get your choice of hash browns or seasoned, country fried potatoes. If you choose the country potato option, you'll be treated to diced, red potatoes, with the skin on, seasoned, and fried to a light, golden brown. The potatoes are diced to the perfect size, and they're juicy and tender,seasoned, yet they sport just a little "crisp" on the outside, and are heavenly when dipped into the amazing gravy included with the meal. The breakfast includes two eggs any way you order them, in this case I took a different fork in the road, and went with scrambled eggs.
The "Country Fried Steak" is a breakfast lover's dream! For any good ol' southern folks, or those who savor a taste of the south, you'll love the "Country Fried Steak" breakfast served at Rivers Edge Cafe.
Photo: From the "Griddle Favorites" section of the breakfast menu, Shannon placed a stack of "Apple Pancakes" on the counter, which comes with a small cup of maple syrup. The pancakes are a stack of three buttermilk pancakes, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with candied apple slices. This breakfast is sure to satisfy those with a sweet tooth!
Photo: Shannon shows a plate of "French Toast," which is enhanced by an optional topping of fruit. "The Breakfast Club" is on the counter, ready to enjoy.
Photo: From the "Griddle Favorites" section of the breakfast menu, this is the "French Toast" offering,with an included bowl of maple syrup, and optional fruit topping. Quite a variety of fruit toppings are offered, but today, it's strawberry, blueberry, along with colorful cereal flakes for added presentation.
Photo: "The Breakfast Club" sandwich, from the "Fan Favorites" section of the menu, served with fries, makes for an amazing breakfast sandwich, if that's what you're hungry for. The sandwich includes ham, bacon, avocado, fried egg, tomato with cheddar cheese, on grilled bread, with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on for enhancement. The sandwich comes with your choice of fries, country or hash brown potatoes.
Photo: Co-owner of the restaurant, Shannon, smiles as she presents a "Griddle Combo," from the "Griddle Favorites" section of the breakfast menu. The combo meal includes your choice of pancakes, french toast or waffle, served with two eggs, and two strips of bacon, or sausage links. Today, I believe the waffle has been "enhanced," as it's topped with optional candied apple slices for both a taste sensation, and a beautiful presentation.
Photo: Shannon presents plates of "Simply Eggs," along with a "San Francisco Joe's." This lady has talent in order to hold two plates and smile at the same time.
Photo: From the "Traditional Favorites" section of the breakfast menu, this is "Simply Eggs." In this case, two eggs, fried sunnyside up, rest on top a bowl of country potatoes, along with grilled bell pepper and onion. Such a great dish if you're trying to watch your weight, or if you're not in the mood for meat!
Photo: This is the "San Francisco Joe's" omelet, from the "Homestyle Omelet" section of the breakfast menu. For the side, you get your choice of seasoned potatoes, hash browns and toast. If you care to do without the toast, you can order pancakes instead.
"San Francisco Joe's" omelet starts with three eggs, and is stuffed with ground beef, cheddar cheese, onions, and spinnach, which would make this Popeye's favorite omelet.
Photo: How could you resist an "All American" breakfast, when the star of the breakfast plate are a couple of thick, juicy sausage links? For meat, you get your choice of ham, bacon or sausage links, and your sides can be hash brown or seasoned, country potatoes. The meal includes your choice of toast, but you can order pancakes if you choose. For a few extra bucks, if you're in a decadent mood and you order hash browns, you can get them stuffed, which should keep you going until dinner, or maybe breakfast the next day! Naturally, the meal includes two eggs, fried any way you want them. Such a great breakfast!
Photo: With today being Veteran's Day, Rivers Edge Cafe offered free breakfast to all veterans. The counter was decorated, as a few veteran friends - all of whom are "foodies" - were invited to dine at the counter, and enjoy the wonderful hospitality the restaurant has to offer.
Seated at the counter, from near to far, Barney, Steve, Steve, Guy, your author, and buddy Ron. These are a great group of guys, and I enjoyed chatting with them, and exchanging "war storries." Thanks to Shannon Park for allowing me to use her photo.
Photo: Restaurant owners Shannon and Tony Park chat with invited Viet Nam veteran guest Steve, over a cup of tea, at the well equipped breakfast counter. Nobody left the restaurant hungry today!
Photo: The camera guy from "Good Day Sacramento" films various selections from the breakfast menu, laid out on the counter for all to enjoy. Shannon looks on, as "Good Day" reporter, Lori Wallace, gets ready for her part of the broadcast.
Photo: Television reporter Lori Wallace broadcasts a segment of "Good Day Sacramento" live from Rivers Edge Cafe. "Good Day" broadcast live to promote the free breakfasts the restaurant was giving to veterans, in order to honor their service.
Photo: I couldn't resist hugging reporter Lori Wallace, and have my picture taken with her. Chatting with Lori, I discovered that she's a really nice person, with a charming personality, and an outstanding broadcast journalist.
Photo: The "gang" of invited veterans pose for the camera, outside the front door of the restaurant. Co-owner Tony Park on the extreme left, followed by your author standing next to him. In the front, co-owner Shannon Park stands next to "Good Day Sacramento" reporter, Lori Wallace, who is holding the microphone. Good times were enjoyed by everybody!
Thank you, Shannon Park, for allowing me to publish this photo.
I really wasn't quite sure where to put this article; is it a "foodie" event, or a restaurant review? In the end I decided to publish this article as a restaurant review, and include all of the "foodie" good times, thanks to the hospitality of the amazing owners of the restaurant, Shannon and Tony, along with the reporter and camera guy of "Good Day Sacramento."
Rivers Edge Cafe serves a quality breakfast, in a spacious dining room, and as you're enjoying you're amazing meal, you'll be treated to perhaps the friendliest staff in the greater Sacramento area. After you've spent some time hiking, biking, or relaxing on the nearby American River Parkway, stop by Rivers Edge Cafe for a mouth watering meal that will keep you happy and satisfied for the rest of your day.
Rivers Edge Cafe
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