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How many restaurants in the greater Sacramento, CA area serve a decent breakfast?  Well, that's almost like asking the question of how many grains of sand are scattered on the fabulous Copacabana beach, or how many stars are in the sky...  which leads to many unanswered questions.  As of this writing, on March 21, 2008, the Sacramento Breakfast Club has visited 30-plus restaurants in the greater Sacramento area.  Our goal is to visit every locally-owned, one-of-a-kind restaurant that serves a decent breakfast in the metro area, but with so many grains of sand on the beach, we have a lot of sand to shovel. With so many new restaurants, a.k.a., mountains to conquer, why do we keep returning to Charlie's Cafe?  Simple:  Delicious food, reasonable prices, huge portions, and folks who remember our names, and treat us like a member of their extended family.

Photo:  Charlie's Cafe is located at 8000 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights, CA, just a few miles northeast of the state capital city of Sacramento.

Charlie's Cafe isn't located in Sacramento, as it's located in the nearby city of Citrus Heights, yet it's included in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area and it's located within the scope of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.

How can you do a write-up about a restaurant that you've visited many times before?  How can you evoke new words and phrases to describe a wonderful breakfast experience in a restaurant that you've visited many times before? Believe me, it's not a problem when you enjoy breakfast at Charlie's Cafe.

Photo:  Our group is seated in the center of Charlie's dining room.  The decor is very "down-home," and very informal, in keeping with the theme of the restaurant.

You don't believe me?  You think I'm lying to you?  OK... I'll put this into the present tense (remember that phrase from your college English?)  On March 21, 2008, I have a day off work, so I arrive at Charlie's before the rest of the gang arrives, as they all had to work.  I walk into the restaurant, and I'm immediately greeted by co-owner Charlie, and the manager of the restaurant, friendly Cheryl.  Both of them greet me with "Hi Eric, we haven't seen you for a while, good to see you..."  and Cheryl seats me at a table in the middle of the restaurant.  Sure, I haven't been to Charlie's in a couple of months, but the folks remember me, and treat me like a member of the family.  Ding!  

Photo:  Cheryl brings orders of breakfast burritos to Dan and David.

After I've taken my seat, hot, flavorful, and delicious hot coffee arrives.  Menus are placed on the table, by friendly waitress Cheryl , and bowls are placed on the table that are filled with those little containers of half cream/half milk, which are just the right size for a cup of coffee.  Since the creamer is already on the table, you don't have to pester friendly Cheryl or Melissa for more creamer for your coffee.  Ding! Ding!  Country music is playing in the background, loud enough so you can hear it, yet soft enough so you can carry on a conversation with the person next to you, or another person at your table, or even another customer across the dining room,  in a normal voice.  Ding! Ding!  Ding!  Oh yes, your coffee cup, maybe, gets half empty, and then Cheryl, Melissa or Charlie will appear with a fresh pot of delicious coffee to give you a refill.  Ding! Ding!  Ding!  Ding!

Photo:  How could I resist not to snap a photo of lovely Cheryl, as she places my order of New York steak and eggs on our table?  

Friday, March 21, 2008, I arrived at Charlie's before core Sacramento Breakfast Club members, David, Dan and Bruce arrived, as I had the day off work, so I was able to stake out a table, and enjoy a few cups of coffee by my lonesome before the gang arrived.  Today we had a new attendee to our meeting,  Mark McIntire, who is a co-worker on the night shift, and a true lover of a fine breakfast. 

Picture this:  I'm sitting at the middle of the busy restaurant, at a table for eight, listening to country music, watching the busy wait staff do their jobs, reading over the extensive breakfast menu, sipping delicious coffee, and just enjoying life in general, as I wait for my friends to arrive.  Does life get any better?  Yes it does, as Charlie, Melissa and Cheryl refill my coffee cup, and take the time to not only welcome me to the restaurant ... again ... but to sit beside me, exchange small talk, and make me feel like a part of their extended family.  Actually, when you visit Charlie's Cafe, you are part of their family, and that's a nice place to be.

Photo:  Melissa keeps our coffee cups full, while Bruce smiles for the digital cameral.

Since I arrived for breakfast early, before the rest of the gang, I had a lot of time to look over Charlie's extensive breakfast menu...  so many items, so little room in my stomach.  Actually, the breakfast menu offered at Charlie's Cafe is almost mind-boggling, as the menu offers a huge array of classic, Sacramento-style breakfast entrees, plus everything on the menu is tantalizing,grabs your attention, and is reasonably priced.

By the time the rest of the guys arrived, I had put about six cups of coffee down my throat, and I'd already decided what I wanted to order from Charlie's extensive breakfast menu:  New York steak and eggs.  Charlie's doesn't offer a wimpy New York steak breakfast, as their menu offers a man-sized 8-oz steak, 3 eggs, homestyle potatoes, with biscuits and gravy, or toast, on the side.  I skip the toast, as biscuits and gravy are the de facto standard breakfast side dish for the Sacramento Valley, and a favorite of mine.  

Photo:  The March 21, 2008 Sacramento Breakfast Club members are, from left to right, Eric Rench, your author and webmaster, Dan MacLeod, Mark McIntire, David DeMario and Bruce Coulter.  Photo snapped by our lovely waitress Cheryl.

It doesn't matter what side of the political fence you sit on, as if you're a Republican or a Democrat,  liberal or a conservative, when you're a Charlie's and you're with the Sacramento Breakfast Club, as we're all family.  Today's breakfast choices...  Dan, David and Mark ordered Charlie's Breakfast burrito, with biscuits and gravy on the side, Bruce ordered Charlie's Omelet, and your web author ordered the eight-ounce New York Steak, which includes three eggs, homestyle potatoes, with diced onions and peppers, and a side dish of...  you guessed it, biscuits and gravy. Naturally, my eggs were requested to be cooked over easy, and my steak was to be cooked medium.  

Photo: My breakfast of a 8-oz New York steak, cooked to my specifications, homestyle potatoes, with bell peppers and onions added, three eggs, fried over easy, and a side order of biscuits and gravy. Mmmmmmmm good!

When you visit Charlie's Cafe, you'll enjoy fast friendly service, but it does take a few minutes for the staff to prepare breakfast, so if you're a free-lance writer like I am, you just have a tendency force open a few doors, and go to places where few reporters even tread.  Yes, with the blessing of co-owner Charlie, I was able to penetrate the kitchen, which is the core, or the kernel... oh yes! dare I say the Unix of the restaurant? ... and I was able to see what takes place behind the scene, in the kitchen, where the rubber meets the road.  I can attest that the kitchen at Charlie's Cafe is spotlessly clean, well organized, and a model of efficiency.  Heck, if Charlie allows me to penetrate and photograph her kitchen, it can't be all that bad!

Food at Charlie's Cafe can be described as, delicious.  Service can be described as fast, friendly, efficient, yet non-intrusive.  Atnosphere?  Let's see... Family. Friendly. Wonderful.  Portions:  Huge. Presentation:  Beautiful.  Location:  Convenient and lots of parking.  Extra: They will greet you with "Hello Eric, hello Dan...etc"  which is priceless.  Price:  Reasonable, as you get your money's worth, and you'll leave with a smile on your face.

Photo:  Charlie, co-owner of the restaurant, and Cheryl, posing for our camera.  Charlie works as hard as her staff do, to keep everything perfect at her wonderful restaurant.

Extra proof of Charlie's wonderful food?  I had to opportunity to catch off-duty waitress Brenda, and her two beautiful children seated at the counter at Charlie's, enjoying a breakfast on her day off from the restaurant...  How many employees dine at their place of employment during their off hours?   Let's see... a person who serves the food... comes into the restaurant on her own time... brings her two kids into the place to enjoy a breakfast... does that ring up?  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding! Ding!  Ding! ... does that show you how good and wholesome the food is... maybe it rates just one more ding?

Photo:  Off-duty waitress Brenda and her children pose for the camera.  You know that Charlie's serves delicious meals, if an off-duty staff member dines at the restaurant on her own time.  Yes, Brenda is very easy on my eyes, and the glass eye of my digital camera.

Core Breakfast Club member, and breakfast technical support guy David, during his wanderings around the area, discovered Charlie's Cafe, and Charlie's has become the de facto standard of our breakfast club.  We love Charlie's Cafe, and if you visit the place, and enjoy their delicious breakfast, you'll be a believer, as we are.  Charlie's Cafe is highly recommended... actually recommended beyond whatever...  just visit the restaurant and you'll see what I mean...

Photo:  The rubber meets the road inside Charlie's kitchen...  Her kitchen is spotless and efficient.  How many times do you get to tour the kitchen of a restaurant?  Charlie's rules!

As a charter member of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, mere words can't describe Charlie's Cafe ,as it's that good. If you're a fan of a delicious breakfast, the Sacramento Breakfast Club recommends that you just get off of your bar stool, or wherever you've parked yourself, and visit Charlie's Cafe, for a breakfast that will keep a smile on your face for the rest of your day.

Charlie's Cafe
8000 Auburn Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
916 726-4772

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