Back in August, 2007, members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club held a meeting at Country Gables Café in Roseville, and like we always do, we published an article on our web site about our breakfast experience, which I remember as a very enjoyable experience. We were drawn to the restaurant by a banner on the outside of the restaurant read "Voted "Best Breakfast in Roseville... " and we couldn't really say if it was the best breakfast in town, it was certainly delicious and the restaurant met or exceeded all of our criteria for a great breakfast restaurant. We had planned a follow-up visit, but sometimes things change...
Photo: If it wasn't for the smaller plants, and the new sign, you'd think that nothing had changed as you look at the exterior of the restaurant. The tree framing the photo, but check out the new "Country Gables Café" sign, as it's now green, not yellow.
Things really changed for Country Gables Café in May, 2009, as on that Monday evening, the restaurant suffered a devastating fire that rendered the place a total loss. Investigators later determined that the fire started in the restaurant due to a short circuit, but by the time the fire department arrived, the building was fully involved, and all they could do was to pour water on it, and put out the fire. Thankfully, nobody was killed or injured, but Roseville lost a fine breakfast restaurant, and a number of good people were without jobs.
After hearing about the fire on the radio, I drove over the next day to see what was left of the restaurant. Basically, it was a burned out shell, filled with burnt debris of what was once a wonderful to enjoy breakfast. To add insult to injury, it was surrounded by one of those rent-a-fences, which made it look even more forlorn.
After a few weeks, all that remained of Country Gables Café was a concrete slab, a few cracked flower pots sporting weeds, and memories of many great meals.
We had read that the restaurant was fully insured, and that the owners had vowed to rebuild and reopen, as Country Gables Café always had a fiercely loyal clientele among Roseville locals. But with the economy in a shambles and so much excellent competition, was it really feasible that Country Gables Café would rebuild their clientele, and resume serving great breakfasts? Honestly, I really doubted that it would happen.
Due to many reorganizations at work, 2010 proved to be a challenging year, and the summer of 2010 for me turned out to be the "Summer of Work," as I basically worked 88 to 96 hour weeks from Memorial Day to the middle of October, (but we did get a chance to enjoy the Nugget Rib Cook-off over Labor Day weekend,) so most of my life was spent going from home to work. Although Country Gables Café is only a couple of miles from my place, I never went by the place, as I had little time for anything but eating, sleeping and working.
Photo: This is what it looks like, as you walk in the front door, on a very busy Friday morning in November. The small breakfast counter, and the kitchen are to the right of the photo, as the owner of the restaurant, Sukhi Sander, in the center of the photo, seems to wonder, "Why is this guy taking a photo?" In mere moments after this photo was taken, I explained to him the mission of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.
Photo: Vonnie takes Sharlene's order, as David seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the myriad of choices that the breakfast menu offers.
In the middle of October, the overtime stopped, and I was free to resume a normal life once more. Imagine my surprise one day when I was driving down Washington Blvd., and there, risen from the ashes like a phoenix, stood Country Gables Café, looking almost nothing had ever happened except it had received a fresh coat of paint! I was amazed, as the last time that I'd been by there, which was probably in July, there was nothing but an empty concrete slab, and I hadn't heard about any plans of rebuilding. A quick search of the Internet found that they had reopened for business in early October, 2010, and they were going strong, serving breakfast and lunch to their loyal clientele, like nothing had ever happened. I knew that we needed to hold a club meeting at the place so we could see the metamorphosis up-close, and personal, so when it was my next turn to choose the meeting location, the location would be Country Gables Café.
The bi-monthly club meeting for November came to fruition on Friday morning, November 12, 2010. From the outside, the building looked almost identical as before, except that the plants weren't fully grown, and the paint was very fresh - as the restaurant had only been open for about a month prior to our visit. Just like before, Country Gables provides gorgeous, outdoor dining, on a beautifully landscaped and furnished patio, but on this cool Friday morning, there were no takers, as all of the action was inside. As we walked in the door, we were greeted by the owner of the business, Mr. Sukhi Sander, who greeted us warmly and made us feel at home. Dan, Bev and David had already arrived, and staked out a large table in the main dining room, so we headed over to the table, sat down, and got down to the business of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, which is discussing breakfast, and the endless quest of "what to order from the menu?" It's all good...
After we were seated, we were greeted by our friendly server, Vonnie, who produced menus and coffee... two of the most important items when you're in the mood for breakfast. To most, but not all of the members of our breakfast club, a breakfast without coffee is like a day without sunshine. Needless to say, Country Gables Café excels in coffee, as their reputation has been founded upon breakfast, and what is breakfast without coffee?
The completely rebuilt Country Gables Café is déjà vu, yet it isn't... it's the same in spirit, yet there are many subtle changes. The floor plan is the same, as it's basically an upside down "L" shaped floor plan. As you enter the front door, you're immediately greeted by the cashier's station, on this occasion, manned by the owner of the business, the kitchen and breakfast counter are to your right. You walk through a dining room and then make a hard left, which is the bottom part of the upside down "L," and you walk into another dining room. So the floor plan hasn't changed. The waistcoating and the paneling are gone, along with much of the woodwork, and it's been replaced by pastel painted walls. Much of the former wall decorations, and small shelves holding knick-knacks have been replaced buy just a few wall mounted pictures and decorations, which gives the illusion of more space. The restaurant's decor is very light, attractive, comfortable and contemporary; combine the comfortable surroundings, friendly staff and clientele, and you have a winning combination.
Photo: Take the "L," the "L" being upside down, as Vonnie, dressed in her de facto "uniform" tee shirt, takes Dan's order in the rear of the photo. This is the upside down "L" dining room, which is a fine place to enjoy a great breakfast.
Photo: David is in awe as Vonnie is about to place his "Whole Hog" breakfast in front of him. It turned out that David wasn't going "whole hog," as he couldn't finish it all. I couldn't... could you?
Country Gables Café is now open for dinner; before the rebuild, they were open for breakfast and lunch only. We raised our eyebrows at that change, as we tend to be a bit suspicious of a restaurant that's open for dinner - we prefer a restaurant to be open for breakfast and lunch only - until we noticed on their menu the statement that breakfast is available anytime. Whew! ... we collectively relaxed, as we realized that Country Gables Café hadn't abandoned breakfast as their forward mission statement, and our belief in the fact that they're serious about breakfast was reinforced just looking at the staff, as all of them, with the exception of Sukhi, wore a "uniform" of a brown tee shirt with the statement, "Voted Best Breakfast in Roseville," proudly displayed. That's a true statement, as they were voted "best breakfast in Roseville" by readers of the local newspaper, several years in a row. We were relieved to see that they hadn't been sidetracked from the quest to provide the best breakfast in town.
The menu is, well, déjà vu as well, yet it isn't... with the addition of dinner entrées being the most obvious change. We noted new items have been added to the breakfast menu - we didn't even bother to look at lunch selections... we're a breakfast club - and the menu contains a separate, detached section of breakfast specials. At $3.79, four of them are eye-openers and are obviously loss-leaders. Here's a sample of what $3.79 will buy you for breakfast: A combination plate that includes a 4-oz chicken fried steak, two eggs, hashbrowns and toast. You can add unlimited coffee for only an additional $.99... Wow! They're rolling the price of breakfast back 20 years... the only catch is it's a Monday through Friday thing before 0800. The main breakfast menu is simply sublime, as it features a vast array of choices, and there is no doubt in the mindset of the Sacramento Breakfast Club that each menu choice would be a winner.
Our friendly server Vonnie came around to take our orders. David, Dan and I all had set our sights on "The Country Breakfast," which features two eggs, two pieces of country sausage, biscuits and gravy, and potatoes, until David injected a red herring, as he noticed a addendum to the menu that listed the following: "Smoked Tri Tip Breakfast - Served with 2 eggs, hashbrowns or home fries and toast." Smoked tri tip for breakfast? That was a first for me... I signed up and got on board. Dan stuck to his plan and ordered the "Country Breakfast," and David ordered the "Whole Hog Breakfast." Us guys seemed to order massive, stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts, while the girls, Sharlene and Bev ordered breakfasts on the petite side, yet still bordering on massive, and truly delicious. Bev ordered a breakfast featuring a ham and cheese omelet, while Sharlene ordered the "California Benedict," complete with poached eggs, avocado slices, tomatoes, English muffins and lots of hollandaise sauce.
Our breakfasts arrived in a timely manner, thanks to the friendly and efficient service of Vonnie. Needless to say, we were all dazzled and amazed at the breakfasts placed before us, due to the freshness, the quality, the quantity, and the friendly service. There is no doubt in our minds that Country Gables Café has earned the "Best Breakfast in Roseville" award - all you have to do is to have a server set a breakfast in front of you, and the sight and smell of it will trigger your senses into shouting ... BREAKFAST!!!
Oh yes, my breakfast was good. I ordered the smoked tri tip, with two eggs, fried over easy, sourdough toast, and as a departure in my usual m.o.p., I ordered hashbrowns, but in loving memory of our departed breakfast club member, Brad Holther, I ordered a cup of breakfast gravy on the side. Sharlene allowed me to sample her "California Benedict," ... it was so good that maybe I'll order it during our next club meeting at Country Gables. I didn't get to sample, not that I'd want to sample, Dan and David's breakfast, nor did I sample Bev's, but everybody raved at the quality, the quantity, and the overall merit of the food. Speaking of quantity, I was the only one in the club that was able to sprint to the finish line... the other club members were overwhelmed by the quantity of the breakfast. Unless you're a lumber jack, a truck driver or a linebacker, you'll leave Country Gables with a full stomach, as the portions cam be described as ample, or maybe even huge.
Photo: I pose beside Sukhi Sander, owner, cashier, coffee filler, clean-up guy, and chief cook and bottle washer, and all-around nice guy.
Photo: Today's Sacramento Breakfast Club members, from left to right: Eric Rench, your photographer, web master, editor, and CEO of the club, Dan MacLeod, David DeMario, who loves to hoist a coffee cup for the camera, Bev MacLeod, and Sharlene Rench. The photo was graciously taken by Sukhi Sander, owner of the business.
A word about the owner of the restaurant, Mr. Sukhi Sander. He has other enterprises besides Country Gables, but in chatting with him, his true love is Country Gables Café, and his true love is, you guessed it... breakfast! Sukhi wears many hats, as he fulfills the role of owner, cashier, greeter, coffee-guy, and who-knows-what-else... and he's very friendly, a great conversationalist, a congenial host, and an all-around nice guy. We watched him in action, and by his friendly chatting with fellow diners, body language and whatever, we could tell that running the restaurant was his true passion, which translates into outstanding breakfasts.
Country Gables Café is not a truck stop, diner or a roadhouse, as it's miles away from busy I-80, so you won't see truckers, Freightliners, 5th wheelers, or the highway crowd at the restaurant. What you will see are lots of locals, all of them friendly, and all of them enjoying some of the best breakfast cuisine available in Placer County. Yes, we usually look for the highway crowd when we pick a restaurant, but there are exceptions to every guideline, and Country Gables is the exception, as it's a exceptional restaurant.
If you've ever studied the life science of botany, you may remember that some plants, such as Black Oak trees, or Pondorosa Pine trees re-seed better after a fire has swept through, and triggered the re-seeding process. Could have that happened with Country Gables Café, as it that they've emerged from the fire, healthier, better, stronger, and more innovative then before... maybe the fire was a good thing? That's not my call, but all of agreed that Country Gables Café was good before the fire, but now it's even better!
This place rocks, this place rolls, and this place screams... this place is dead-serious about breakfast, and if you're in the mood for a quality breakfast experience, Country Gables Café is the place to be.
Photo: If you're curious about smoked tri tip for breakfast, look no further than this photo. Yes, the tri tip was smoked, tender, and good! The hasbrowns were perfect, the fried eggs over easy we cooked perfectly; ditto for the sourdough toast, and the bowl of breakfast gravy covered everything with class... and lots more.
Tell you the truth, this was a fun review to do. Sometimes, I have to research, research, and research some more to come up with something to write about, in describing a breakfast club meeting, but in the case of today's meeting at Country Gables Café, this review was easy to write, as the breakfast was so good, the staff so friendly and efficient, and the owner, Sukhi Sander, so gracious and accommodating, that it made this review a joy and a pleasure to publish. I can't really say that Country Gables Café produces the best breakfast in Roseville, but I can say that we give them a 9.5+, on a scale of 1 to 10, and that we can't wait to visit them again, and to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Mr. Sukhi Sander, and company.
Country Gables Café
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