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Their sign sports the slogan that reads, "Over Million Steaks Served," so how could we pass on visiting Lil' Joe's on busy Del Paso Blvd?  That's right, Lil' Joe's has served over a million steaks since they first opened their doors to hungry patrons, back in 1953, and they've been serving steaks and other delicious dishes from the same location, after all of those years.

Left:  My buddies David and Dan give Lil' Joe's a "thumbs-up!"  Right:  The whiteboard advertises "Today's Specials."  Note the emphasis on CASH ONLY, with no exceptions!

Lil' Joe's is a one-of-a-kind Sacramento institution that's built a good reputation and a devoted following among the locals over the years.  Shortly after World War II ended and the G.I.'s started coming home, Sacramento started to expand north of the American River, and Del Paso Blvd, where Lil' Joe's is located, was one of the first business districts north of the river.  Over the years there have been many changes, as business have come and gone, and Sacramento has ballooned from its central core in all directions, but the small business district along Del Paso Blvd. is still going strong, and Lil' Joe's is still dishing out steaks, and I assume they quit counting them after their first million!

If you're looking for elegant dining, then Lil' Joe's might not be your first choice, as the words posh, contemporary or elegant don't come to my mind as I describe Lil' Joe's.  Actually, if you closed your eyes and imagined yourself in a late 1950's roadhouse, along Route 66, you'd feel right at home at Lil' Joe's, as the dining room is decorated with a tile floor, Formica-covered tables, and booths upholstered with pink vinyl.  Naturally there's a breakfast counter, with coffee makers, mixers, toasters, soda machines and all the other things that make a restaurant function, with the window to the kitchen, where orders are placed and plates are stored.  High on the wall behind the counter are signs, advertising specials, such as their $7.99 New York Steak special.  Lil' Joe's can't be accused of being too "high-tech," as they still use a big, heavy, chrome-plated, mechanical cash register, located on the breakfast counter, to ring-up their sales!  It's true "Americana" from the early 1960's!

Left:  Lil' Joe's dining room is pure early '60's roadhouse decor.  Right:  The breakfast counter to the left of the photo, and the window to the kitchen, and the kitchen behind it.  Signs above the kitchen advertise specials.

Friday March 30, 2007, was the day for the "Sacramento Breakfast Club" to sample the fine cuisine at Lil' Joe's, and on this occasion we were treated to the fine company of another friend and co-worker, Beyond Barlow.  Actually, Cyndi was with us the last time we dined at Lil' Joe's, way back in 1998, but it was way past-due for another visit, and this web site wasn't on the World Wide Web back in 1998.

Lil' Joe's is a "seat yourself" restaurant, so as soon as we were seated, a friendly waitress greeted us with a smile, menus and cups of delicious, hot coffee.  She also pointed out a whiteboard that advertised their daily specials, and the $5.49 Meatloaf Breakfast really caught our eyes.  When questioned what really is a Meatloaf Breakfast, we found the breakfast consists of two slabs of meatloaf, covered in gravy, two fried eggs, hash browns, and toast. Since none of us had ever had meat loaf for breakfast before, Dan, Cyndi and I chose a Meatloaf Breakfast, while David chose his usual:  Sausage, hash browns, eggs, with biscuits and gravy.  All of us got a laugh, as the whiteboard and many signs around the restaurant advertise "Cash Only."  I quizzed the waitress if Mexican pesos were ok, as the signs didn't specifically state U.S. dollars, and she just gave me sort of quizzical look.  Who but someone like the author would ask a dumb question like that?

Left:  Dan, David and Cyndi enjoy a fantastic breakfast.  Notice the basket of toast, placed between Cyndi and the author's empty seat, as he was taking the photo.  Right:  Here's what a Meatloaf Breakfast looks like, and believe me, it's tasty!

As I previously mentioned, Lil' Joe's has been in business for over 50 years in the same location, and they've developed a loyal following among the locals.  Lil' Joe's caters to the heart, soul and taste of the locals, so you'll find when you dine at Lil' Joe's that you're dining with many retired folks, blue collar workers, and other friendly, hard-working, honest people.  Fancy it isn't, but it's fun, friendly, loud and a restaurant where you really feel at home.

Besides boasting of "Over Million Steaks Served," Lil' Joe's also has a sign that advertises "I Bone Steaks."  Now what is an I-bone steak, a clipped T-bone steak or something?  We discussed the issue as we pondered over our menus, as an I-bone steak breakfast is on the menu, but the meatloaf sounded too good, and we forgot to ask the waitress about the I-bone steak.  We'll have to save the I-bone steak for another visit...

Photo:  It took a bit of work to get our waitress to allow me to take her photo, but Dan hammed it up for the camera and convinced her to consent to having her photo taken.  Nonplused, David chats on his cell phone, as the guys at the table behind us really get a kick out of the whole thing.  If you like friendly people, Lil' Joe's is the place to be.

The Meatloaf Breakfast was delicious and filling, as the meatloaf is made fresh in the restaurant.  It was covered with thick, brown gravy, that seemed to have just a hint of curry powder in the mixture, and featured many thinly chopped mushrooms.  The eggs, fried over-easy were done perfectly, and the hash brown potatoes weren't greasy. We really liked they served our toast, our three orders were served together, stacked neatly in a basket, along with butter and various types of jams and jellies.  Naturally, our pretty and friendly waitress kept our coffee cups filled with hot, delicious coffee.  For Dan and I, the Meatloaf Breakfast left us full, but not bloated, but that wasn't the case for Cyndi, as she stands only 5'-2" and weighs maybe 100 pounds, wringing wet.  Not a problem, as David, like a knight in shining armor, helped her finish her meatloaf.

Lil' Joe's has built quite a reputation over the years for great food, fast, friendly service, ample portions, and very moderate prices.  We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and the delicious meal.  Highly recommended by the "Sacramento Breakfast Club."

Lil' Joe's
1710 Del Paso Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815
916 929-1416


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