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Core breakfast club member, Matt Donnelly has a small problem, in that he recently accepted a position on the day shift at work, making joining fellow breakfast club members for breakfast somewhat challenging, as the club meeting generally occur when he has to be at work.  Being the resourceful "foodie," and breakfast-junkie that he is, he manages to attend most breakfast club meetings by trading shifts, taking off days, and orchestrating other elaborate arrangements.  Last week was our "official" club meeting, as we celebrated the renaissance of Roseville's Country Gables Caf, but alas, Matt had to work.  When I return to work the following Monday, he mentioned that he would be off on Friday, and that we should call an emergency meeting of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.  Sure, we'd held a club meeting the prior Friday, but when you're as much of a breakfast junkie as our club members are, you'll look for any reason to hold a meeting, and Friday, November 19, 2010 seemed like a good day to hold a meeting at Lodge Coffee Shop.

Photo:  If you think Lodge Coffee Shop looks like a ski lodge from the outside, wait until you see the inside of the restaurant.

Lodge Coffee Shop is appropriately named, as the building is constructed like a ski lodge, complete with a very steep-pitched roof, to ward of the snow that Citrus Heights almost never gets.  If you transported the building to Lake Tahoe, it would fit right in, but in the Sacramento Valley, it's a bit of an oddity, which makes for a rather eye-catching experience.  Inside, the decor is that of a ski lodge, as the dining room features rustic knotty pine paneling, exposed beams, flagstone, and a very high ceiling.  If you didn't know any better, you'd think that you were in a restaurant in Squaw Valley, rather than Citrus Heights.  There is one oddity that you won't find at any Tahoe area ski lodge, as in the rear of the compact dining room there is an aquarium, filled with rather large, colorful goldfish. I must say that Lodge's decor is very attractive.

Despite the fact that I got off work at 0800, and drove the few miles to the Lodge, I was the vanguard of our group, and long time staff member Sarah recognized me from previous visits, invited me to sit down near the rear of the restaurant, close to the fish tank, as that was the only area that could accommodate a group of our size.  Menus and coffee were produced, and just as I was savoring what they advertise as the best coffee west of the Mississippi, David walked in the door and sat himself at my table.  By the way, I didn't make up the coffee kudos, as Lodge Coffee Shop has a certificate on display that features a smiley face and states, "Best Coffee West of the Mississippi," signed by John, Joe, Bob and Bob.  I'm not sure who these coffee experts are, and I neglected to ask the restaurant staff, but whatever the case, Lodge Coffee Shop serves delicious coffee.

Photo:  Sarah takes Bev's order.  Note that glasses of ice water are set on the table, which is a nice touch.

Photo:  Amy, to the left of the photo, makes the rounds with her ever-present coffee, and never allows your cup to run dry.   Note the rustic decor in the compact dining room, and the restaurant is very busy on this rainy Friday morning.

Lodge Coffee Shop is open seven days a week, from six in the morning until two in the afternoon, which brings smiles to members of The Sacramento Breakfast Club, as Lodge is focused on delivering a quality breakfast. Any item on the menu is available any time, so anytime is breakfast time at Lodge Coffee Shop.  Of special interest is a weekend lunch menu, with items only offered on Saturday and Sundays.  Lodge is a one-of-a-kind, locally owned and operated restaurant, and the menu caters to the tastes of the locals.

The breakfast menu features a vast array of classic breakfast dishes, and specials, which caters to every taste. Lodge caters to the tastes of the locals, as it's miles from the Interstate, so you won't find the trucker crowd.  On this rainy Friday morning the compact dining room was busy - with probably two dozen diners - which nearly fills the dining room, and it was keeping Sarah, and her helper Amy very busy.  These gals were really working hard to keep up with the crowd.

Photo:  Sarah places Bev's order of "Eggs Pancho" on the table, as today's club members begin to enjoy the purpose of out club:  Breakfast.

Photo:  The "men in black" contingent of today's club members enjoy breakfast, from left to right:  Robert Kipperman, Tony "The Weasel" Godsey, Sarah Donnelly and Matt Donnelly.

Our breakfasts arrived in a timely manner, hot from the kitchen, perfectly cooked, and plated just the way we like it.  I deviated from my usual order of chicken fried steak, or something of the south of the border variety by ordering a combination plate of a hamburger patty, two eggs over easy, hash brown potatoes, and sourdough toast.  For the small additional charge of $.60, you can order a bowl of breakfast gravy - sign me up on that one! Matt had ordered the "Breakfast Special," of a seasoned, 8-ounce New York steak, potatoes, eggs and toast, that was advertised on the white board that greets you as you enter the restaurant, and as Sarah placed his plate on the table, he couldn't help but to notice the word "Georgia" and the peach - for the Peachtree State - that decorated the top of the table.  The talk turned to Sacramento Breakfast Club alumnus, Brad Holther, who accepted an unwelcome job transfer to the state of Georgia, and has since regretted his decision, as he's been unsuccessful in locating a decent breakfast restaurant in his part of the state.  (He doesn't care for waffles or livermush!!!!)  Matt pointed out that I should take a photos of his New York steak breakfast, next to the peach and the word, "Georgia" and email the photo to Brad, just to add a bit of salt to his homesick wounds.  At first I was a bit hesitant, until Matt and the others pointed out that if roles were reversed, Brad would be constantly "giving us the needle," so I snapped the photo and promised to email a copy to Brad.  However evil our intentions were, it was probably a moot point, as homesick Brad is a regular reader of our breakfast adventures, as he fondly remembers the good ol' days when he was a core member of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.

Photo:  Matt's breakfast of New York steak and eggs, next the "Georgia" and the peach that decorates the top of the table.  This photo is dedicated to the memory of club alumnus, Brad Holther, may he forever enjoy grits, waffles and livermush.

Photo:  My delicious breakfast of a hamburger patty, two fried eggs, over easy, hash brown potatoes, a side bowl of gravy, and a cup of "the best coffee west of the Mississippi."

The food served at Lodge Coffee Shop is outstanding.  The food is attractively plated, it arrives fresh and hot from the kitchen, the portions are large, and despite the fact that Sarah and Amy were the only wait staff on duty the morning of our club meeting, the service was fast and friendly.  David remarked in passing that his hash browns were too greasy, but his pork loin was juicy, delicious and perfectly cooked.  The other club members were pretty much in agreement that the food is good, and represents a good value.  I can only speak for myself, and make comments about my breakfast:  The hamburger patty was large, juicy and perfectly cooked, my fried eggs were just that, over easy, not hard, broken or runny, and unlike David's order of hash browns, my potatoes were cooked perfectly and not at all greasy.  Since all of us ordered sourdough toast, it was served, family-style, one basket per table, which sort of made it a "clubby" affair.  In the spirit of alumnus Brad, I covered my potatoes and hamburger patty with the delicious country gravy, and enjoyed a great breakfast.

Photo:  Today's members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, from left to right:  David DeMario, Eric Rench, Bev MacLeod, Dan MacLeod, Robert Kipperman, Matt Donnelly, Tony Godsey, and Sarah Donnelly.  The blonde gentleman in the lower right was not a member of our group.  Amy graciously took the photo.

Combine rustic decor, friendly, efficient service, delicious food at reasonable prices, and home-grown menu choices, and Lodge Coffee Shop works out to a winning combination.  Their menu is printed with the restaurant's motto:  "A Friendly Place and Delicious Taste."  With a motto like that, who couldn't help but to love Lodge Coffee Shop?

Lodge Coffee Shop
8191 Auburn Blvd.
Citrus Heights, CA 95610
916 725-7165

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