Degnan's Kitchen and Deli has been a part of Yosemite National Park since the 1880's, when John and Bridget Degnan found their way to Yosemite, from Ireland, and opened up a bakery, and later a deli. In the 1950's, when the present day Yosemite Village was constructed, Degnan's Kitchen moved to their present location, and has been providing hungry visitors with food, drink and cheer every since...
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 9 in the morning on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, and I've arrived at Degnan's Kitchen and Deli, located in Yosemite National Park to enjoy, well... sort of... breakfast.
Photo: Degnan's has been in the same location, in the heart of Yosemite Village, since the late 1950's, and offers great dining outside on their wonderful patio. You're treated to all of the scenery that Yosemite Valley has to offer, including great views of Yosemite Falls and iconic Half Dome.
Photo: It's a little before 9 in the morning, and when you walk into Degnan's Kitchen, the first thing you may think of is it reminds you of an airline terminal building, rather than a restaurant. Yes, you'll see confused, disjointed 20-something's wandering about, and chatting, or texting on their cell phones, as Yosemite Village is only of the only spots in the park that offers reliable cell coverage.
The dining room, so to speak, is furnished with several stations, and each one of them features a different offering, and each one of them has their menu posted on a hi-def television monitor, which would make McDonald's proud. For example, there is a "station" that sells coffee, donuts, and other goodies, another that offers fruit, along with assorted pastries, a pizza station that wasn't open, and the general "breakfast" station, which offers the "Classic Deg Muffin," among other breakfast choices.
Degnan's Kitchen and Deli underwent an extensive remodeling last year, and now has gone "high tech," institutional, and completely impersonal, and as automated as contemporary technology allows. There are still a few coolers that contain soft drinks, sodas, and juice, but long gone are the deli counters, where you could actually purchase a decent sandwich for a reasonable price. All of that is gone, and has been replaced by the latest, impersonal technology. But, I guess that's what the "20-something's" who frequent Degnan's love...
As a 16-year old, back in the late 1960's, my friends and I would take the trip from Merced to spend a day in Yosemite National Park, and we'd hit Degnan's, as at the time, they would sell beer and wine to nearly anybody, regardless of age, and wouldn't ask for your ID. I remember many a fine camping trip, enjoying the firefall at Stoneman Meadows, chugging a bottle of fine "Ripple" wine, purchased at Degnan's. Ah... so much for the summer of 1968...
Photo: Here's the queue at the coffee and pasty station, with lots of bored "20-something's" waiting their turn. I must "assume" they've already placed their orders on the automated menu screens? If you have questions, don't bother to ask any of the staff behind the counter, as they'll simply give you a blank stare, and refer you back to the touch screens.
Photo: SO... you're ready to place your order? You go up to the touch screens, at the "Order Here" stations, touch the big red button, and your journey into "Frankenburger" food begins... The breakfast chef even seems to be puzzled and confused...
Photo: You place your order, or should I say you "touch" your order? ... at one of the screens in the order kiosk. Good luck if you have any questions about your order, or the food in general, as the staff will just give you a blank stare, and just reply with "Ahhhhhhh...."
Photo: Your breakfast menu is listed under the "Breakfast Options" on the screen. You just touch on what interests you, and the screen will then drop down into "sub menus" and give you choices, so you can optimize your breakfast.
At least the good thing is that you won't feel obligated to leave the computer a tip.
Photo: My choice on the menu of "Classic Deg Muffin," and my choice of "protein" which for some reason was ham. Yummy!
Photo: After you place your order on the touch screen, you record your name, and when your order is ready, the chef, or the counter person - which could be the same staff member - will yell out your name. Your order will arrive in a bag, along with your check, and you take your food order, and your check to the cashier's station to "check out."
After placing my order on the touch screen, I noticed the breakfast chef pulled all of the ingredients out of a refrigerator, assembled them, and then popped them into an oven. I snapped his photo, as he was at the toaster oven, preparing my "delicious" breakfast.
When my order was ready, he loudly shouted "ERIC!" and when I showed him my receipt, he handed a paper bag to me, which contained my breakfast. Oh joy, as now it was off to the cashier's station to pay for my breakfast...
Photo: The main dining room at Degnan's Kitchen and Deli offers spartan seating, stools, and prison-like seating along with institutional ambiance. On a positive note, it's clean and comfortable, and offers natural lighting, and a great view of Yosemite Falls, along with all the wonders that Yosemite National Park has to offer.
Photo: After I was "served," or shall I say... "given?" my breakfast in a bag, I looked around for nearly 5 minutes for somebody to give my $6.00 to, in order to pay for my outrageously expensive, and sub-standard breakfast. I didn't have any luck, as the cashier's station was vacant, and the few available staff just gave me blank stares, and when I asked the call a cashier to allow me to pay for my meal, I got "Ahhhhh.... Oh... I don't know...." kind of answers. So much for customer service... So, I just said "f***k it," and ate the lousy sandwich, in the dining room, and enjoyed my breakfast on Degnan's Kitchen and Deli's dime.
I'm not a thief, as I'm an honest, taxpaying citizen. But when you wander around a "high tech" dining room, with a brown bag in hand, looking for a cashier ''droid to hand over $6.00 bucks for a substandard breakfast sandwich, and you can't locate your 'droid to take your money... well, I didn't feel the least bit guilty, as I did my part, I tried, and there was nobody on station to take my heard-earned cash. Thanks for the breakfast, Degnan's Kitchen and Deli, but I won't be returning, even on your dime...
Photo: My "Classic Deg Muffin," with ham of my choice of "protein," as Degnan's refers to meat. This little breakfast sandwich was priced at $6.00, but tax was included in the price. I like that!
Alright... here goes, as your sandwich starts with a toasted, and "maybe" buttered English muffin, and Degnan's allows you to choose between ham, bacon or sausage as your "protein" as the touch screen calls it. Placed on top of the muffin, and your meat of choice, you get an fluffy egg, and a slice of American cheese. That's it! Now you know what it's like to enjoy a "Classic Deg Muffin" at Degnan's Kitchen and Deli.
This article was a lot of fun to write and publish, as I haven't posted such a scathing review of a restaurant in many years, and 500+ restaurant reviews later. However, Degnan's Kitchen and Deli lives up to everything I've written about them, including no service of any kind, impersonal and robotic ordering, poorly educated staff and sub-institutional quality food. The only positive thing I can say is that I didn't have to pay for my pathetic little "Classic Deg Muffin," thanks to the lack of service by the inept staff. I can't imagine paying $6.00 for this little piece of... stuff!
If you just HAVE to enjoy a McMuff-something, venture outside Yosemite National Park to neighboring communities such as Oakhurst, Fresno or Merced, and you can visit your local McDonald's restaurant and enjoy an "Egg McMuffin" for the regular price of $2.79, and as of this writing, you can sometimes get them for the discounted price of 2 for $4.00, plus CA sales tax. The only difference between McD's and Degnans muffin is the quality and the price... McDonald's "Egg McMuffin" is better - which is a relative term - and the regular price is less than half the price of what Degnan's Kitchen and Deli asks for their "Frankenburger." On the other hand, when you enjoy your "Classic Deg Muffin," you'll be treated to all the spectacular scenery that Yosemite National Park has to offer, so I suppose that helps to make it all worthwhile.
Degnan's Kitchen and Deli is what I would consider to be a "last resort" when it comes to dining at Yosemite Village, in Yosemite Nat'l Park. If automated, impersonal service, or lack of any kind of service impresses you, along with substandard, expensive sub-institutional quality food... it that's what you're craving, then Degnan's Kitchen and Deli may be a good fit for you. If you're a "foodie," and if you like real food, along with real "human" service, you'll find many better choices during your visit to Yosemite National Park.
Degnan's Kitchen and Deli
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