What would you think about a restaurant that is so good, that it's worth hiking nearly 3 miles down hill, and slugging back up hill to enjoy an amazing breakfast? Would you think I was crazy, really hungry, or a little bit of both? As you know, I love breakfast, and I love a great restaurant, and Paulette's Country Kitchen, in the small Sierra Nevada city of Grass Valley, California, is worth the nearly 6-mile round trip hike to enjoy an amazing breakfast.
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 07:30 in the morning, Saturday, July 8, 2017, and I've just completed a nearly three mile hike to enjoy breakfast at Paulette's Country Kitchen, in Grass Valley, CA. After photographing the exterior of the restaurant, I realized in it's former life, the building served as a bank branch, and the vintage drive-through, complete with unused teller window, is still in place, but now is used for shaded parking. The restaurant also sports a mostly private dining room that once served as a bank vault!
Photo: What do a flying formation of WW2 war birds have to do with breakfast? Why did I hike almost 3 miles downhill, and 3 miles uphill in order enjoy breakfast at Paulette's?
I was in Grass Valley to attend the Nevada County AirFest, 2017 - I love airplanes - and the event started at 8 in the morning. At the airport, parking is very scarce, and is reserved for staff and first responders, so visitors must park on the nearest street, which happens to be Loma Rica Drive; the choice parking is less than a block from the entrance to the Nevada County Airport. I'll admit that I'm a fan of up-close and personal parking, so I arrived early, just before 7 in the morning, to secure a choice parking spot for the day. I found myself with over an hour of time on my hands before the gate opened. What to do? ... enjoy breakfast at Paulette's Country Kitchen!
I'd secured a choice parking spot for the day, and if I drove to Paulette's, the parking space would have evaporated by the time I returned, so the answer was simple: Take a hike! Since I walk MILES every day for exercise, today's hike was just another day in my life. Three miles down the hill to the restaurant, and three miles back up the hill to spend the rest of the day at the air festival. Easy.
WW2 war birds take to the sky, in a breath-taking flyover. Click on this link to enjoy the Nevada County Airfest, 2017 article I published on this website.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll past some area-made crafts for sale, go through another set of doors - this building started out as a bank, and morphed into a restaurant - where you'll be greeted with an "old school" blackboard that announces the daily specials. The fireplace, made of river rocks, works great, but at 0730 on this warm Saturday morning, the outside temperature is already in the low 80's, so a fireplace isn't needed.
Photo: Meet Paulette Rickard, the charming owner of the restaurant, and jane-of-all-trades, as she did everything from "meet and greet" and cashier duties, to working with kitchen and wait staff. She and I had quite a conversation about restaurants, food, and beautiful Nevada County. Wait until I talk about her gravy...
Photo: After you enter the restaurant, and go past the fireplace, you'll see the kitchen window, and the small, 5-stool breakfast counter. A local member of Cal Fire is enjoying breakfast, no doubt savoring the moment before reporting for duty. Cal Fire was busy on this Saturday, as the "Wall" fire in nearby Butte County was blazing, and Cal Fire was using many resources, including air tankers, to battle the blaze.
Photo: The main dining room is to the left, as you enter the restaurant. I was surprised at the number of diners enjoying breakfast at this rather early hour. Most of the diners are locals, but the restaurant is located only a block off California Highway 49, so it's a good choice for travelers, enjoying the beauty of California's gold country.
Photo: Paulette's is serious about breakfast, as breakfast is served all ours the restaurant is open. Not shown in the photo is the optional side dishes, which includes Paulette's gravy, which is a must-have when you visit this wonderful restaurant.
Photo: There are many crafted items, made by locals, for sale in the restaurant, including this beautiful hand-crafted quilt.
Photo: My view of the kitchen, from my vantage point at the counter. When I dine alone, I prefer to sit at the counter, as I can watch the staff at work, make conversation, and enjoy the workings of the restaurant. On this busy Saturday morning, there were two chefs in the kitchen; my breakfast was ready in 10 minutes after I placed my order.
Photo: My charming server, Launa, delivers my bowl of gravy with a mile. Like most of the staff, Launa has been with the restaurant since it opened for business, a couple of decades ago.
Photo: Thanks, Launa, for snapping my photo, as I prepare to enjoy a wonderful breakfast. No coffee for me today, as ice water was my choice, as I knew I had a nearly 3-mile hike uphill, with grades of about 8 to 10%. By the time I reached the airport, I was tired, but ready to enjoy a day of watching airplanes fly.
Photo: Today, I ordered the "Two Egg Breakfast," without meat, as I like to go "vegetarian" sometimes. Yeah, right. You get your choice of toast, how you want your eggs cooked, and hash brown or country potatoes. I made it simple, as I ordered eggs over easy, sourdough toast, and hash brown potatoes. Such a yummy way to start out a busy day!
The photos show the wonderful presentation of the breakfast, and the breakfast tasted even better than the photos look. Such a great breakfast!
Rather than ordering meat with my breakfast, I ordered an optional side dish of Paulette's gravy. As I placed my order, I was surprised when my hostess, Launa, asked what variety of gravy I wanted. I ordered breakfast, sausage gravy, but I could have had beef or chicken gravy if I had wanted. I love it!!
I was simply "blown away" by the gravy, as it's one of the best bowls of gravy that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy. There is so much sausage in the gravy that you don't need to order meat with your breakfast. There is also diced peppers in the gravy, which is a new thing for me. I commented to Paulette that her's is perhaps the best gravy that I've ever had, and she thanked me, and said it's her mom's recipe.
There aren't many restaurant's I'd hike a 6-mile round trip, both down and up hill to enjoy breakfast, but Paulette's Country Kitchen is definitely the exception. The restaurant features great food, fantastic service, friendly staff, and most of all, Paulette's wonderful gravy. You don't need to take a hike to enjoy delicious American "comfort food" at Paulette's, as all you need to do is stop by the next time this friendly restaurant during your next visit to Grass Valley.
Paulette's Country Kitchen
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