Do you like a friendly, neighborhood restaurant, where you friends and neighbors gather to socialize and enjoy some of the best food that the gold country has to offer? Do you like a restaurant that locally owned and operated and caters to local cuisine? Do you appreciate outstanding value for your hard-earned dollars? Do you walk in with an appetite and check your attitude at the door? If you answered "yes" to any of the aforementioned questions, there is no doubt in my mind that you'll love the Gold Miner Cafe, in Folsom, California.
Left: Gold Miner Cafe is located at the end of a small shopping centerr on East Bidwell Street. Right: Our friendly hostes displays the daily breakfast specials. I chose the linguica scramble, as I was under the influence of the posted special as I walked into the restaurant. I tried to pose her, but I guess I surprised her with my photo...
Sure, you've heard of the town of Folsom, as Johnny Cash sang a song about its famous prison. Folsom is located about 25 miles east of the state capitol of California, Sacramento, and its set in a rather idyllic surrounding of rolling hills and large native oak trees, right at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Now Folsom is a bedroom community to Sacramento, and a magnet for high-tech industries, but many generations ago, it was best known for mining activities, and industries catering to the mining industry. Today's gold miners, gold miner wannabees and locals can now mine gold through their stomachs, by visiting the Gold Miner Cafe.
Gold Miner Cafe is located on East Bidwell Street, at the end of a small shopping center, in one of the newer areas of Folsom. It has been in business since 1995, and has become a favorite of the locals, as the cafe features fast and friendly service, great food at very reasonable prices, comfortable surroundings, local favorites, and huge portions of food. The restaurant is not fancy inside, but it is very comfortable, clean, and friendly, and when you step inside, you'll feel like you're part of a big, happy family.
When you walk inside, you're greeted by a friendly greeter, who'll show you the daily specials which are posted near the cashier's station, and then she'll will seat you at your table. As you walk past the cashier's station, you'll notice a glass display case where Gold Miner Cafe souvenirs are displayed, which includes items such as t-shirts, caps and coffee cups for purchase, if desired, for a nominal fee. You'll also notice that all of the staff members wear a "uniform" of sorts, which is a Gold Miner Cafe t-shirt, which is a nice touch and adds to the "branding" effect of the restaurant.
Left: The dining room of the Gold Miner Cafe is comfortable and spacious, but it isn't fancy. Right: My side order of gravy is delivered, as David looks on, with very much anticipation. Sorry guy, it's my order, not yours.
There are no booths in the restaurant, only tables and padded chairs, but they're very comfortable and the restaurant is quite spacious, so you won't feel cramped. Gold Miner Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch only, but you can order anything from their menu during the hours they are open. I can't really put a label on their cuisine, but if I had to put in just one word, perhaps I'd label it as "Folsom" Their menu reflects the taste of the locals, and you can see that the owners have put a great deal of thought into their menu selections to achieve that goal, as the food reflects California cuisine, but more importantly, local, Folsom cuisine. The food isn't fancy, but its delicious, attractively presented, very, very, fresh, and there's lots of it, so you won't go away hungry. Everything on the menu is made in-house, so you won't be fed "institutional food" as many of the national restaurant chains and franchises are starting to serve to their patrons, in an alarming trend to cut costs and raise profits.
I had the pleasure to visit Gold Miner Cafe on a Thursday morning in November, with my friends and co-workers David and Dan. We came at mid-morning, and after completing a hard night's work, and we were ready for breakfast, so we opened the menu to the extensive breakfast section. Many menu items have rather quaint names, such as "Fred's," "Dee's Egg Plate," or "John Wayne Omelet," and for the past week, we'd been browsing Gold Miner Cafe's web site and discussing what entrees we wanted when we finally paid the restaurant a visit. David decided to have the "Gold Miner Country Benedict," with a side order of hashbrowns, but Dan, who's always hungry, chose "Jo's Meat Grinder Omelet," with a side order of grits. I had been planning to order a "Santa Fe Omelet," but when I saw the daily breakfast special of "Linguica Skillet," as I walked into the restaurant, I changed my mind. Naturally we ordered coffee, which comes in a large mug that you can actually hold in your hand, embossed with the Gold Miner Cafe label. I must say that Gold Miner believes in concept of "branding..."
Left: David served his Country Breakfast, as our friendly server holds my softball-sized biscuit in her right hand. Right: David and Dan show us the "take no prisoners" attitude for an awesome breakfast at Gold Miner Cafe.
Service at Gold Miner is fast, efficient, very friendly, but not intrusive as an attractive waitress will cater to your every meal need, and your coffee cup will never got below the half-full mark, as a friendly staff member will visit periodically to ensure that your coffee cut, and your every need, is taken care of. The food? Let's see... Hmmmm... what words or phrases come to mind? Lots of food. Attractive presentation. Delicious! Wonderful! Good eating. Perfect. Love it! Wow! Eeegaaads! Outtasite! (1960's slang...) in other words, Yipppppeeeee!
My "Linguica Skillet Special" consisted of a gigantic pile of home-style potatoes, smothered in bell pepper and onion slices, intermixed with cheddar cheese and sliced linguica, not to mention 4 eggs scrambled into the mixture. A grilled jalapeņo pepper was included at the side of the dish, and the entree was topped with fresh red salsa. I kid you not, as a softball--sized biscuit was included on the side, and I ordered a side of country gravy, as an option. In my book, you don't eat breakfast without gravy. My buddies ordered similar stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts. At Gold Miner Cafe, you will not go away hungry!
Left: My breakfast of a linguica scramble is HUGE! Check out the salsa on top, and the grilled jalapeņo pepper. Right: Dan's "Meat Grinder Omelet" and his side order of grits, and my side of country gravy. Even though Dan is a champion breakfast eater, he took half of his omelet home in a styrafoam container. At least he finished his grits!
I love to eat, but I'm also a part-time free-lance writer, photographer, and, you guessed it, web editor, so I just had to get up and photograph the restaurant, the skillfully-crafted meal presentations, and the beautiful waitresses. In doing this, it seems that I attracted the attention of one of the owners of the business, Chris George. As we were finishing our meal, he came over to us, and presented us a gift of Gold Miner Cafe ball caps, one for each of us, which he said was a reward for me taking photos of his restaurant, and closeups of the meals. I suspect he was a bit curious of what I was doing, as how many restaurant patrons take macro photos of meals and not only flirt with but photograph pretty waitresses? Maybe folks like me who don't have a life? ... Anyway, Chris came over to our table and introduced himself and presented us with our ball caps. Much of the background material for this article was written from the information that Chris provided us, as he stressed that all meals are prepared from fresh ingredients, as everything is made in-house. Read: No cans. No institutional deliveries. Product: Fresh food.
When asked about the unique names given to menu items, Chris replied that the names were coined from folks who had suggested the meals to him, which got him to thinking thoughts like "Shall we put this on the menu?" Then, the suggestion got his team together in the kitchen to try to come up with something, which they have, as the menu reflects the taste of locals. My buddy Dan, who is the ultimate gourmet eater of chicken-fried steaks, suggested to Chris the idea of battering a large sirloin steak and serving on the breakfast menu. We could just see the wheels turning in Chris' head after Dan made that suggestion; maybe someday there'll appear on the menu a "Dan's Battered Breakfast Steak" or something like that... Who knows?
None of us finished our meals, as breakfast at Gold Miner Cafe is a HUGE event. Get this: I hadn't eaten for over 12 hours, since I was anticipating our wonderful breakfast, and I only finished ONE THIRD of my entree, and I consider myself to be a class-act when it comes to breakfast. David finished about two-thirds of his breakfast and Dan finished about half of his; both of these guys are "take no prisoners" dudes when it comes to breakfast. The bottom line is that most folks will leave Gold Miner very full, and will probably will be toting a styrafoam container of leftovers with them for future meals. You WILL NOT walk away from Gold Miner Cafe hungry.
Left: I can't help myself when it comes to snapping photos of beautiful women, so when I caught the cashier and a couple of waitresses in the middle of a pleasant conversation, my camera just had to respond. Right: Friendly staff says "bye" to a regular patron. Most of Gold Miner Cafe's customers are locals, so most folks seem to know one another, which makes the atnosphere very friendly.
Gold Miner Cafe has a web site, listed at the end of this article, which posts their menu. I can't wait to sample their lunch, as I'm already getting hungry at sinking my teeth into one of their burgers. Grrrrrrrrrr!
If you're visiting Folsom and you're hungry, and you're looking for an outstanding place to satisfy your hunger, may I recommend Gold Miner Cafe? You'll find fast and efficient service, friendly staff, charming waitresses, delicious food, and you won't go away hungry. Not to mention that during your visit, you'll be treated like family and you'll walk out of the restaurant with a full stomach, perhaps some leftovers, and a huge smile on your face.
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