Remember that 1970's era Rod Stewart classic rock 'n roll song, "Some Guys Have All The Luck?" Well, if you want to apply that title, it can be readily applied to my friend and fellow Sacramento Breakfast Club member, David DeMario, as he has in instinct, a knack, or maybe it's just a matter of plain, blind, stupid, luck. A few weeks ago, he was cruising near the corner of Manzanita Ave. and Winding Way, in Carmichael, CA, which is a suburb of Sacramento, and he spotted a sign that read "something Cafe." My buddy David did a double-take, performed a U-turn, and wound up in front of the Hungry Hollow Cafe, which is a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is open only for breakfast and lunch, which is located in the upscale Crestview Shopping Center, which is situated at the aforementioned intersection. David liked what he saw, entered the restaurant, and proceeded to enjoy a delicious breakfast. So when it was his turn to pick the restaurant for the Breakfast Club to enjoy, and, naturally his turn to pay for the meal, he chose the Hungry Hollow Cafe. We always admire David's choice, as we consider him our "technical support" guy when it comes to finding a good place to enjoy a delicious breakfast.
Photo: You almost have to search for Hungry Hollow Cafe, as they're located in an obscure corner of the shopping center, next to a boutique that's guarded by an orange and white cat. If you're searching for Hungry Hollow Cafe, just look for the iconic statue, located near the front door...
The Sacramento Breakfast Club recognizes that there are many "flags" that categorize a restaurant that serves a great breakfast. Some of the benchmarks that we admire, and look for in a breakfast restaurant include the following:
The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch...
Photo: The kitchen is located to the rear of the photo, and I'm essentially using the wide angle lens of my digital camera to capture the dining room action, as my party of friends is located to the right of the photo. Our friendly waitress, Linda, can be seen to the left of the photo grabbing our breakfast orders...
Now to bring our club's criteria into perspective, for a restaurant to enjoy an outstanding breakfast, concerning the Hungry Hollow Cafe: It's open for breakfast and lunch only... Check one. 18-wheelers? No, it's located several miles off the Interstate. Check no. Caters to the taste of locals? Heck Yes! Check two. Full coffee cup? Check three. Waitress calls you "darlin?" Check four. Classic country music? Bummer, but, no; it doesn't apply, so check no. The score? Outstanding, and Hungry Hollow Cafe is rated as a good place to enjoy a delicious breakfast by the Sacramento Breakfast Club. Since Hungry Hollow Cafe is located several miles from the interstate, it can't be faulted for not attracting the RV and trucker crowd that the Breakfast Club desires, but the restaurant attracts a huge amount of locals, many of them senior citizens who come to the place to "hang out," socialize, chit-chat, read the always-available copy of The Sacramento Bee, and enjoy a wonderful breakfast. We can forgive the fact that Hungry Hollow Cafe doesn't play classic Country music, as the locals don't seem to mind, the coffee cup is always full, the staff are super friendly, and the restaurant serves a delicious breakfast. Wow!
Photo: Hungry Hollow Cafe subsrives to the "old school," as the order are still carried to the kitchen via a stainless steel wheel, and the orders are still cooked individually, by hand, in order to deliver a delicious breakfast. Or breakfast is waiting on the shelf, just above the microwave oven.
We welcomed our friend and co-worker Bruce Coulter to his first experience to enjoy a fine meal with the Sacramento Breakfast Club, as he was working a temporary night shift assignment, so what would be a better way to welcome the guy to the Breakfast Club? As you walk into Hungry Hollow Cafe, you'll notice that the cafe is quite compact, as there are perhaps 20 tables in the dining room; tables for two diners are placed around the perimeter, and tables for four diners are placed in the center of the compact dining room. If you have a party of more then four, the friendly waitress simply slides a couple of tables together to double the seating space, and, poooofff! now you have seating for eight. Simple. Efficient... and, it works. This is a restaurant that doesn't have a "wait to be seated..." sign; you just pick a table and sit down.
At the time of our visit, on Thursday, September 20, 2007, at 0900, Hungry Hollow Cafe had exactly three folks on duty, Linda, our greeter and server, and two guys in the kitchen, performing cooking and cleaning chores, one of whom I was to find out was actually the owner fo the restaurant. Basically, you walk in, seat yourself; we chose a table for four, as initially, David, Bruce and I walked in, and I removed a chair from our table to accommodate Bruce's wheelchair. Dan was to arrive later, so we piled the excess "stuff" on the place where he was supposed to sit to get it out of the way until he arrived. Our friendly waitress, Linda, placed coffee cups and menus on the table, and we were instantly transformed into coffee-heaven and what-do-want-to-order-from-the-menu decision mode. Hungry Hollow Cafe offers a pretty basic breakfast menu, however if your're a lover of breakfast cusine, you could possibly find yourself challenged, as their menu offers many delicious entrées.
Linda handles the whole dining room, and although the dining room is quite compact, it's not an easy job. Hungry Hollow Cafe is operated in true old-school fashion, as the owner of the place keeps himself in the kitchen, as he's the chief cook and bottle washer, yet he has a helper, who performs a mountain of auxiliarry chores. Linda brought coffee, menus and water to David, Bruce and I, and upon our request, waited the 20 minutes or so until Dan was able to join us. When Dan arrived, it was an ordering frenzy, as Bruce and I ordered the "Hungry Hollow Scramble," David ordered the biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon and sausage special, and Dan ordered a huge omelet with sliced tomatoes on the side, as per his usual custom.
Photo: Food! Left to right: David DeMario, Dan MacLeold, our friendly waitress Linda, a 17-year veteran of Hungry Hollow Cafe delivers Bruce's breakfast, and Bruce Coulter, a new Sacramento Breakfast Club member. Welcome, Bruce!
Hungry Hollow Cafe is a small operation, as the owner of the places cooks the meals, and he has a cook's helper who prepares food for cooking, and performs cleaning chores, and anything else that needs to be accomplished, and Linda waits tables. Linda is one busy girl, as she waits tables, and keeps your coffee cup full. As you relax at Hungry Hollow, you're coffee cup will be always full, thanks to Linda; her service is very friendly and efficient, but never intrusive.
Naturally, the bottom line is THE BREAKFAST. Despite the fact that the restaurant was quite full, we received our breakfast about fifteen minutes after ordering it. Great! Linda brought all four of our order to our table, in two trips, each trip within a couple of minutes of each other. Great! Our breakfasts were attractively presented. Great! Each plate featured a slice of fresh cantalope a garnish of parsley. Great! The food was prepared exactly as ordered. Yessss! The breakfast was made from fresh ingredients and served hot; not artificially heated under heat lamps. Exactly! The service was fast, efficient and friendly... Bullseye! Hungry Hollow Cafe's score for a delicious breakfast? ... Outstanding!
Photo: My Hungry Hungry Sramble, with optional sausage gravy, served on the side. How many scrambles come with a slice of cantelope and parsley?
In retrospect, you'll leave Hungry Hollow Cafe with a smile on your face, as the food is delicious, the service is fast, friendly and efficient, and you'll leave with change in your pocket book, as the prices are reasonable, and family-friendly. We love a place like Hungry Hollow, as we like to support the local guy, and we appreciate a quality breakfast, that features a lot of "bang for the buck." Hungry Hollow Cafe meets all of our criteria, so we pronounce the restaurant ashighly recommended, by the Sacramento Breakfast Club.
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