Charlie's Cafe has been a "foodie icon" since 2003, as the restaurant is known for "country cooking," which translates to great food, lots of it, low prices, and some of the friendliest hospitality west of Texas.
As with all reviews 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 07:00 in the morning on Friday, December 24, 2021, Christmas Eve, and I've arrived at Charlie's Cafe to enjoy an amazing breakfast. Charlie is open Tuesday through Saturday from 06:00 in the morning until 02:00 in the afternoon; on Sundays, the restaurant closes at 01:30. Breakfast and lunch are served in style!
Photo: Especially on weekends, Charlie's can get very busy, and it's not uncommon to see the spacious dining room completely seated. As you enter the restaurant, there is a foyer with chairs lining the walls to seat you comfortably in case you have to wait for a table. The decor is very "country," with many pictures, plaques and photos.
Photo: A white board on the wall of the foyer lists the weekday morning "Breakfast Special." It certainly looks great to me...
Photo: As you enter the dining room, you'll be greeted and seated by a friendly staff member. Today, Charlie herself was doing all of the meeting, greeting and seating, along with all serving duties.
Charlie's Cafe has been in this location for eight years or so, having moved across the street from the old location. Years ago, I visited Charlie's Cafe several times with the now-defunct Sacramento Breakfast Club, and posted our eating adventures on this web page. Our last visit to Charlie's as a group happened on Friday, November 08, 2013, and you can enjoy the visit by clicking on the hyperlink.
Photo: The dining room is quite large, and very comfortable, with lots of space for getting around. Upholstered booths line the walls and the middle of the dining room contains tables that are pushed together to accommodate groups of varying sizes. It's inviting and very comfortable. There are a couple of large murals of a tropical beach, and a television monitor, which was tuned to local news. The dining room was decorated for the holidays, and Christmas music was playing in the background.
Since Charlie's is a breakfast and lunch diner, I felt it a little odd the dining room didn't have a breakfast counter, but that's certainly not a "deal breaker" for fine dining. But on this early, Friday morning, all diners, including me, were solo diners, a breakfast counter would have been welcome.
Photo: Charlie's Cafe is very serious about breakfast, and "Breakfast Classics" headline the first page of the menu. I started on the menu, but when I came to the "Chicken Fried Steak" selection, I didn't bother to look any further, as this was exactly what I had in mind.
This is only the first of five menu pages, which is quite an extensive menu for a restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch. I've posted the complete menu, so click on the link to see the menu, which is current as of this writing.
Photo: After I placed my order of "Chicken Fried Steak" with my hostess, who happened to be Charlie, the owner of the restaurant, I relaxed, and watch Charlie take care of customers. Charlie was a very busy lady, as she was the solo server during the time of my visit - another server reported in about 07:30 - and she was able to take care of the whole dining room by herself.
The entrance to the kitchen can be seen in the center of the photo, along with a display case that is normally stocked with freshly baked cookies. I'm not much of a cookie eater, so I wasn't disappointed to see the case empty today.
Photo: Meet Charlie, the owner of the restaurant, and my friendly server, who brought my order to me with a smile. My order arrived only about 10 minutes after placing it, for VERY FAST service!
Photo: I'm a happy guy, as I know that I'm going to LOVE this delicious breakfast, at Charlie's Cafe. Thanks, Charlie, for taking the photo.
Photo: From the "Breakfasts" section of the menu, I went with my de-facto standard of "Chicken Fried Steak," with hash browns, three fried eggs, along with a biscuit and gravy. The menu lists this hearty selection as, "Fried golden brown, topped with our homemade country gravy, and three large eggs." At $12.99, it's not only a great value, but a delicious, and very hearty breakfast. Like all breakfasts listed on the "Breakfasts" section of the menu, you get your choice of toast, or a biscuit and gravy, choice of hash brown or country potatoes, and eggs cooked YOUR way.
The steak was super tender - I cut it with my fork - and the steak knife was simply ornamental. The beef was dipped in seasoned batter and fried to a crunchy, deep golden brown, with crunchy goodness on the outside, and tender meat inside. The talented chef "nailed" the beef-to-batter ratio, and each bite was rewarded with juicy meat, covered with a crunchy, seasoned batter, which made for an absolutely perfect chicken fried steak. Topping off the meat was a helping of Charlie's famous breakfast gravy. Oh yeah! If you're a connoisseur of the perfect chicken fried steak, you'll feel right at home when you enjoy this fine entree at Charlie's Cafe.
Like the steak, the large slab of hash brown potatoes were fried to a perfect golden brown on the outside, and white and tender on the inside. I enjoyed the crunchy goodness with every bite of these hash browns, in fact they were so delicious, they could almost make you forget all about the chicken fried steak. Almost...
This breakfast included THREE eggs cooked to your liking, and my choice today was sunnyside up... just because. Like the steak and the hash brown potatoes, my eggs were perfectly cooked, as ordered.
As much as I love toast, I'll pass on toast when biscuit and gravy is offered, and since biscuit and gravy was an option, I went in that direction. My large, fluffy biscuit was covered with a generous helping of Charlie's famous country gravy, which made for an amazing side dish. Over the years, Charlie's Cafe has garnered a lot of fame for their sausage gravy, and one taste will tell why this delicious gravy is a local favorite.
This breakfast was simply delicious! Besides delicious, it was hearty and kept me going today until dinner.
Photo: The main plate of Chicken Fried Steak, gravy and three eggs, fried sunnyside up, resting on a bed of Charlie's amazingly crispy hash brown potatoes. You can't go wrong with this amazing breakfast!
Charlie and her talented staff have been serving amazing "country cooking" to locals, visitors, and everybody in the greater Sacramento area who appreciates fine dining, country style. For a great meal, along with a huge helping of friendly "country style" hospitality, visit Charlie's Cafe, located in Citrus Heights, CA.
Copyright(c) 2021 eRench Productions. All rights reserved. We've been on the web since December 22, 2002.