Lil Joes' & Sammy's - Sacramento
Two Diners in North Sacramento
Last winter, Don and I drove out to Sacramento to help with our son and daughter-in-law's move. We also spent time helping Scott and Chali try out some curious eating establishments, within walking distance.
Lil Joe's was our pick for breakfast one morning. The brown building, with tile trim had a nice retro look. But it was the sign that lured us. "God Bless...Over a Million Steaks Sold... Dinner... Ham & Eggs... New York..."
Since 1953, on Del Paso Blvd
It was February and Scott and Chali were still trying to figure out what this whole area was about.
The Del Paso Boulevard showed a couple good signs of beautification here and there. There were some new businesses, but some pretty sketchy stuff as well. We figured if Lil Joe's had lasted this long, then it must be worth trying.
Bold Menu and Stylin' Vinyl
We were greeted by a smiling waitress, who called everyone at our table "Sweetie".
The pink counters, blue booths and original stools pleased me. The giant cow on the menu sort of scared me. I ordered oatmeal and coffee, so I can hardly comment on the steaks.
Banter at the Cash Register
Probably the best part of the dining experience was watching all the locals come and go. We seemed to be the only first-timers.
I asked about the cash register and was told it had been there since 1953. The fellow in the kitchen was actually very friendly and was happy for me to take a photo.
On another day, we gave Sammy's a try.
The family restaurant has been sitting on Del Paso Boulevard even longer than Lil Joe's.
Pink & Green
Although Sammy's has been on this corner since 1944, I believe the current building is much newer.
There was a fire at some point. Maybe that's why the pink and green, stone building has a 1960's look about it.
It was tempting to have a seat right there at the pink counter. The swivel stools looked mighty comfy and the cups and utensils were just waiting for us.
I don't think those mugs (decorated with emojis) were around when Sammy's first opened!
The Back Room
We were greeted with smiles, but ushered to a table in the back. I'm pretty sure that was to prevent us from grabbing any of the tables that are usually claimed by regulars.
We placed our breakfast order with our waitress, who has probably worked at Sammy's for decades. She didn't blink at the notion of someone wanting a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. However she was pretty concerned about Don ordering the proper potatoes to go with his scrambled eggs and grilled ham.
"Do you want peppers and onions on them taters? Because if you don't, they're just gonna be naked taters." Naked was pronounced neck-ed.
Lots of Leftovers
Hopefully the cook and staff took it as a compliment that we wanted to take home what we couldn't eat.
They seemed pretty pleased that we newcomers had enjoyed our eggs, pancakes and grilled cheese.
Past & Future
Before 1964, North Sacramento was its own town and Del Paso Boulevard was a thriving Main Street. I wish I could go back, 60 years in time and visit both diners and all that surrounded them.
Last February, we spent some time wandering up and down the Boulevard, imagining the past and seeing some signs of good things to come. I'm glad we got to step back in time, with our 2 breakfasts. I hope the diners can keep on doing what they do!
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.