Greater East Bay
Village Inn Cafe CLOSED 204 Village Square/Orinda Way, (925) 254-6080. B-L daily; $. No reservations.
Popular with locals, this simple old-time coffee shop is a box of a room with a counter, Formica and chrome tables, and a wall filled with historic town photos. It makes no effort to be cute, but it is usually cheery with animated chatter and is famous for breakfast, which is served until 11:25 a.m (on Sunday, it is all that is served all day). Fresh-squeezed orange juice is always available.
The menu is classic American fare, which at lunch includes BLTs and ALTs, The Bird specialty sandwich (grilled turkey, bacon, and Swiss cheese on sourdough), and one of the fattest, messiest, and yummiest burgers I have eaten in a long time (the owner grinds the meat and makes the buns from scratch). When the waitress handed me my burger, she warned, “Good luck with that!” For my side, I picked the really crispy and greaseless house-made potato chips, but cottage cheese and peaches, macaroni salad, and potato salad are also options. I indulged in a satisfying root beer float that came with additional A&W in a can, but you can also get an old-fashioned milkshake served in the mixer can or fresh-squeezed lemonade.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers