Putah Creek Cafe: Fishing For Breakfast in Winters

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Restaurant Winters

Putah Creek Cafe resides in downtown Winters, not far from Sacramento.

John Pickerel and wife Melanie are the top restaurateurs in the small town of Winters, located about thirty miles west of Sacramento. Not only do the Pickerels own Putah Creek Café; they own The Buckhorn Steak and Roadhouse across the street, plus a small Buckhorn Grill chain across Northern California. Putah Creek Cafe is named for a local stream known for fly fishing.

Restaurant Winters

Putah Creek Cafe features plenty of wood and brick, a big dining room and a front room with a counter.

Two display cases protected tantalizing treasures like coconut and raisin topped bread pudding, tri-nut bars, lemon bars and cookies. The countertop also held a tray of insane-looking cinnamon rolls. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the stomach space to handle sweet specimens that size.

Pastry Winters

We began our meal with one of the cafe’s famous apricot bars, selected in 2001 for the Saveur 100: one of the magazine’s “favorite foods, restaurants, drinks, people, places and things.” According to the Putah Creek Cafe website, General Manager Janet Veladez is the in-house baker and deserves credit for crumbly bars with a layer candy-sweet apricot layer.

There was a fairly large menu, plus a full blackboard featuring the day’s specials, but we kept our choices fairly simple.

Breakfast Winters

Allison ordered the Southern style biscuit & gravy ($7.95). Her fluffy fist-sized biscuit came with two eggs over easy and a luscious country sausage patty.

Breakfast Winters

I ordered the Putah Creek Scramble ($6.95), eggs scrambled with corn tortilla cuts, green chiles and chorizo. The final two ingredients added spicy kick. They topped the silky scramble with shredded yellow cheddar and served with a dish of spicy salsa and a red clamshell containing warm flour tortillas.

We drove over an hour out of the way to sample Putah Creek’s food, and neither of us were disappointed. My only regret: that I didn’t grab a cinnamon roll to go. Given the cafe’s track record, and the high level of their food, I’m sure I’ll get another shot the next time I’m within striking-distance of Sacramento.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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