By Juliet Farmer
The day that Mum’s closed its doors, I lamented the fact that I would never again find tasty vegan fare. Some 15+ years later, I’m no longer vegan, and that’s a good thing, because Dad’s Kitchen (located where Mum’s used to be) serves up some of the tastiest sandwiches, burgers, and to-die-for fries in Sacramento.
Situated next door to Freeport Bakery and just a hop, skip and a jump away from Marie’s Donuts, Dad’s Kitchen doesn’t look like much from the outside, other than the bumped-out bay where you can watch the cooking magic happen. Inside doesn’t seem like much, either, until you follow the walkway into the dining area and out back to the large patio (I swear that patio is a hidden oasis in the middle of Land Park).
A little back story: Dad’s Kitchen was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives
(purely by coincidence, my husband and I showed up for dinner the day they were filming the
episode, but, sadly, the restaurant was closed for said filming). As such, the current menu boasts
several noteworthy and Food Network-approved items, most of which I have sampled.
Once you’ve staked out a table (inside is fine in the winter, but you’d be remiss not to enjoy the
patio, weather permitting), you’ll find a few beers on draft to chose from (including at least one
craft beer), as well as the standard sodas, tea, etc.
On a recent visit, my dining companion and I started with an order of beer battered onion rings. Then, I ordered the standard burger, and my friend ordered the Hot Blonde (a chicken, avocado, Swiss cheese, tomato, roasted red onion, spinach, and cucumber Panini with garlic spread, brown mustard, and pepper plant sauce on sour dough bread). Burger fans should note that Dad’s serves 5 Dot Ranch beef (never fear, vegetarians, for Dad’s also offers a vegetarian burger). We both opted for the seasoned fries, which cost a little bit more than the regular fries or salad option that accompany most sandwiches on the menu).
The onion rings were quite impressive on the plate. Their size, plus the drizzle of balsamic and parmesan, made them resemble donuts (which I’m sure is quite intentional). Sadly, of everything I’ve ever had on the menu, the Food Network-approved onion rings are the one thing that I feel did not live up to the hype. They were crisp and clean (not greasy), but they were also tasteless. I thought my palate might have been compromised, but my dining companion felt the same way. We could only conclude that the kitchen was having an off onion ring day.
The 5 Dot Ranch burger, which had all the traditional fixings—lettuce, tomato, mustard, onion, mayo, and pickle—on an “artisan” bun, was perfectly cooked, the produce fresh and crisp, and the bun magical—it didn’t get soggy or crumble, and was neither too small nor too large.
The Hot Blonde had a lot going on, but all the various flavors melded together into a savory sandwich. Even better, while some Panini sandwiches are oil slicks, the Hot Blonde was grilled but not greasy.
And remember those fries I told you about? So. Good. Listed as “house-cut spuds of joy,” they are that and so much more. Truth be told, I’ve never ventured beyond the seasoned Dad’s Specialty fries, and I never want to. These fries are crisp, fresh and boast a blend of seasonings that have just a little kick of something (chili powder? cayenne?) that makes them addictive (don’t say I didn’t warn you!).
Other standouts on the Dad’s Kitchen menu include Dad’s Chicken and Dumplings, which is my answer to chicken soup when I have a cold (but you don’t have to be sick to appreciate it!), the Green Machine (a vegetarian sandwich), and the Greek salad.
2968 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 447- DADS
Hours: Tues to Fri 11am-9pm; Sat 8am-9pm; Sun 8am-8pm
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and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health
and wellness, entertainment, and more.