Dining & Fast Food
We have a new favorite food stop! Check out Panera, at the Nut Tree in Vacaville. Panera was voted #1 by Health magazine for America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food restaurants. You can call ahead they will have your order ready when you get there. Try the Cuban Panini – it’s awesome!
Fastest Fast Food
As ski racers, we measure time by hundredths of seconds, and minutes are lifetimes. Our fast food gold medalist, where we have CONSISTENTLY gotten through the drive-thru in less than a minute, is the Wendy’s off the Northgate Blvd. exit (Sacramento). It’s off the east-to-west side, so if you’re heading up to the mountains you need to cross over the highway.
Exit 89, Sacramento Northgate Blvd (WB). Wendy’s: 56 seconds
Exit 64, Dixon Pitt School Road exit (EB) – Taco Bell: 2 minutes 39 seconds
Exit 41 Fairfield Suisan Valley Road (EB) – Carl’s Jr.: 3 minutes, 22 seconds
Honorable mention, submitted from our readers:
Exit 121, Foresthill Avenue KFC
Exit 199 C Auburn Elm Avenue In-n- Out
Exit 75 Davis Chiles Rd. Burger King
The Best of the Regular Restaurants (non-fast-food)
The Rustic Table (Laing Rd. Exit, Emigrant Gap)
Risotto and pastas to die for. Friendly and home-y.
Monte Vista Inn (Dutch Flat)
A lot of history, occasional live music. Fun place to have dinner and pass some time if the homeward bound traffic on 80 is stopped.
Rainbow Lodge (Rainbow Road Exit in Royal Gorge)
Originally a stage coach stop, the lodge dates back to the 1800’s. Atmospheric and quaint.
Little Knols Bakery (Fairfield Exit 44)
Don’t know what it is about this town, but Vacaville diners rule the road. Our favorites:
The Black Oak Restaurant (right off the Orange Drive exit)
320 Orange Drive, breakfast and lunch only (hours are 7am to 3pm)
The Black Oak has been in around since 1960, and when you walk through the doors it feels like something from a Brady Bunch family road trip (in a good way). The food is plain but good, the bathrooms are clean, and the service is as fast or as slow as you need it to be. A refreshing stop if you’ve been sitting in 80 traffic, or if you’ve just been busy at the outlets.
The Wren Café (right off the Merchant Street exit)
1005 Merchant St; 6am until 1:30pm on Sundays, and 2pm every other dayOriginally a fruit stand, Wren’s Café is operated by the Morenos, a clan that has been in the area since 1916. Wren’s boasts good diner fare and a friendly atmosphere, with multiple generations of the family hard at work. They say, “We make strangers feel like friends, and friends feel like family”, and they do.
The Black Bear Diner (also right off the Merchant Street exit)
951 Merchant Street; 6am until 10pm on Sundays and 11pm every other day
The Black Bear Diner is part of a chain, but it doesn’t feel like that. The food is fresh, the portions are generous, and the atmosphere is cozy. Pick up a pie from the case by the cash register – you will not be disappointed! There’s also a Black Bear Diner in Davis but it’s a little farther off the highway (exit 72A – Richard Rd. Exit, follow Richards Eastbound to L on 1st Street, R on B Street, and L on 2nd.
Bay Area to Sacramento: stop at a Vacaville diner.
Sacramento to Truckee: Stop in Colfax for one of our favorite 80 stops, Buzz Thru Joe’s.
405 South Auburn Street; Exit 135, Westbound side of the road.
Skip Starbuck’s and go to Joe’s. MUCH better coffee, fresh bagels, and delicious, huge breakfast burritos. You can stop and eat inside if you want, or you can zoom right through the drive-thru. Fast, friendly, and great value.
Right across the parking lot is TJ’s Roadhouse, which is good too, but not as fast and it can get crazy crowded.