Dining Spotlight of Rocklin: Venita Rhea's
Corned Beef and Pastrami with Hash Browns
Venita Rhea’s, 4415 Granite Drive, Rocklin, 916-624-2697, venitarheas.com
It’s amusing the things you don’t notice until someone points them out. I’ve been coming to Venita Rhea’s for several years and until this last visit—when my server hinted that there were things I should be aware of—I never knew about the “secrets of the wall.” Not wanting to play the spoiler, I’ll let those of you who are also in the dark experience it for yourselves. Hint: The kids will love it. Big kids, too!
Looking beyond the wall, the décor is a pleasant mix of art and kitschy country—the kind of place that says “come in and eat breakfast (or lunch).” Breakfast it was for me.
Sometimes you just gotta go big, like corned beef and pastrami with hash browns (Venita Browns) big. In addition to those ingredients, the dish also had two eggs, a mountain of melted cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions. This wasn’t a wimpy-skimpy hash with finely diced threads of corned beef; it was full slices of two proteins competing for plate space with enough golden-griddled Venita Browns to cover the table. Pro tip: Cover the whole enchilada with gravy—now that’s big league!
Next up and still going strong, I ordered chicken fried steak and eggs. The menu says, “All of our plates come with two AA extra large eggs. If you want three eggs, just tell us, the third one is free.” I would think about that before you say yes—this is a three-plate breakfast—but what the heck, an extra egg won’t even be noticed while you’re navigating through, over, and around an entire plate of nothing but crispy, meaty chicken fried steak and creamy gravy. Plate number two lurks with a full cargo of Venita Browns and the aforementioned quantity of eggs. Pause not, or you shall fail, the toast plate awaits…
If something on the sweeter side is your breakfast preference, you’ll need to have the cinnamon roll French toast (occasionally served as a special; call ahead to check availability) topped with fresh fruit, aka the ultimate French toast experience. A frisbee-sized pillow of sweet, cinnamon-infused pastry is dipped in egg batter, griddled, and topped with fruit and powdered sugar. I think the way to attack this monster is divide and conquer. Order one for the table, cut it like the cake it’s disguised as, and let there be sticky fingers for all.
The place can get a little busy on the weekends, but don’t fret: You can enjoy a cup of complimentary coffee outside. Lunch is also an enticing option if you’re not a morning sort!
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (daily)
Try This: Corned Beef and Pastrami, Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs, Cinnammon Roll French Toast, Breakfast Quesadilla, Uncle Leo Benedict, Gem Salad, Beyond Burger
Drinks: Beer and wine
Heads-Up: Bottomless mimosas served daily for $12.97; sweet potato fries, sidewinder fries, urban fries, or green bean fries can be substituted (additional charge) on any entrée that comes with a side; complimentary coffee available while you wait; vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options; hot sauce bar allows diners to pick and choose their type and level of heat; dog-friendly patio; reservations accepted; breakfast and lunch menus available all day
By Lorn Randall