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Quaint as all get-out, Folsom’s Historic District is a picturesque and popular spot for holiday shopping and everyday bopping. Seeing its brick buildings, gas lamps, old-time museums and antiques shops, I often imagine myself donning Victorian garb, complete with elaborate hat, as I stroll down Sutter Street. With such an old-timey look and feel, I was hoping maybe menu prices would follow suit and be frozen in time circa 1856. But no such luck: For the most part, Old Folsom’s restaurants reflect inflated modern-day prices. But—as always—those who look closely for deals will find them. Here are a few I uncovered.
Sutter Street Grill (811 Sutter St.): This old-fashioned country diner is a local hot spot, especially on weekends; be prepared to wait for a seat. While it’s not dirt-cheap— most breakfast plates run $8 to $11—menu-scrutinizers will find some amazing deals. For just $4, I enjoyed the egg/ potatoes/toast combo, a plentiful platter of simply prepared, pleasant-tasting, nongreasy fare. Dollar-Wise tip: Order a biscuit in lieu of regular toast. It’s got great buttermilk flavor and is absolutely humongous. (I took most of mine home.) Another tip: Early-bird specials are offered Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m.
Bistro La Petite France (718 Sutter St.): For a delectable light breakfast, swing by this enchanting French cafe (recently relocated from Granite Bay) for a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissant. At $3.25, it’s not exactly Dollar-Wise, but it’s worth the splurge.
Beach Hut Deli (718 Sutter St.)
At $5.95, Beach Hut’s turkey and cheese is one of the most budget-friendly ’wiches on Sutter Street. Mine was super-fresh, from the soft French roll to the crunchy lettuce and red onions, and it was packed with so much meat that even the small was quite substantial. With chips or another side dish, you could easily split it with a pal and be plenty full.
Hacienda Del Rio (702 Sutter St.): With balcony seating and a festive vibe, this Mexican mainstay (around for more than 30 years) offers good, filling fare and addictive tortilla chips. Prices are midrange, but the $6.99 weekday lunch specials rock, including a nice-sized burrito with rice and beans and a fajita sandwich with fries. On a crisp winter’s day, warm up with a bowl of soup—chipotle chicken, tortilla or albondigas—for just $4.39.
Samuel Horne’s Tavern (719 Sutter St.): Sure, this place is all about the beer, with 16 on tap and countless bottled brews. But if you want something to munch along with your Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA, the $5 lunch baskets are a steal, as long as you don’t mind basic pub fare: hot dogs, sausages, grilled cheese and BLTs with fries.
The Black Rooster (807 Sutter St.): Don’t leave town before indulging in the fabulous gelato at this small, friendly cafe next door to Sutter Street Grill. I tried two flavors—chocolate-covered strawberry and crème brûlée—and was knocked out by the pure, powerful flavors and luscious mouthfeel. A small (single flavor) is $2.95; for a second flavor, it’s a buck more.