Still golden

Under new ownership, Golden Waffle remains late-morning staple

Photo By jason cassidy

Golden Waffle
701 Main Street 891-1940
Open for breakfast and lunch daily, 6 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Golden Waffle Restaurant

701 Main St.
Chico, CA 95928

(530) 891-1940

Seven years ago, Mohammad Shabbar was working in front of the grill of the Golden Waffle. Two months ago, Shabbar purchased the diner from his cousin and has begun making improvements at the quaint diner that shares a parking lot with the recently renovated Thunderbird Lodge in the heart of Main Street, Chico. New booths and tables have been installed in the dining room, the kitchen has been remodeled, the serving staff has been increased and the menu, while still offering classic American country-style breakfasts and lunches, has been revamped.

Like many Chicoans, I’ve always appreciated Golden Waffle breakfasts, so when I heard that Shabbar (who also owns the popular Petra Mediterranean Cuisine downtown) had taken over, I decided that a late Saturday breakfast with a group of friends was in order.

A few things have remained the same with the change of ownership: the extra large swivel chairs that accompany the dining-room tables; the topping of Shubert’s ice cream on dessert waffles, and the head cook, Armando.

One of my pals ordered the Armando’s Omelet, made with four kinds of meat—linguisa, ham, sausage and bacon—plus bell pepper, green chilies, mushrooms and cheese, served with a choice of hash browns or country-fried potatoes ($8.95). The omelet was huge, so jam-packed with meat that half of it was taken home to eat later.

Another friend ordered the Chicken Skillet ($9.45), a hot platter on which is piled grilled broccoli, mushrooms and onions topped with freshly made hollandaise sauce and two eggs, prepared as you like.

My own choice, the sirloin steak and three eggs ($9.95), served with two pancakes or a choice of potatoes or a biscuit with gravy, was a bit boring compared with the other dishes on the table. The steak was a fair size, but rather thin and overcooked for the medium rare that I requested. The eggs were cooked perfectly over-easy and the pancakes were fluffy and delicious. It was certainly enough food to leave me satisfied, but I found myself stealing bites from my friends’ plates rather than finishing my own. As such, I was able to taste side items I usually don’t order, such as the biscuits and gravy, which was freshly made, as were the country potatoes. The country potatoes are served as small wedges, each piece tender and spiced with herbs. I was told by one of the staff that the country potatoes are made fresh, unlike their hash browns.

The table was a wreck of plates by the time we all exchanged samples, but we somehow found room to share a dessert, the Gourmet Waffle ($7.95), a large waffle covered in your choice of strawberry, cherry, blueberry or apple compote, with a scoop of Shubert’s vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The waffle arrived hot and crispy, generously covered with fruit in hearty (but not too sweet) syrup made with the fruit’s natural juices and sugar.

Of course, the place is still called Golden Waffle, and there is a variety of fried cakes from which to choose: plain golden waffle ($5.45); bacon pecan waffle, made with bacon and pecans stirred into the batter as well scattered on top ($6.75); apple raisin waffle ($6.95); the waffle sandwich ($6.45) with a waffle folded around your choice of two slices of bacon or sausage and an egg; or, for the really hungry, the waffle combo ($7.45), featuring a waffle served with your choice of four slices of bacon, sausage or a ham steak and two eggs on the side.