Home is where the Greek food is

Folsom restaurateur creates family by offering biscuits, gravy and baklava

The ultimate comfort food: dolmas, spanakopita and gyro meat.

The ultimate comfort food: dolmas, spanakopita and gyro meat.

Photo By Lauren Hockenson

Mary’s Gold Miner Cafe is located at 426 E. Bidwell Street in Folsom, (916) 984-4181, www.marysgoldminercafe.com.

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Mary’s Gold Miner Cafe is like visiting home. Mary Masouris and her friendly wait staff will chat you up before giving you an extremely generous helping of classic American cuisine. Modeled after the timeless camp-town breakfast joints, the restaurant is famous for its hearty biscuits and gravy, four-egg omelets and gigantic crepes. You also can get a taste of Masouris’ native Greece, as she personally makes staples such as dolmas and baklava from her own recipes. Like a big family meal, Mary’s Gold Miner Cafe provides both good food and good conversation.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from Greece. A beautiful Greek island called Samos.

How did you end up in the restaurant business?

Through my husband. He’s always been in the restaurant business since 1967, when I met him. After we had our family, I wanted to get involved and be a part of the restaurant business. It’s my home away from home, my big family here.

What made you decide on Folsom?

We originally came from the Bay Area, Los Gatos, and we had many successful restaurants there. We came up here to semi-retire, and before you know it, we were back in the restaurant business, because it’s a bug. It’s in our blood, you know? We came up here actually to visit Folsom, and I just fell in love with the foothills, the area of Folsom and the lake. The people up here are really down-to-earth people and there’s a slower pace, and I just loved it.

When did you start Mary’s Gold Miner Cafe?

Two years ago. Before that I was up at the train station off of Highway 50 [in] Shingle Springs. I was there for seven years. But this was our spot, this reminded me of back home in the Bay Area and my restaurants there. Very warm, family atmosphere. But this place wasn’t available in 2001, so we kind of waited around, and when it was available, it was meant to be for us.

What’s the typical Mary’s customer?

They’re local customers, very faithful and supportive. Everything here is made from scratch, and we make it feel just like home. My customers are my family, and it’s like my family coming to my house. Every single customer feels special. Everybody has their own regular table, their own spot here.

What made you decide to introduce the Greek cuisine?

I had a lot of requests from my customers. I had so much requests, I offered them a Greek day. All the Greek food is made by me; nobody touches my recipes. It’s all family recipes and my husband’s recipes. And once they tried it they loved it. So now Greek food is available daily.

There really isn’t a Greek restaurant in Folsom, is there?

No, there isn’t. It’s really sad. So that’s what I’m offering here, American Greek food!

The portions here …

We’re very generous! Nobody leaves hungry. Everybody has enough to eat here, and dinner as well. Everybody leaves with a box to go. Very generous portions, very reasonable price. I wanted to be able to afford reasonable prices for my customers so I can see them daily. Times are unfortunate, but we’re doing well, thanks to our customers. Prices are lower, portions are still big.

What’s the most popular thing on your menu?

That’s such a hard question, because everything is so popular! I would say chicken-fried steak and eggs, and our homemade biscuits and gravy. Our crepes are wonderful, and our fresh fruit salad. We have at least 10 different varieties of eggs Benedict.

You also have a great case of baklava in the front of the restaurant. Do people come in just for that?

No, actually, they come in for breakfast, and what they’re doing is that they’re taking it to go because they’re way too full to have baklava right after a generous breakfast. So it’s always to-go to take home and enjoy later on. The Greek food is going really well. They come in for breakfast and they can’t decide, so we suggest, “How about taking it home and you don’t have to worry about dinner?”

Is the word of mouth around Folsom strong?

Absolutely. I’ve never had to advertise. It’s all mouth to mouth.

Is there a possibility of an additional restaurant in the future?

We are talking about it, yes.

Greek food?

Perhaps Greek food and breakfast. There is a big need in Folsom. … I thought opening a nice Greek restaurant would be nice.

Any final words?

I love serving the town of Folsom. They’re all wonderful people, and it’s all my big family now. Another thing that I love is how my Bay Area people who are moving up here somehow are finding me … so they’re all coming in. It’s just like back home, if not better, because I have the local Folsom and El Dorado customers through the area, and my Los Gatos, Saratoga and San Jose customers having breakfast here.

So, you go to Mary’s and you get fed?

Absolutely, nobody leaves hungry!