The oxymoronically hip and family-friendly Dad’s Kitchen in Land Park has expanded to Fair Oaks, into a venue twice the size of the mother ship. The key question is: Can an urban diner-type restaurant sell its concept of cool “American-style comfort food” in a rural-rooted town that hosts an annual chicken festival?
Judging by the crush of customers storming the new place every day since its Dec. 3 opening, the immediate answer looks like a big “yes.”
“We’re grateful, but we were completely shocked (by the crowds) because we didn’t promote (the opening) beyond one Facebook post,” said co-owner (with beer expert Julio Peix) Sukhbir, who prefers her yoga name over “Christine Collins.” She was quick to add, “As with any new restaurant, there are wrinkles to be ironed out.”
Dad’s Kitchen bought the space formerly occupied by Maranello Bar & Kitchen, which closed in October.
Dad’s Kitchen proudly announces its homemade-style dishes are assembled from the likes of “organic chicken, grass-fed beef and local organic greens.” Its motto: “It’s not your mom’s cooking.” The lengthy menu holds the promise of high-quality diner-style meals (another oxymoron) huge onion rings, stacked sandwiches, meatloaf, burgers, pork chops, three kinds of hand-cut french fries (plain salted, blue cheese-habanero oil, garlic-Parmesan). Also: appetizers, soups, salads and veggie sandwiches. The two restaurants share one menu.
One lunch pal, a restaurateur, called the interior “cool and casual,” while two other women put it as “stark and kind of bare.” Obviously, they’re not familiar with man caves. The restaurant’s motto could be tweaked to, “Not your mom’s decorating.”
“Our dedication is to craft brews, but there’s a very developed palate for wine in Fair Oaks,” Sukhbir said.
The short wine list is from Maranello’s leftover stock, served in glasses the restaurateur lunch pal called “tapered mini-buckets, almost juice glasses.”
Bargain-priced Pint Night is on the third Thursday of each month, featuring beers and brewmasters from local craft breweries.
We found the meatloaf dense and slippery and the Cowboy Burger so wet with barbecue sauce that the flavors of the quality beef, crispy onions and pepper jack cheese were lost. The Cuban sandwich was a good try at the real thing and the most satisfying dish on the table (roasted pork, ham, melted Swiss cheese, brown mustard and pickle on a french roll from the Village Bakery in Davis).
Let’s say the kitchen is still coming together.
8928 Sunset Ave., Fair Oaks; (916) 447-3237, www.ilovedadskitchen.com. A sister store is at 2968 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 447-3237
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays