Simpson's Caf offers inexpensive, tasty eats

09.22.2011

REDDING, Calif. – Here's a deal for these economically depressed times: an all-you-can eat breakfast for five bucks, lunch for six, dinner for seven or Sunday brunch for six. No tip, no tax. A light and airy ambiance with a garden view.

Sound appetizing? Check out The Caffe at Simpson University. Besides the 576 students at Simpson the place is also open to the public.

But it's something of a closely held secret. The Caffe gets between 25 and 30 visitors a day, including some retirees living in the Vineyards and other surrounding neighborhoods, says Sadie Roy, executive chef and food service director.

It's buffet style. There are two salad bars, a deli bar, a dessert station, an "exhibition" station (Bryce Logan was making yummy made-to-order quesadillas when I lunched there last week). "The Red Plate" buffet specializes in "comfort food" like Shepherd's pie and herb-crusted pork loin with mashers and gravy. There's a Mexican grill at dinner, Peppers, serving chicken or pork verde and sides. On weekends it morphs into the "Tratoria," serving pasta, pizza and the like.

Executive chef Roy & Co. make soups and salad dressings from scratch. The creamy tomato soup I had was worth a second bowl. The quesadilla was great, too.

One constant: the cereal station – in case you want Lucky Charms for dinner or dessert, jokes Roy, who's worked at the Emeriti Dining Center for 11 years and been executive chef for five.

"We're the best deal around," she says, noting that 200 visitors came for Sunday brunch last Easter.

It's a five-week rotating menu. Check it out online (dineoncampus.com/simpson) or ask the hostess/cashier for a copy. Roy and her staff of 32 won't keep you waiting: they're used to feeding nearly 600 people three meals a day.

To avoid the rush of students, Roy advises diners arrive at 7 a.m. for breakfast, around noon for lunch and at 4:30 p.m. for dinner. But it's fun to dine around the students, a refreshingly friendly and clean-cut lot.

Park by the gym, near the corner of College View and Simpson Boulevard. The dining center is the building just to the east. If you should get lost, ask anyone you see.

 

Article by Marc Beauchamp, The Record Searchlight

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