Address: 13943 Main St, Walnut Grove, CA 95690
Phone: (916) 776-1800
Known For: Steak, Burgers, Burgers, Peanut Butter & Marmalade
What I had: Cheeseburger, French Fries, Peanut Butter & Marmalade Toast
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
The address is a bit iffy, I think the town is actually Locke but either way, if you blink you’ll drive right by. This is probably the smallest town I’ve ever been to, apparently there are “between 80 – 90 people” who live in Locke. Al’s is located just of the main road, down the hill. It’s known by either Al’s Place or Al the Wops but because of the current “politically correct” scene it’s moreso the former.You see, Locke came about in 1915 when nearby Walnut Grove’s Chinatown burned down…hence Al the Wops.
Walking in here you’ll have to let your eyes adjust, it’s dark and dingy, almost like a cave. I believe they open at 11am for lunch, when I asked they said “that was when they began serving food”, but they open whenever the locals knock down the door, sometimes 7 am. The have a full bar and by 11 in the morning there were quite a few “locals” saddled up to it.
They’re known for a few things here, their steak, burgers, peanut butter & marmalade. The menu doesn’t stretch much beyond that. They’ve got salad, which consists pretty much of Iceberg lettuce mix and 1000 Island dressing, and a sub-par spaghetti from what I’ve heard.
I had a cheeseburger and I’ll say it was excellent. The meat was fresh and certainly not frozen. It was cooked perfectly and you can tell the griddle has been “seasoned” well over the years. It’s always a huge plus when you’re getting your burger from a griddle that’s been in operation for over 30 years. The tomatoes, lettuce and onions were all fresh and just the right amount. The “bun”, more of a buttered toast on the griddle, was wonderful.
The fries were fantastic too. Nice thickness and cooked just right, crispy outside but still soft inside. I didn’t try the steak but it was heavily recommended by several people. Another diner down the bar from me ordered one and it was huge.
You’ve got to try the peanut butter & marmalade on toast. It’s worth driving there solely for that. They griddle the toast same as the burger. It comes nice and hot, slather it with the PB & marmalade and it melts in your mouth. You’d think you’d had enough PB & J sandwiches before in your life but until you’ve had this, you’d be wrong.
The co-owner/barkeep was extremely friendly and accommodating. He was joking and jabbing the whole time. His “mother”, still not quite sure if she actually birthed him, was the cook and she was just as pleasant. They had a nice banter between the two of them. Disclaimer: If you have children you may want to sit at a table further from the bar…or maybe possibly skip this place altogether…but that would be a shame.
I really like the feel and atmosphere of this place. It’s truly unique and a treat to experience for sure. If you’re ever traveling anywhere between Sacramento and the Bay Area you must make a point to stop into Locke/Walnut Grove and treat yourself to a wonderful lunch and a wonderful time. As Biker Bars go this one is on the top of my list for now.
Aug 23, 2009 @ 12:14