Menu Please: Jeff’s California Cattle Company Keeps ‘em Coming Back for More

  

Entrepreneur Jeff Garrett started small: at a tender age he invested his money in the In-Dog-Nito on Hartnell (now Rita's). From there he learned what local folks want: a clean, well-lighted space in which to enjoy well-prepared, classic American dishes with a country and/or western flair. To that end, he's the man responsible for the success of mini-chain Lumberjack's, Cool Hand Luke's, and Jeff's California Cattle Company.

The Cattle Company took over the space vacated years ago by Arby's on Cypress Avenue. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, it's more of a coffee shop than steakhouse, with a variety of well-prepared familiar dishes to appeal to most tastes. Situated a couple of blocks from the I-5 exit, and thus not really on the traveler's radar, Garrett has to appeal to local repeat customers to make a go of it, and he's done well in that respect. Fair prices and portions, combined with prompt but not rushed service, keep 'em coming back.

Femme de Joie had avoided visiting for a long time because she feared Jeff's was piggybacking on Arby's, but this was not the case. This is not at all a fast-food joint. Everything is cooked to order and mostly made in-house. There's no rush to get your food and get out: it's comfortable and friendly inside.

Decor is in a mixed bag with mauve paint and some western-themed knicknacks and photos in the standard booth-and table interior. There are three televisions tuned to the country music video channel (sound turned down).

There's always someone in your party who's on a diet, so there's a nice selection of salads available at the Cattle Company, as well as a salad bar. This Southwestern chicken salad wasn't just thrown together as an afterthought: the greens were fresh and crisp and the chicken was tender and moist, with plenty of avocado and tomato as well. No one would feel deprived ordering this instead of a burger.

Breakfast is a big draw and the chicken fried steak is a good example of why. Chicken fried steak isn't diet food under the best of circumstances, but some versions are greasier than others. This wasn't like that: Not at all gristle-y or greasy, a good-sized portion of breaded steak came with potatoes, eggs, and toast - the usual accompaniments.

The standard bearer at Jeff's: a 1/2 pound cheeseburger with potato salad on the side, a coffee shop staple. Jeff's version isn't breaking any new ground, but that isn't what this place is about: simple food done right. The mild-flavored potato salad was house-made and the burger was cooked exactly to order.

Jeff's lunch menu includes a fair selection of sandwiches, and this was a good one: thin-sliced beef with pepper jack cheese and Ortega chilies on grilled sourdough. The sweetish barbecued beans on the side were made in-house.

Jeff's California Cattle Company isn't a hipster joint or white-linen dining. This is simple coffee-shop standards served by cordial waitstaff at a good price. Come here for breakfast or bring your out-of-town guests here for lunch. You won't be disappointed.

Jeff's California Cattle Company, 400 E. Cypress Avenue (at Grove), Redding 96002. 530-221-3572. Open 7 AM to 3 PM daily for breakfast and lunch. No alcohol. On-site parking. Vegetarian options. Cards, no checks.

Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

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12 Responses »

  1. " LOCAL " Thank You Femme !! :-)

    Save gasoline, airfare, bus fare, ect.

    ENJOY "NORTHERN CALIFORNIA"! (we have it all, NO MORE MALLS) :-)

    GOD BLESS AMERICA, (and her children)! :-)

  2. This is my favorite breakfast spot in Redding. It makes bringing the car into town for maintenance a lot more fun! I drop the car off, walk over to Jeff's, then walk back to pick up the car.

  3. Great review, and it definitely makes me want to try Jeff's California Cattle Company. For some reason I've never been in there, but it sounds like it's worth going. Thanks. It's always fun to get out of our rut and try new places, even if the new places have been there awhile!

  4. I haven't tried Jeff's. I had heard that it was a sister restaurant to a few others but I thought it was a different place on Hilltop. I will be dropping by soon. I remember there being an Arby's on Cypress, but didn't recognize the building. I guess they can be hidden better than the old Taco Bells around town.

    Do you know who has a great breakfast? Brick's! Their chicken fried steak is a rib eye. They don't even serve rib eye on their main menu. It was great and way too much to eat at one sitting. Frying up the rest of the steak, hash browns and an egg for lunch still left me full.

    Also didn't Cool Hand Luke's become Duke's? I think I saw the changed signs while shopping.

    • Dear Gamerjohn,

      Someone else mentioned that Brick's has a great breakfast (on weekends only, if memory serves), so that is on the list of must-trys.

      Femme de Joie hasn't been past Cool Hand Luke's/Duke's in a few weeks, but she will try to remember to have a look next time she drives by. That location is what Maman de Joie would have called "a hard-luck spot," since it has a fairly frequent turnover of businesses. It should be a good-luck spot - lots of parking, on a busy street - but has a new occupant every two or three years.

      Cordially,

      Femme de Joie

  5. What a great review. I don't go out to eat often, but reading your review always educates me to the details that make a restaurant successful. Your pictures alone are enough to draw people to Jeff's California Cattle Company.

  6. Haven't tried Duke's, yet, but plan to shortly. Tried Jeff's other two, and they are really very good. Food good, service good, and friendly, besides. ;o)

    Thanks for doing the review!

  7. Ha! I was about to add the exact same comment as George did; I'd always drop the car off in the morning and walk over to Jeff's to get breakfast. The food here in Paris is magnificent but I truly do miss the potatoes and eggs at Jeff's. Any chance of a franchise here? ;-)

    Doug

  8. Jeff's is a great place for breakfast and their country potatoes are the best in town. We will have to visit them for lunch one of these days. Thanks for the review.

  9. We love Jeff's Cattle Co! The food has always been very good every time we go. BTW Dukes was not bought out... Jeff still owns it. From my understanding he changed it from Cool Hand Lukes (which is a franchise) to Dukes (which is his own brand) to opt out of the franchise. I have not been to Dukes yet... but if it is anything like Cool Hands I know I will not be disappointed.

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