Steppin’ Out – Shoestring, Garden Valley

A lot of people, even many living in and near Garden Valley, didn’t even know there was a Shoestring in that area. That was until they moved from Black Oak Mine Road to 5032 Garden Valley Road, which is at the corner of Garden Valley and Marshall roads.

Rick Siegel opened Shoestring at 1320 Broadway in Placerville in 1989. Then, a few years later he sold it to his sister, Debbie, who had been helping him, and opened one in Garden Valley.

After a few years he decided to retire and closed it. Then, six and a half years ago his daughter, Tamara, thought it would be something great for her to do, and reopened it.

To give you a little history, Rick and Debbie’s father, Richard, had opened the original Shoestring in the San Fernando Valley in 1959. It was called Shoestring, not because they served fries, but because it was opened on a shoestring. They didn’t even serve fries at the start, but they did serve burgers, hot dogs and chili, the same wonderful, secret-recipe chili they still serve.

Both Rick and Debbie worked there and learned the business from him. When he passed away, Debbie took over and made a few changes. “We had been serving burgers, hot dogs and tamales,” said Debbie. “I added fries and one day I decided to put some of our chili and cheese on the fries. I don’t know if I was the first to do it, but it was a hit and still is.”

Rick was the first to move to El Dorado County and Debbie soon followed. Rick opened Shoestring and the rest you know.
I stopped by the Garden Valley Shoestring last week just to check out the place. Wow! Compared to what they had on Black Oak Mine Road, it is huge with lots of inside and outdoor seating.

It is a real family business and a happy place to visit. The day I arrived the owner, Tamara, was cooking while her sister, Erica, and mom, Judy, were helping customers. Even Tamara’s husband, Roger, was up on the roof doing repairs. I understand that when they are really busy, they even bring in the kids.

“We love the location,” Tamara told me with a big smile. “Our business has doubled since we moved from our other location in July. We are more visible and very near the park and the high school. People come by and say, ‘We didn’t even know you were here until you moved.’

“We bought this place and have a lot of plans for it, both inside and out. A lot of traffic goes by, so my sister, Erica, will soon be opening a small coffee drive-thru named the ‘Red Rooster Coffee Stop’.”

The menu is basically the same as the one at the Shoestring on Broadway in Placerville, but they have added a few things.

“We have a ‘Grizzly Burger,’” Tamara told me. “We needed something big to fill up the high school kids, so we came up one named after the school’s mascot. And they can eat it in the ‘Grizzly Den,’ the name we have given the dining room.”

“You should have one,” added Judy. So I did.

The “Grizzly” has bacon, pastrami, Swiss cheese, jalapenos, an onion ring and your choice of chipotle or horseradish sauce. I opted for horseradish and, let me tell you, it was delicious.

“We sell a lot more burgers than hot dogs,” continued Tamara as I devoured my burger and fries. “Our Western, Pastrami-Swiss and Bacon-Swiss are the most popular and we even get lots of orders for our ‘4 X 4′ (four patties and four slices of cheese). One man often comes it to get what he calls a $15 burger, which he designs himself.

Including what I have already mentioned, the menu includes burgers, double burgers, triple burgers, the “4 X 4,” Caliente burger, Chili Burger and many more, including a Veggie Burger.

They also serve a Chicken Sandwich, Pastrami and Swiss, Steak and Cheese, a whole range of hot dogs, plain or with chili and/or cheese, chicken nuggets and chicken tenders.

For sides you can get fries plain or with chili, cheese or both, along with onion rings and Jalapeno Poppers.

Oh, sodas, shakes, floats, freezes and even hand scooped ice cream.

Shoestring in Garden Valley is open from 11 until 8, Tuesday through Saturday.

“We are closed on Sunday because we have kids. You have to have at least one weekend day off with them,” Tamara told me. “We are closed on Monday to rest and catch up on things.”

For more information, call (530) 333-2400.

Hop in your car and take a trip to the northern part or our county, look around at the beautiful country and stop by Shoestring. You’ll be happy you did.

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