“Man does not live by coffee alone. Have a Danish.”
Oft quoted “Unknown”
Fire Dawg Coffee Company
For several weeks I have driven by this new business at 493 Main Street (the corner of Highway 49 and China Garden Road) in Diamond Springs. I thought I would give them a bit of time to get organized and now the time seemed right, so last week I stopped by to see how things were going. I was a bit like “old home week.”
Matt Silva, his wife Gracie and sons Jeff and Bobby run this small café that serves coffee and coffee drinks, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, smoothies, milkshakes, Hawaiian shaved ice, baked goods and more.
In 2006 Matt retired from his job as Fire Chief in Cameron Park and, in his words, “I just wanted to do something.” His wife Gracie, who he will tell you hides in the kitchen creating wonderful things, is a paralegal and used to work with me at a local attorney’s office before going to work for the State of California.
I had quite a nice chat with Matt about important things like, “Why is it shave ice in Hawaii, but shaved ice here?” and, “What is the difference between that and a snow cone?”
It turns out that shaved ice is finer and the flavoring syrup stays in the top and doesn’t end up dripping on your brand new shirt and pants. And, because of that, it can be supplemented with a scoop of ice cream in the bottom, which I will get into later. Why the spelling difference? Only the Hawaiians know.
“We are still working on the menu,” said Matt. “At lunch we are serving salads, along with sandwiches made with turkey, roast beef, pastrami and Gracie’s own recipe chicken salad, served on your choice of sourdough, rye or wheat bread, or a ciabatta or French roll. We are trying to find out what our growing number of regular customers want, and then will adjust our menu to suit them.”
I had to try Gracie’s chicken salad on a ciabatta roll. I love chicken salad, especially when someone else makes it, and it was really good: lots of chunks of roasted chicken. When I had finished, Matt said I should try a shaved ice and brought me the menu.
There were a lot of flavors to select from, and even combinations of flavors with names like “Batman,” “Spiderman” and “Red Velvet,” but when I saw “dreamsicle” I went for it. Matt added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was closer to a childhood orange and vanilla ice cream bar than anything I have tried lately, even the ice cream bar itself.
As I finished my shaved ice, Gracie brought out one of her new creations, a meatball slider on a pretzel roll. It came with extra marinara sauce and grated Pecorino Romano cheese, but I was too full to enjoy it and had it packed for later (I keep foam shipping boxes in my car just for times like this).
I had it for dinner that evening and it was so good I drove back the next day just to tell Gracie. And, while I was there, tried a sample of the delicious pizza that they are thinking about adding to the menu.
While looking around at the many interesting pictures and fire related relics on the wall, I noticed that their coffee came from El Dorado Coffee & Tea Co. in El Dorado Hills.
“They buy their beans directly from small producers they have visited and roast them themselves.” said Matt, “That insures consistency in their products and our customers really like their coffee and tea. We also buy many of our baked goods from Sugar Lillie Bakery in the town of El Dorado and are trying to find local sources for more of what we need.”
Coffee Dawg Coffee Company is open Monday through Friday from 7 until 4, but they are thinking about adding Sunday to the list.
As I was leaving I asked Matt why the logo on their hats and shirts said, Coffee Dawg Coffee Co. No. 1. He said, “Who knows, be we might open more than one.”
For more information give them a call at (530) 306-7242.