So, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a great lunch at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Placerville, and talking restaurants with Troy Duncan, who with his wife and parents own the place. I don’t know how it came up, but he asked me it I had ever been to “Take a Bite.” I looked at him and said, “If that is a restaurant, No.”
“It’s in Coloma,” he said, “in the Chevron Station just beyond the bridge. It’s a deli, but they serve fantastic cheesesteak sandwiches and burgers. The lady who owns it is named Lindsey and I think they have been there for ten years.”
I love cheesesteak sandwiches and burgers, so I looked the place up online and asked my friend, Mike Long, if he was interested in lunch. He had a lot of other things going on, so I figured I might just go by myself.
I happen to have a friend named Larry Stiles, who used to walk with us, but is now recovering from a work related injury. For several weeks he hasn’t been able to drive and he just happened to call me, asking if I could take him to the store, adding, maybe we could have lunch at the same time. The following day we were on our way to run some errands and have lunch at Take a Bite.
Take a Bite is actually in Lotus, even though it is sometimes known as “Take a Bite of Coloma,” and very easy to find. If you are heading towards Cool from Placerville, drive across the bridge, go a few hundred feet and there it is in the Chevron Station on your right, just before the Coloma Club.
Find a place to park. Then go in the main door of the service station and turn to your left. You can’t miss it.
We walked in and were greeted by three lovely smiling ladies, the lady who runs the station, deli owner Lindsey and her helper and friend, Chevon, who is also a nurse at a local school.
We ordered a Cheese Steak sandwich, a Pastrami Burger, a couple of drinks and an order of fries. When I started to orders more fries, Lindsey immediately replied, “One order is enough for two people.”
When I mentioned who I was, she said that another paper had written a story about her place some time ago.
“They never really mentioned my food,” she said, “It was all about me.”
“People want to know about you,” I told her. “Everyone wants to know how it is you have a restaurant. A lot of people want to own a restaurant.”
While she lovingly fixed our food, she told me her story, which I shortened.
“Well,” she said, “I’m from New York. I met someone right here at the gas station who I would soon date and later marry. I told him I was looking for a job. He had a friend who had this place and was looking for help. He asked where I was from and when I told him New York, he said, “You’re hired. I’m looking for someone who doesn’t have a lot of local friends who will give away sandwiches.”
“In 2005 my in-laws opened ‘Take a Bite.’ she continued, “and since we got along great, my mother-in-law and I ran the place. When she retired, she gave it to me and here I am. Now I run it and hire my good friends to help me. I love what I do.”
There is no inside seating, so when our food was ready, we took everything, including a number of napkins, outside to some picnic tables they have under an oak tree, a place where we could eat and watch the “passing parade.”
Larry started with the Cheese Steak which, along with a lot of meat, included sauteed mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, seasoning, melted cheese and mayo.
“This is great,” Larry told me. “The meat is really tender and good.”
I started with my half of the Pastrami Burger, which had lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mayo and mustard on it. From the first bite I was entranced. It was one of those burgers cooked on a flat-top grill that is juicy, runny and absolutely full of flavor. Every bite was as good as the first. I hated to have it end.
I turned to Larry and said, “This immediately reminded me of one of those burgers I used to get from a diner at the end of a fishing pier and is just outstanding.”
As Larry started on the burger his first remark was, “This is a great burger.” I nodded in agreement.
Part of the secret, Lindsey tole me is that she hand forms the one-third pound plus patties herself.
As I started on the Cheese Steak, I made a similar remark to Larry’s. I like cheesesteak sandwiches in the “Philly” style, with lots of sauteed peppers, but even without them, it was really, really good.
The fries were well done, crunchy and delicious. Again, like those from an “end of the pier” diner.
The menu also includes a number of other delicious items, including the Coloma Taco, a BLT, Cheeseburger, “Best Burger (thick bacon, onion ring, BBQ sauce and American cheese), Mushroom Burger, “Burger By the Bay” (your choice of cheese and the works) and a Spicy Black Bean Burger. You can also get meat and/or cheese sandwiches.
They also have specials and you can get the Cheese Steak made with chicken or “veggie.”
“I have a family,” Lindsey said, so we are only open from 10 until 3, weekdays and we are closed on the weekends.”
For more information you can call (530) 642-8482. Or, just stop by during business hours. You will love the food and the people.