JJ’s Cafe at Old Station

Serious Home Cookin’


By Melissa Wynn


On a recent road trip to the secluded and historical community of Old Station, my hubby and I decided to take a lunch break after spelunking our way through the local subterranean, Subway Cave. One can build up quite an appetite trekking around underground on a bumpy pumice floor. JJ’s Cafe was right around the corner and we were starving; problem solved.

Tempting aromas from the outdoor smoker greeted us in the parking lot and we knew that great things waited us inside. Owners Chuck and Ann Woodman greeted us with a warm smile at the door and the scent of fresh baked sour dough bread enveloped the compact but cozy dining room. Fresh baked goods ranging from icing drizzled danishes to pull part jalapeño cheese bread lined the wall. I guessed we wouldn’t be leaving empty handed.

A steaming cup of fresh brewed coffee and a tall glass of iced tea arrived in seconds to wet our whistle. We chatted awhile with the Woodman’s and learned that they too are new to the Old Station area. Seeking more blue skies after living in a rainy area in Oregon, they packed up the family, bought JJ’s Cafe and hung their shingle. For such a remote location, this little roadside diner was hopping on a mid-October afternoon. They say the way to the heart is through the stomach and the Woodman’s have won the hearts of the locals in short order. This charming couple is committed to their ‘farm to fork’ way of thinking and it shows in every sweet or savory bite.

My husband Randy is a big fan of the classic Rueben Sandwich and when he learned that the corned beef is home made on sight, he was sold. Served on soft, fresh baked, homemade dark rye with a pile of wedge cut steak fries; it was a huge meal fit for a king. The sauerkraut was tangy but still mild and the dressing was in perfect proportion, not skimpy or sloppy. I can’t believe he ate the whole thing! I don’t often order much red meat but the burgers at JJ’s Cafe are made from fresh, grass fed, local, Black Angus Beef from Hat Creek Grown LLC, just a few miles down the road. Might as well go all way and top it off with thick, crispy bacon and a wedge of melting cheddar cheese. That was a sinful choice for me so I ordered the coleslaw and sacrificed the fries. Good girl; right? My burger was delicious, more like a quality ground steak, juicy and perfectly spiced, served on a light, perfectly toasted, fresh baked bun. (No store bought breads at JJ’s Cafe!)

We had a great visit with Sue and Lewis Michaels from the bay area. They were seated at the next table over. They stopped in because they’d heard about the great burgers and Sue couldn’t resist a slice of the flaky and succulent berry pie. We shared tips on local attractions to visit and parted company having made several new friends. After the stellar food, great company and an old fashioned good time, we picked up an amazing apple strudel for later, waved goodbye and continued on our Old Station neighborhood adventure.

JJ’s Cafe serves their tasty breakfast and lunch every day except Tuesday, from 7am to 3pm. Fridays and Saturdays they serve dinner too and are open from 7am to 7pm. Fresh baked goods are for sale during all business hours. Take and bake or dine in pizza on the dinner nights are a local favorite as are the towering pulled pork sandwich and homemade pastrami. Fresh pies will be made to order during the holidays so remember to order early! Call 530-335-7225. A full menu is available online at jjscafeoldstation.com.

Drop in on the Woodmans and treat your taste buds to some serious home cookin’. Tell them Mountain Valley Living sent you!