Our hunt for breakfast on an early Tuesday morning has taken us to 12th St. between H and I St in the capital city of Sacramento. It was love at first sight! Stepping inside the small building means stepping back in time, quite literally. Jim-Denny’s was built in 1934 by Jim Van Nort. It was located next to the bus depot making it one of the busiest diners in the area. It has since been named a historical landmark and has been kept exactly the same for decades. Inside are the red diner/bar seats facing the kitchen and the grill with its walls decorated with old pictures and articles of the diner.
We were warmly greeted by Katie, one of the new owners. I expressed how utterly impressed I was that the building has been preserved both on the interior and the exterior. She explained to us that since it is considered a historical landmark, there was very little renovation they were allowed to do. Many of the furnishings were from the original owners just like this rotary dial phone and the non-functional milk/creamer dispenser that now stores their selection of hot sauce.
Also, read about my recent visit to the Circus Pancake diner on Broadway!
Jim-Denny’s to me is an American nostalgia! It reminds me of the time when people sat down and chatted about the current events over breakfast at the neighborhood diner. Comes with time, trends changes and nowadays, the diners have been replaced with cafes like Starbucks for a quick latte stop.
I love how the grill is located on the corner where you see it first as soon as you step in. It is unapologetic! Our world has become a dizzying array of food options like gluten-free, non-fat, vegan and soy-free among others. When you come to Jim-Denny’s, you come in for your dose of yummy goodness grease! It’s that simple!
Quintessentially an American diner, Jim-Denny’s menu consists of traditional diner items like milkshakes, burgers, pancakes, omelets, grilled-cheese and sandwiches. The mini pancake is massive!
My husband and I shared a plate of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and bacon with the biggest mini-pancake I’ve ever had!
Despite its vintage facade, Jim-Denny’s is keeping up with time. You can now order your food to be delivered through services like Doordash. They are also famous for their Hubcap pancakes (literally the size of hubcap) and their Hubcap challenge where you can win a $20 gift card. You can also try their popular fresh homemade chili, garlic mushroom burger, Ortega burger and the big breakfast!
The downtown Sacramento is seeing its modern-day gold rush especially since the Golden 1 Arena has been built. The landscape is alive and changing as new businesses rush in. Jim-Denny’s is a Sacramento gem and I hope that it stays the same as it has in the last 80 years. In this seemingly endless sea of change in downtown Sacramento, I hope that it remains the one thing that constantly reminds us of the years gone by. Cheers!
Read about my visit to the Circus Pancake Diner also in Sacramento.