“Where we are all family” is the quote at Wayside Café and they are the epitome of what family is all about. 

Until last year, it was four generations all working together: Great-grandma Lola, her daughter and owner Jamie and her daughters, Amber and Brittany and granddaughter Nevaeh. I think that is amazing and this is what “locally owned and operated” really means. 

The restaurant is a tribute to Susie, who owned the café first and when she passed away, she left it to her three children and sister, Jamie, who then bought them out. There is a beautiful picture of Susie on the back wall, smiling at everyone who walks in and some of the menu items have an asterisk next to them depicting her favorites.

I’ve been going to Wayside Café for a number of years and always have a great meal. One of my favorite items is a dinner salad with their famous made-from-scratch thousand Island dressing and indeed, it is fabulous. Quite a few of their salad dressings are made from scratch as well as the soups, chili and even the cheesecake.

Wayside Café is a cute little diner on Sierra Highway in the heart of Rosamond. You can dine at one of the cozy booths, at the old fashioned counter or outside on the patio. The interior has a country feel and the entire staff is very friendly.

There are quite a few daily specials. The Friday and Saturday night special is fish and chips and prime rib and since it was Friday night, I asked my companion to join me as he just loves fish and chips!

It was a beautiful drive as the sun was just beginning to set and as we walked in, we were quickly escorted to a nice, cozy booth. The server took our drink order, which was iced tea and a soda.

The restaurant features breakfast, lunch and dinner with breakfast being served all day, so I thought it would be a good idea to order from each. We started with an appetizer of onion rings, followed by the Wayside sampler (bacon, sausage, ham, two eggs, home fries and two hotcakes). I substituted hash browns for home fries. The thick-cut onion rings were deliciously battered with a subtle blend of spices, letting the onions’ natural sweetness shine through. They were understated and delightful. 

Pancakes are the hero of the breakfast table — the taste is “deeply breakfasty” — eggy, salty, just this side of sweet. They are a little indulgent and yet somehow appropriate for an evening dish — a fluffy stack with crisp edges, dripping with maple syrup, just the way I like them. The meat was salty, sweet and moist, which created happiness in my mouth. Perfectly cooked potatoes — wonderfully crispy on the outside and tender on the inside and fluffy, moist, flavorful eggs — finished this breakfast entrée. 

This was a great choice, as it had a little bit of everything and was a great way to showcase their breakfast. I ordered a side of biscuits and gravy, as that tells a lot about the chef and it did not disappoint, with flaky, homemade biscuits under a classic, hearty and savory gravy. There are quite a few other traditional items on the breakfast menu, as well as French toast, waffles, skillets, omelets and even pork chops.

My companion ordered the fish and chips special, served with seasoned fries and coleslaw. It was a very creamy coleslaw I might add, with pineapple tidbits. He was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful everything tasted. There was a generous amount of moist, fried to a perfect golden brown, fish, packed with flavor. He did manage to give me one bite, which was all I needed to taste the excellence and we spent the rest of the evening talking and devouring the French fries one by one, until they were gone.

I also chose the mushroom burger (a half-pound charbroiled burger with fresh sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions and Swiss cheese). Sautéed mushrooms and onions (which I added) are the best toppings in the world for a burger and these “old standbys” become that way for a reason — they’re awesome. It lifts the burger into a different stratosphere other than a plain ’ol cheeseburger. This makes perfect sense, as this burger was out of this world. Of course, the melted Swiss put it right over the top.

Lastly, I ordered a veggie melt, as it’s one of my favorite sandwiches — Swiss and American cheese, sliced avocado and tomato on grilled whole grain bread) there’s nothing like that combination. I asked for a side of sprouts and a perfect sandwich was formed. 

Burgers, sandwiches, melts and grills are all served with your choice of French fries, potato salad or fruit. I chose the fruit, which was the perfect complement to my sandwich. All dinners are served with your choice of mashed potatoes (baked potatoes after 4 p.m.) or rice, cornbread or garlic bread and soup or salad.

We did look over the dessert menu of freshly made fruit pies, cream pies, peach cobbler, sundaes and ice cream cones, but were too full to partake.

Wayside Café is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, daily specials, a senior menu and military discount. They are located at 2835 Sierra Highway in Rosamond, 661-256-3437. 

Bon appetit!

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