Since my birthday fell on November 22, I had my choice of where I wanted to eat out. I decided on Cavana’s Pub and Grub, a Sutter Creek eatery where my mother and I hadn’t eaten in a couple of years. My birthday also fell on a Sunday, and Cavana’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so we ordered our lunch the day before.

Cavana’s took our order over the phone. We had to drive to Sutter Creek, find a parking spot on a busy Saturday, and enter the restaurant to get our meal. We saw that Cavana’s had an established outdoor dining area in the street next to the sidewalk, and when we went inside, we saw more than a few people in the bar area enjoying drinks.

The person who greeted us at the podium inside the front door told us there was no indoor dining, but once we told him that we were there to pick up our meal, he immediately knew who we were and went back to get our lunches. Less than 30 seconds later, he came with a plastic bag full of Styrofoam boxes. We paid and were out of the restaurant in about two minutes.

My Meal

I ordered a Classic Burger, which has a 10-ounce meat patty from Swingle Meat Company, tomato, red onion, arugula, and garlic mayonnaise on what Cavana’s calls a fresh-made milk bun. I ordered the standard burger instead of one of the other burgers on Cavana’s menu because I wanted to have a direct comparison between the Classic Burger and the other two basic burgers from Hotel Sutter and Buffalo Chips that I already reviewed.

When we got home, I found the Styrofoam box the burger came in was pierced with a large wooden toothpick that went through the burger to keep it intact during the ride home. A spear of mild dill pickle with a crunchy rind came with the meal. I always eat the pickle first, and it was a good start to the meal.

Cavana's Classic Burger

The meat patty was tasty from the first bite, as expected, though the height of the patty made the burger a challenge to eat through. The produce seemed unremarkable in large part because there was plenty of garlic mayonnaise that was the dominant taste in nearly every bite.

The top of the bun was thick albeit light and fluffy. The bottom of the bun, though, was thinner than the patty. As I ate through the burger and pressed firmly on the buns to keep the burger together, my thumb pushed through the bun and I could clearly see the patty through the hole.

I ordered onion rings with my meal, but I received the standard side of fries instead. My mother swore that she told the person on the phone to order onion rings, so if you order a different side than fries, you may want to confirm it on the phone with the Cavana’s order-taker first. The medium-sized fries were breaded with what seemed to be panko crumbs, and they were crispy and light from the first bite to the last.

Mom’s Meal

My mother ordered the Cavana Patty Melt, and she found that the Styrofoam box was pierced with a large wooden toothpick for each half of the burger. The patty melt came with a 10-ounce meat patty (again from Swingle Meat Company), swiss and cheddar cheeses, grilled onions, and thousand island dressing between two slices of sourdough bread.

Though the slices of bread were thinner than the patty, the fact that the burger was cut in half meant my mother didn’t have as much time to hold the burger to push through the slices. She found the burger so filling that she could only eat one half of the burger and some of the fries. My mother agreed with me that the fries and the pickle were quite good.

Cavana's Styrofoam box with toothpicks

The Verdict

As I was finishing my burger, I remembered what the burger reminded me of: My father’s burgers that he used to grill on the barbecue in our backyard. My father loved to barbecue, so burgers were a staple. The Cavana’s burger tasted about as much as my father’s did: With a large patty, vegetables that were good but not remarkable, and my thumb going through the bottom bun as I passed the halfway point of eating the burger.

I think the burger itself is the best I’ve had in Sutter Creek because of the quality of the meat, though the burger at the Sutter Hotel has a better bun. My mother has also eaten the sourdough burger at Mel and Faye’s Diner, which compares most directly to the Cavana’s Patty Melt, and she pronounced the patty melt from Cavana’s as superior.

The fries are some of the best I’ve had from any local restaurant and a step above breaded fries from fast-food restaurants. Though my mother’s fries didn’t hold up well after being in the microwave, they did do well when my mother baked them in the oven with fish the next night.

The next day, my mother told me that she was charged an even $29.00 for the meal, but the employee at the front of the restaurant said the amount was slightly less. It seems both the amount the Cavana’s employee quoted and the amount charged was lower than what the $28.00 for both our lunches with sales tax would come out to be.

So, we turn on our green light for Cavana’s Pub and Grub, though you may want to take the extra step of confirming your order and price before you buy.

Want to Try Them?

Cavana’s Pub and Grub serves burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, appetizers, desserts, and daily specials. They are open for lunch and dinner with limited dine-in, outdoor dining, and take-out service on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Cavana’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Cavana’s Pub and Grub is located at 36 Main Street in Sutter Creek, and you can read their menu on their website. If you want to order take-out or have any questions, call them at 209-267-5507.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.