On a recent visit to the foothills, I made a rewarding detour through Knights Ferry.
Knights Ferry General Store is California's oldest operating general store. It closed briefly, but reopened a year ago with a new owner who has brought new energy and vision to the site.
The general store offers everything that could be found at a typical convenience store, as well as a variety of local food stuffs.
The pristine produce grown by local farmers displayed in the refrigerator case was impressive.
And the day I visited, a local artist was in residence.
The saloon and grill side of the enterprise has retained the original dive bar and community watering hole character with baseball caps pinned to the ceiling.
The saloon and grill are open Thursday through Sunday with regular live music performances.
I found a table to myself under the antlers.
Homemade soup of the day was Vegetable Beef. A customer at the bar who was paying his tab as I arrived recommended it highly. Seeing the quality of vegetables sold in the store, I felt confident ordering a cup and was not disappointed. Only $5 for a big cup, the grassfed beef stock was homemade and the soup featured hand chopped beef with a haunting whiff of cumin and an array of fresh veggies. Clean and light, this was delicious as well as healthful. To drink, an Arnold Palmer, $2, made with freshly brewed tea and homemade lemonade, and a free refill too. Prices include sales tax, making this truly a bargain.
Be sure to check out the clean restrooms . . . the ladies room is decorated with vintage menus of the area.
On my way out, I had a chance to chat with the cook. She was thrilled that I'd noted the care that goes into food sourcing and prep here. I wish that Knights Ferry were closer to me so that I could return soon.
Knights Ferry General Store, Saloon & Grill
17701 Sonora Road
Knights Ferry, California