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Cheap Eats


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Village Inn Café
204 Village Square on Orinda Way, Orinda, (925) 254-6080. Breakfast and lunch Mon.–Sat.

Late last year, in a makeover worthy of reality TV, Orinda’s Village Inn Café moved a few doors closer to Orinda Way, doubled in size, and unveiled a fresh interior, including butter-colored walls and batten-board panels. The café retained its menu and its vintage sign, reading: “Old Fashioned Milk Shakes With the Can.”

You can still order traditional sandwiches, but why would you, when zesty options such as the Hot Veggie beckon? The Hot Veggie combines grilled mushrooms, green chilies, and jack cheese with salsa ($6.60 half; $9.10 whole). Patty melts such as the egg salad and bacon melt ($6.85 half; $8.80 whole) sound crazy but taste delicious.

The taco salad with beef or grilled chicken ($10.25), or the chef or cobb salad ($10.75) satisfies the heartiest of appetites. Friday’s clam chowder is loaded with clams, bacon, celery, and potatoes (cup, $2.90; bowl, $4.45), and big, thick milkshakes ($4.75) double as dessert. If you’re in the area in the morning, breakfast is available until 11:25 a.m. The crispy Belgian waffle ($5.50), house-made corned beef hash ($8 half; $10.25 whole), and two-egg omelets (from $2.60) are all popular options.

Best Bets:

Specialty sandwiches.

Cheapest thing on menu:

Green salad or half-scoop of chicken or tuna salad (all $4.15).

Most expensive:

Nachos or large cobb, chef, tuna, or chicken salad (all $10.75).

Healthiest:

Cottage cheese and fruit on lettuce ($7).

Kitsch appeal:

Framed historical photos of Orinda on the walls.

Kid-friendly?

Yes. Kids’ menu at breakfast includes a half-waffle or dollar pancakes (both $3.25). At lunch, there’s a half-sandwich with chips or peaches ($3.50).

Speedy eats?

Yes.

Big parties?

Yes, move tables together.

Alcohol?

No.

Outdoor seating?

No.

Credit cards?

Visa, Mastercard, American Express.

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