Fans of Dinky Diner, be aware: You have only about a month left to savor the diner's signature Clarksburger. As is their custom, Carl and Viki Clayton plan to shut and haul off the wood-shingled trailer a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. They don't plan to reopen for their ninth year until the first Wednesday in March, "unless they win the lottery," according to a regular strolling up to the order window.
From spring to fall, Dinky Diner is parked on a wide gravel apron at the Clarksburg Marina between South River Road and the Sacramento River at Clarksburg. Guests take their burgers, hot dogs or other sandwiches to shaded tables flanked by tidy flower beds high up, moored boats down below.
The Clarksburger ($3.99) is classic diner fare - hunky, juicy and unfussy, with the usual optional decorations, including ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions. Also on the menu board are a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, a chicken saute sandwich, a mushroom cheeseburger (perhaps the top seller), and a couple of daily specials, such as the occasional corned-beef sandwich. Milkshakes and floats? Of course. Breakfast choices include bacon and eggs, French toast and pancakes.
Bundle up, be patient (everything is made to order by the three-person crew, which can barely squeeze in to the quarters), and enjoy the river's dwindling fisher traffic as the days get shorter and chillier.
Dinky Diner, 36339 Riverview Drive, Clarksburg (about 20 minutes from downtown Sacramento), is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; breakfast is served to 10:30 a.m..