The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 4, 2011
The Dish: Gold Rush Grille at the Secretary of State building

IMG_0837.jpg While there's no shortage of coffee and lunch locales around the Capitol, many state buildings are home to additional dining options. This post is part of a new weekly series of mini-reviews of some of those spots for downtown denizens looking to try something new.

By Torey Van Oot and Jon Ortiz

The spot: Stop two on our mission to dine our way through Sacramento's state buildings was Gold Rush Grille on the second floor of the Secretary of State Building. Situated at the corner of 11th and O streets, this one is a quick jaunt from the Capitol. Don't be deterred by the security guard manning the first floor entrance -- all you need to do is show an ID and hit the staircase to the left to get to the grille.

The grub: Gold Rush Grille is a good spot for grilled sandwiches, wraps and other hot plates. Sample fare includes the grilled ham and cheese ($5.49) or a crispy Buffalo chicken wrap with a "blue cheese drizzle" ($6.29). Specials at the grill follow a daily theme, such as "In the Mood Mondays" and "Comfort Food Wednesdays." Lunch is dished up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Like Cafe 744, the Gold Rush Grille also serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The full menu is posted here.

IMG_0838.jpgOn our plates: Jon had a made-to-order BBQ beef sandwich with cheese and a "mountain" of fries. Torey grabbed a pre-made turkey wrap with bacon, avocado, onion, lettuce and cream cheese and a mixed greens salad. Our lunch guest chowed down on the tortellini pasta special with meatballs and a side of garlic bread.

The bill: The total tab for all three diners came to $15.30, not bad for the amount of food on our plates.

The good: French fries don't get much better than this. Crunch on the outside, tender on the inside. Makes our mouths water just thinking about it.... The grilled sourdough bread for Jon's sandwich was buttery and browned to perfection. The combination of made-to-order grill items and daily specials presents plenty of options for diners looking for something besides your typical turkey sandwich. The location is super convenient. We ate at one of several tables on an outside balcony overlooking the building's courtyard, but the large, wrap-around windows inside let in lots of natural light, giving the dining area an atrium-like feel.

Thumbnail image for IMG_0840.jpgThe bad: Besides the fries and sandwich bread, Gold Rush didn't exactly strike gold with the rest of our food. Jon's beef was rubbery and the BBQ sauce was bland. The wrap was also lacking in flavor and a bit mushy thanks to the cream cheese. Our guest reported that his pasta dish was just like his mom used to make. He wouldn't say whether that was good or bad. We'll take it as leaning towards the latter.

The grade: 2.5 out of 5 sporks.

Have you been to Gold Rush Grille? Share your experiences in the comments field below. You can also check out our earlier review of Cafe 744 at this link.

Jon Ortiz and Torey Van Oot are taking suggestions for state building restaurants to try. Send your picks to capitolalertcontests@gmail.com and check back every Friday for a weekly write up.

PHOTO CREDITS: From top to bottom: Pasta special, turkey wrap and BBQ beef sandwich from Gold Rush Grille. Photos by Torey Van Oot, Bee Capitol Bureau.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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