By Melissa Wynn

On a recent road trip to Shingletown we found ourselves famished after a long hike to Grace Lake. It was a beautiful day and the sign announcing a 9-2 brunch in front of Ponderosa Pines Bar & Grill was a welcome sight.

We walked in to the sweet and salty aromas of bacon and maple syrup. Spunky owner Marie Church was bringing out fresh servings of green chili smothered burritos and invited us to make ourselves at home. We settled into a booth and watched through the kitchen doorway where owner, retired Army First Sargent Gary Church and six year old grand daughter Leila were whipping up even more tempting treats for the buffet style brunch. Daughter Candace Jones was out during our visit so Leila was holding down the fort.

Mountain decor, Marie’s eclectic collection of M&M figurines and the piano in the corner give the feel of visiting the home of great aunt Bess. Everyone at Ponderosa Pines is family and they quickly welcome their patrons into the fold.

Marie’s two brothers, David and Charlie Surridge brought an endless supply of steaming rich coffee and iced tea throughout our wonderful meal of good home cookin. The bacon was crisp, the syrup was warm and the french toast was fluffy. Sooo good after our busy morning. Sausage, pancakes and a truck load of scrambled eggs were also standing by to feed the neighborhood. I couldn’t resist just a few bites of the smothered burritos and enchiladas that were the lunch side of brunch. Too delicious.

The full bar in the corner is a hodge podge of interesting trinkets. If only they could share the adventures they have seen, I can only imagine the tales they would weave.

Ponderosa Pines is closed on Tuesdays so Monday nights are special. Marie and the crew pick a theme and just go with it. Dinner is a surprise. Will it be Mexican, German, Surf and Turf or Southern Fried? Grab a friend and go on a Monday night and see what you find. The rest of the week offers a full menu including thick juicy burgers ($6.95), a wide variety of sandwiches, and Marie’s award winning chili. This pot of deliciousness took 2nd place in 1999 and 1st place in 2000 in the Western Kentucky Chili Cookoff.  Dinner fare includes a mouth watering Rib Eye ($18.95), Marie’s famous Chicken Fried Steak and tender Prime Rib on Friday and Saturday nights. Whenever you visit your experience is sure to leave you with a full tummy and few laughs. Load up the family and head to Shingletown, local waitress September Brown will be there with the gang waiting to serve with a smile.

Ponderosa Pines Bar & Grill

29208 State Highway 44

Shingletown, CA, 96088

(530) 474-1468