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Willow Cafe serves fresh, local dishes in Folsom

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Eileen Wilson, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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FOLSOM, CA - Tucked in to an office complex on Folsom Boulevard, you might be surprised to find a new café inspired by organic dining. Willow Café and Sweetery debuted eight months ago with a menu offering fresh, local options. The restaurant is best known for its weekend brunch, but they also serve lunch daily and recently added dinner Thursday through Saturday. But owners said it’s the brunch crowd that keeps the parking lot full and the servers moving at a frenzied pace. “We do a rockin’ brunch on the weekends,” said Kim Tomlinson, restaurant manager. “The gluten-free buckwheat pancakes are a favorite.” The café offers gluten-free menu items to help meet every person’s diet needs. The bakery case also holds a wide array of goodies, with more than half of them gluten free. “Our chef and owner, Sarah Boudjakdji, tries to make every dish meet a lot of dietary needs,” Tomlinson said. “Everything is made in-house, and Sarah even makes her own vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.” Owners said attention is paid to every detail, from the natural atmosphere that includes tumbled river rock table décor, to burgundy cloth napkins, to the organic feel of the place, which matches the organic offerings. “We feature organic produce whenever possible, and our chicken is free range, our beef is grass fed, and everything is as local as possible. We definitely stay in California for our source, and never more than 100 miles away,” Tomlinson said. Tomlinson said the café chef understands how to both run a business and how to create unique food items. “Sarah has worked in restaurants since she was 13 and she’s passionate, creative and has that keen pallet that lets her know what is going to work,” Tomlinson said. “Now she has seen her dream realized.” Café favorites include polenta lasagna, quinoa and white bean cakes served with roasted red pepper sauce and wilted spinach. Tomlinson said that all their dinner dishes are gluten free, and that the chef has been both vegan and vegetarian at different times in her life, so she appreciates customers’ needs for specialized meals. “In all the food that I make, I am very conscious of people’s dietary restrictions. I keep the food simple and safe,” Boudjakdji said. “Everyone deserves to just eat.” The café also offers a wide array of wines from the foothills and Napa, and locally sourced beer. “We also serve Old Soul coffee, which is from Sacramento,” Tomlinson said. But, she said it’s the dessert case that may offer the biggest temptation for customers including the peach crumble. For more information, visit Willowcafeandsweetery.com. ----- KNOW AND GO What: Willow Café and Sweetery Where: 13405 Folsom Blvd., Suite 950, Folsom Hours: Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday - Friday, dinner 5 p.m. to close, Thursday – Saturday, brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday Info: Willowcafeandsweetery.com