The Cuisine Scene
Gramma's Country Kitchen
while driving in Banning, I’ve passed a unique restaurant with a
covered wagon sitting close to the entrance. Gramma’s Country Kitchen,
the lettering on the cover proclaimed. I kept thinking I’d try it, but
when I’m in Banning, I’m usually on my way to the old theater and I’m
short on time. Tomorrow, I always thought.
waiting in the checkout line at a local supermarket, I chatted with the
lady behind me about restaurants. Of all places, she suggested
Gramma’s, where she takes her family for the friendly atmosphere and
down-home cooking. Locals gather in the mornings, she said, for coffee
and homemade cinnamon rolls.
That did it.
Fate, you know. Homemade cinnamon rolls had nothing to do with it.
Thinking of all the sacrifices I made for my job, I called Sheila and
asked if she was ready to go to Banning.
Gramma’s sits on
the south side of Ramsey, a few hundred feet east of Sunset Avenue. The
yellow building with dormer windows looks more like a house than a
restaurant, which adds to its charm.
wagon is missing its cover, but Kathy Kennedy, who co-owns Gramma’s
with Frankie Ramirez, told me the authentic wagon, originally brought
in by forklift, was damaged by the recent high winds in the area and
was now being repaired.
Past the wooden
front door with a scrolled glass insert, Sheila and I found ourselves
in a wood trimmed and wallpapered entrance. Inside, a counter and side
tables held freshly baked cookies, brownies, and cinnamon rolls. Three
seating rooms offer tables and booths and a brick fireplace stands in
the center of the main room, beautifully decorated with Christmas
Jeanette Gustas, the manager, seated us and our server, Charlene Alcala, told us about the day’s specials.
(L-R Jeanette Gustas and Charlene Alcala)
three homemade soups each day, ham and bean, vegetable, and on
Friday’s, clam chowder. I chose the ham and bean and it was thick and
offers over a page and a half of breakfast choices, and they’re served
all day. Eggs with bacon, ham, sausage, polish sausage, turkey sausage,
pork chops, choice of several steaks, pork chops and even pan-fried
trout, ranging from $5.29 to $13.49 for the New York steak. Combos
offers pancakes, French toast, or biscuits and gravy. All items include
any two sides such hash browns, home fries, tator tots, fruit, cottage
cheese, toast, two-dollar pancakes, English muffin, homemade biscuit
and gravy. They even have grits, an old Southern dish, and a selection
of South of the Border breakfast dishes served with beans, potatoes,
toast or tortillas. Jeanette said their three-egg omelet’s are in
demand, and they range from a garden veggie to The Kitchen Sink for
If you prefer
something light, they have about eight different salads, from a
Hawaiian dish of chicken breast with pineapple, Bell peppers, mushrooms
for $7.99, to a spinach salad tossed with grilled bacon, shredded eggs,
tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and onions for $7.99. All salads are served
with choice of garlic toast, biscuit, cornbread, or Gramma’s spice
bread. Sheila chose the spinach with cornbread.
We decided to
try their onion rings from the appetizer choices, and they were piled
high and wonderful. Fresh, crispy, and not too much breading. The ranch
dressing tasted homemade and Sheila and I munched on them while I tried
to decide what to have for dinner.
When I glanced
up from the menu, I spotted a server carrying a tray holding something
that looked like a large chunk of French or Italian bread, and it
looked good. Their sourdough bread bowls, Charlene told me, in which
they serve their stew, soups and chili. A small salad is included, and
the prices ranged from $5.29 to $7.99. I almost ordered one, but then I
saw the chicken pot pie. Not only was the filling made from scratch,
Charlene told me, but also the crust. Was it more like pie crust or a
bread crust, I asked. Pie crust, she answered, and that’s what I love.
But before I ordered, I checked the rest of the menu.
Some of their
sandwich specialties include Philly steak and the triple-decker super
club of turkey, ham, roast beef, corned beef, layered with bacon,
tomato, Swiss and American cheese for $7.69. They’re served with choice
of steak fries, onion rings, macaroni salad, Cole slaw, potato salad,
salad or a cup of soup. Their hot sandwiches are meatloaf, beef or
turkey, served with mashed potatoes and vegetable for $6.79. Their
regular sandwiches are priced from $5.69 to $6.79 for their
I almost chose
their buffalo burger, quarter-pounder for $6.79, half-pounder for
$7.79, but I kept looking. They have a ‘skeeter burger’, teriyaki
burger, and several others ranging from $5.59 to $7.59.
combination plates include tacos, tostadas, chile rellenos and
enchilada,, and the price depends on whether you choose two or three
items, and whether it’s for lunch or dinner, but they range from $7.29
to $10.29. For lunch they’re served with rice and beans, and dinner
combos include soup or salad.
served with soup or salad and vegetables, choice of potato, onion
rings, rice pilaf, apple sauce and cornbread, spice bread, biscuit, or
garlic toast, and some of their selections are meatloaf, 2 center-cut
grilled chops, several steaks, baked ham and chicken fried steak, and
the prices range from $8.99 to $14.99.
seafood choices include a homemade chicken pot pie, which is what I
chose, turkey and stuffing, and they even have whole farm-raised trout,
which is what I’ll try next time. Shrimp, salmon, halibut, cod and red
snapper is on the list, from $8.99 for the fish filet to $12.99 for the
The chicken pot
pie arrived with a flaky golden crust and it looked like a picture.
After having frozen pot pies at home, this was a treat.
They also have a senior and a childrens’ menu.
And of course,
their desserts. Oh my. After making the trip for cinnamon rolls, I
bypassed them for the crunchy fresh cookies and a brownie. A brownie?
It was a huge square with chocolate frosting and covered with nuts. Oh
my goodness, or I should mimic some of the young people and say oh my
Also on their menu are freshly made pies, including fruit in season. They even make them to go.
You might stop by, as they seem to love their customers. I’m glad I did.
Gramma’s Country Kitchen
2868 W Ramsey St
Banning, CA 92220
Open daily from 6am-9pm