Dining Out: Meet me at Neeta’s
November 14, 2009
BY DAVID CONGALTON
For most locals, Nipomo has long been a one-restaurant town. People chow down and drink, and drink some more, at the shrine known as Jocko’s. I’ve got no beef with the infamous steak house, but there are other restaurants along Tefft Street in Old Town Nipomo worth checking out.
Top of the list has to be Neeta’s Creekside Cafe, tucked away in the corner of the Adobe Plaza, just across the street from Mesa Veterinary Clinic. A weekend hardly passes when I’m not at Neeta’s. It meets my basic culinary needs: Good food. Good service. Good prices. Good people. More than good enough.
Plus Neeta’s offers outdoor seating, a rarity in Nipomo. The garden patio overlooking the creek is a quiet, relaxing place to hang. We’ve hooked up with several friends on the patio and everyone seems to enjoy the laid back atmosphere.
Owners Mike and Neeta Palmer worked together in local restaurants for years, before opening up their own place in 2008. They keep things simple. Breakfast and lunch only. Everything fresh and homemade. Mike does the cooking. Neeta does the serving. Mike doesn’t talk much. Neeta loves to chat. They’ve got their routine down.
But make no mistake – Neeta is the star of this operation. Typically dressed in jeans and a cap pulled down over her head, Neeta seems to race faster than Jordan Hasay as she moves from inside table to outside patio, back to the prep area. Everything she says seems to be punctuated with a short laugh. Always on the go-go. Business has been good lately, so they’ve hired Katie to come in and help on weekends.
The menu items are basic: seven different types of omelettes, ranging in price from $7.95 to $8.50. My favorite is the veggie, which Mike stuffs with a truckload of broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and onions. Blueberry French toast is another Mike specialty. A breakfast burrito is $5.25; biscuits and gravy will set you back $4.95. Be sure to save room for fresh baked blueberry or apricot muffins for only $1.75.
Lunch is sandwich-friendly. No burgers allowed. Before I turned vegetarian, I typically ordered the California Melt ($7.95): roast beef, Pepperjack cheese, and Ortega chili. Now I grab the Veggie Melt for the same price. Other popular sandwiches include the Creekside Melt ($8.50), Rueben ($7.95), Italian Tri-Tip ($7.75), or the Hot Pastrami ($7.75).
Trying to avoid bread? Grab some hot chili or the Soup of the Day for $3.25. A chef salad goes for $6.95.
In a hurry? Neeta’s may not be the place for you. Mike will not be rushed. You may have to sometimes wait a little longer for your food, but Neeta will keep you entertained with a story, or two, as she refills your drinks.
It’s nice to have a place like Neeta’s in Nipomo. Come as you are. Linger as long as you want. Enjoy the patio. Cash is always appreciated. Watch a couple in action, working hard, doing what they love. You can always catch Jocko’s for dinner.
Neeta’s Creekside Café, 338 W. Tefft Street in Nipomo. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 929-4001.