Dining Out: Champlin’s Evergreen Caf

The people who regularly eat downtown – including state workers, newsies, lobbyists and the Capitol crowd – know most of the restaurants within walking distance of their offices. But here’s one they may not know: Champlin’s Evergreen Café.

That’s because Champlin’s is located on the ground floor of the Cal-EPA building at 10th and I, and you don’t just pass by this restaurant and then go in on an impulse. There’s no public entrance except through the entry from inside the EPA building. And you can’t just walk in and stroll around the lobby – you have to be vetted by the security office and given a visitor’s pass. No strip searches, X-rays or pat-downs, though, so there’s nothing to spoil an appetite.

There are lots of cafeterias in state buildings – the Resources Building is always popular, so are the cafeterias in the Capitol, the Legislative Office Building and Food and Ag. But Champlin’s is a bit different, looking more like a restaurant on the outside than a state office eatery. Because of its location, its principal clientele are the workers in the Cal-EPA building.

There’s the usual array of sandwiches, juices, coffees and entrees, but the specials are, in fact, something special. The specials’ prices during May range from $5.95 to $6.75 – you can’t beat that – and they change each day of the month. Through the end of next month, don’t go in on the first three Friday’s the month. Those are Furlough Fridays, and the restaurant is closed.

There’s teriyaki chicken with white rice and veggies ($5.95), oriental chicken salad with won-ton chips and sesame dressing ($5.95), classic spaghetti and meat balls with garlic bread and a green salad ($6.25), and a chicken Caesar wrap in a spinach tortilla ($5.95).

If you like Mexican fare, you’re covered. There’s shredded pork carnitas with rice, beans, tortillas and toppings ($6.45) and a shredded chicken quesadilla with rice, beans and toppings ($6.45). If you’re ambitious, check out the Chicken Burrito Grande, which probably weighs more than you do ($6.45), or the Taco Salad Grande (also $6.45).

New on the menu this month – it’s the May 27 special – is the Turkey Pesto Panini Club, which is sliced turkey, swiss cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, onion and Pesto Mayo on a Ciabatta roll, with a side $5.95).

We could go on, but you get the idea.

Champlin’s Evergreen Café
10th and I Streets
8AM – 4PM Mon-Fri
Closed weekends & Furlough Fridays.

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