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Dining Out: IKEA

If shopping for a new Beddinge Murbo and a companion Glasört Kulle or maybe a couple of Pjätteryds makes you a tad peckish, fear not, for IKEA will feed you just as happily as they’ll load you up with flat-packed Aspelunds and Trondheims.

The restaurant at IKEA is a simple, bright and airy cafeteria. The choices are limited, but also pleasant and cheap. The signature product is the Swedish Meatballs, served in a light creamy gravy and generally accompanied by the Swedish “go to” utility item, the lingonberry preserve. These lingonberries double as a relish or a jam, and also appear in a syrup that makes such a tasty drink you might inadvertently sue KoolAid for negligence. Nestled between the meatballs and mashed potatoes in preserve form, they make Reagan-era claims of ketchup as a vegetable seem even more overly desperate.

Alongside healthy salmon dishes and chicken alfredo are kid-friendly choices such as french fries, pasta with a simple marinara sauce, and appealingly multi-colored veggies. And one of the best deals around is the kids meal at only $2.49 for three small menu items, and no age check. It makes for a great light lunch as long as you don’t mind eating out of brightly hued plastic containers. I recently had the pasta, veggies, lingonberry drink, and a slice of almond cake for just over $4. That almond cake is a neat extra at just $1.29, rather than the $8 dessert options that require a team to eat them at so many restaurants these days.  

Each IKEA store has menu specials that can be checked online. At West Sacramento, the 15 meatball special drops from $4.99 to an even more special $2.49 on Tuesdays.

Wednesdays are rib days, with a half rack of baby backs for $7.99, complete with cornbread and fries.

But perhaps my favorite treat, for the rare times that I’m out of the house in the morning hours, is the IKEA breakfast. The regular breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and french toast sticks is just $1.99. However, for only 99 cents, you can skip the french toast and still get a decent plate of food that makes Denny’s look like wanton extravagance. Best of all, nobody looks down on you when you each order two of the 99 cents plates.

If you take a liking to Swedish grub, you can also buy items to take home, downstairs in the supremely awkwardly positioned market area. It’s best to have somebody run over there and grab a few things while you’re waiting for the regular registers (I can’t remember the last time I saw a person actually operating a register, so be ready for the self-check option), or you’ll find yourself past the point of paying and either having to line up again or needing to pay for your food products at the downstairs snack bar (which has even cheaper food than the restaurant). It’s also good to know in advance that IKEA will charge you for a plastic bag – so bring your own.

The IKEA restaurant opens 30 minutes before the store opens and, you guessed it, closes 30 minutes before the store closes. The West Sacramento store is open from 10am-8pm, 362 days a year. It’s closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and closes one hour early on July 4th.  And take note, the salad dressing is over by the drinks and ketchup, not near the salad. Other store locations, opening hours, meal deals, and impossible – to – pronounce – or – spell furniture solutions can be found online at www.ikea-usa.com.  Also, they’re running a promotion right now—kids under 12 eat free through July 5.

By Tony Sheppard


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