Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe | Santa Rosa

Rib-sticking comfort food with the know-how of a Wine Country chef at this Santa Rosa breakfast, brunch and lunch spot

Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe blintz

Tthe curtains have opened on the second act of Chef Jeffrey Madura’s culinary career. There is, it seems, life after 20 years as top toque of SoCo’s venerated John Ash & Co. — slinging hash and pancakes at 6:30 am.
The eponymous Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe is a breakfast, brunch and lunch favorite at Santa Rosa’s Hillside Inn.
Though it may seem a strange sidestep from go from foie gras to dishing up Huevos Rancheros, the breakfast-set can’t complain: Rib-sticking comfort food with the know-how of a Wine Country chef.
Top picks: Cheese blintzes made with fromage blanc (a creamier kin to cottage cheese) and topped with lemon curd and berry puree ($7.25); sauteed organic chicken livers with caramelized onions and pancetta ($10.25); rich, cheesy grits and country ham ($12.50) or crispy chicken fried steak smothered in gravy rich enough to have its own offshore bank account ($10.50).
Taking inspiration from his Vintner’s Inn Days of lavish brunches, some of the more sublime dishes include sticky bun french toast and Eggs Benedict with ham and orange-scented Hollandaise. But there’s no shame in ordering a quick side of scrambled eggs and toast at the casual cafe. Old Hillside regulars may lament the loss of the airplane theme and much-loved buckwheat pancakes — the latter of which might be worth reviving, Chef Jeff.
Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe heuvos rancherosGears shift at lunch, when the cafe begins turning out burgers,
sandwiches and salads that defy everyday diner fare. Madura’s Sonoma Onion Soup ($7.50), is swimming with soft onions and a cap of gooey Gruyere. Diana’s Favorite salad ($8.50) has butter lettuce, slices of mango, avocado, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and candied pumpkin seeds ($8.50) or the already popular Shrimp Poor Boy with sauteed gulf
prawns, sliced cucumbers and green godess dressing with crisp sweet potato fries ($11.50). Other choices include pot roast, turkey chili, a half-pound burger and pulled pork sandwich with chipotle bbq sauce and potato salad. Desserts are simple: Tapioca and fruit crisps that fall in with the diner theme. Wines and beers are available by the glass, as is a breakfast/brunch Bloody Mary made with sake.
It’s food good enough to fuel your day, but inspired enough to make dinner seem downright dull.
Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe: Open 7 days a week from 6:30am to 2:30pm. 2901 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 546-6317. Entrance to the cafe can be a little confusing if you’re heading east on Route 12. Best bet is to turn left on Farmer’s Lane and follow the curve around to the entrance of the Hillside Inn. Directions

Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe on Urbanspoonjeffreymaduraport.jpg


37 thoughts on “Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe | Santa Rosa

  1. Two words: frozen potatoes. I mean, come on. If I wanna open up a bag of freakin’ Bird’s Eye, I can do it at home for less.

  2. We just had a great breakfast at Jeffrey’s. My quiche was wonderful and the potates were perfectly seasoned. We always request our breakfast potatoes to be crispy and well done. It’s amazing how many restaurants ignore the request. We used to go to the Omlette Express, but ordered fruit instead of potatoes because they were undercooked. Still hard inside. Our new breakfast place is Jeffrey’s. We will definitely try it for lunch. Also, the coffee was great and our waitress, Bailey was prfect!

  3. Wonderful, delicious food; good service. I had the Veggie Sandwich which was very tasty. The sweet potato fries were wonderful and the coffee flavorful and aromatic. I would go back in a minute!!

  4. One of the only restaurants that does a good job serving hot tea in a nice pot. Not wowed by the service. A TV showing tuned to the Fox News Network does nothing for the ambiance. Conservative politics and breakfast don’t go down well together. To make things worse American Idol came on next! If I wanted a TV in the background I would eat at home!

  5. Lily, Zack, kids! If want hot quiche – order a freakin’ omelet! Who orders quiche for beakfast besides super models??

  6. Lucky me! I can walk to Jeff’s from my house. The bad news is – I can walk to Jeff’s from my house! I may have to move farther away so I can walk off the huge breakfast he serves. The coffee is great – Taylor Maid, of course. The next best thing to Thanksgiving Coffee. Only one complaint. Please lose the deep fried potatoes! A place like this should have perfectly done home fries for gosh sakes! Pancakes are HUGE, he has the best bacon in the county, and blintzes – Oh! Ma’ god! Lunch is just as spectacular but, we could use with some local beer, like Russian River!?! AND he’s open 7 DAYS. Go on the weekend for brunch(it’s really the breakfast & lunch menu oo one sheet.

  7. I’m new to Santa Rosa. I had lunch at Rosso and asked where I could find some good vittles for dinner and was told Trattorio De Lupo. I loved the food and staff at Rosso and trusted the waiters suggestion. I was pleased with my Gnocci and asked about breakfast options. A waiter told me to have a night cap at Ritas and an early breakfast at Jeffreys. Once again, spot on. Just one thing, is it just me or do all the waiters look the same here in Sonoma County.

  8. I was excited to check out Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe and found some aspects to be great: The space is lovely and the logo is fantastic. The designer should get an award for this delightfully creative piece of work. The coffee was delicious.
    The food – well, that is where the disappointment set in. I ordered quiche. A very small and cooler than lukewarm piece arrived. I asked the server if it might be heated and she looked unhappy but took it away. When she returned it (a little warmer) she chastized me, saying that “Jeffrey serves his quiche lukewarm.” Really? I don’t know, but there is not much food that I think tasts good lukewarm. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been outstanding quiche, but it wasn’t even that.
    I guess the hint of pretentiousness in “Jeffrey serves his quiche lukewarm” was irritating, along with the tiny serving, no extras except for a little fruit and relatively high price. I didn’t think this restaurant was aiming to be the breakfast version of John Ash: High prices, California cuisine and just the teeniest bit snooty. Though I wouldn’t really have minded that IF the food had been outstanding. But it just wasn’t.
    Unfortunately, there are many better places for a great brunch/breakfast in this town. At Jeffrey’s, the meal did not live up to the promise of the very creative logo.

  9. $10 for a tiny slice of luke warm quiche & tiny cup of fruit!!!
    This is not my idea of breakfast unless you are a Super Model! I’m not!! It appears to me that folks want to be impressed and unfortunately the food & service don’t come up to standard for the prices charged.

  10. Read with great interest that Jeffery was opening this new place. After reading all of the comments, I had to wonder why people insist on comparing it to the old place. This is totally missing the point. It has nothing to do with what was there before and shouldn’t. This is a totally new restaurant with new owners, new management, and a new menu.
    Went this morning and my wife and I were NOT disappointed. She had the buttermilk pancakes and was very pleased with them and the apple-wood smoked bacon. I had the chicken-fried steak and loved it. Yes, maybe the potatoes could have been better, but they were OK. Coffee was good and service was very good. Ambiance was light and open, great for the morning. Overall, a great experience and will definitely return.
    Jeffery, glad to have you back!

  11. Try Sam’s For Play Cafe for old standard breakfast fare. Both locations (Sebastopol Rd & Cleveland) are excellent.

  12. A friend and I had breakfast there today. I had chicken livers and she had country fried steak. The livers were great but I agree with AC…the potatoes were not what I expected from this kind of place..not good. My biscuit was cold and dry but I never saw the server to tell her. The country fried steak was ok,(was it frozen, like the potatoes?), but the gravy was delicious as was the coffee. $33.00 with tip…not outrageous but on the high end for breakfast. I’m sure they have a few kinks to work out. I’ll try again in about a month…

  13. Went with a friend for breakfast today at 8:30 and it was packed…I had the chicken livers with chive scrambled eggs and a biscuit, my friend had country fried steak. I agree with AC…the potatoes were not good. The livers were great but the biscuit was cold and dry and I never saw the server to tell her. The country fried steak was ok. (was it frozen, like the spuds?), but the gravy was absolutely delicious as was the coffee. $28.00 plus tip…not outrageuos but a bit pricey. I’ll give it another try in about a month.

  14. We went on Saturday. The staff was warm and friendly and my food, the huevos rancheros was the best breakfast meal I have ever had. The beans were cooked and seasoned perfectly. They were very accomodating and served me egg whites instead of whole eggs. It was sooooo delicious. My husband had chicken fried steak and it was cooked perfectly with a crispy crust on the outside. The coffee was great and the booth was roomy and comfortable. We can’t wait to go back.. And we will soon! Great job, Jeffrey!

  15. Food is to be enjoyed…not compared. For everyone who is comparing Jeffrey’s to the old Hillside…forget about it! Food is the Chef’s art, and Jeffrey is a fantastic artist! We went on tuesday. My husband had the sticky bun french toast which was awesome, and a fantastic idea I will try at home! I had the banana pancakes. The portion was huge and the pancakes on their own had such a great flavor. There was a few slight problems with my order, but people….things will get worked out! Let’s not be too critical or we will miss out on a truly enjoyable experience. For the record….orange in hollandaise is perfect!

  16. Service was great, coffee was good but the country potatoes? Come on – is it really that hard to chop ’em up fresh? No way should country potatoes come out of a bag, unless it’s a potato sack, and definitely not out of the freezer.

  17. I went to Jeffrey’s Hillside for brunch this morning (Saturday). I ordered the corned beef hash, which was about $10.25, my husband ordered the eggs benedict ($13 something), and our teenage son ordered the vegetarian hash with poached eggs ($9 something), and our other son ordered pasta off the kids menu. Overall, the prices are comparable to other slightly “better” breakfast places, like the Park Side, Howard Station Cafe, Macs, East/West….and it’s a bit less expensive than Brunos (one of my favorite places). I did not find the servings small at ALL and I am not a light eater. My corned beef hash came in a large bowl filled with a hash of potato chunks, little chunks of corned beef, red bell peppers, green onions, onions, and topped with two perfectly cooked eggs and two slices of toast. The potatoes were really nice because they were soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. It was not at all greasy and very flavorful and filling. The one thing I didn’t like was that the chef was pretty liberal with the black pepper. Some people might like that (my husband did), but it was too much pepper for me. It didn’t ruin the dish but next time I will ask for no pepper or light pepper. Really, it was one of the best corned beef hash dishes I’ve had and I’d go back just to have it. My son felt the same way about the veggie hash, although his poached eggs were medium, and he would have preferred them more runny (would have been good if the waitress had asked how he preferred his eggs). My husband’s poached eggs were cooked just right, but he too didn’t LOVE the orange flavor of the hollandaise, although he said the dish was prepared very well and he ate every bite. I wish they had eggs Florentine on their menu though – they just have benedict, and I don’t like ham. The service was prompt and friendly, and our entire bill for three “adults” and one “kid”, which included two coffees and a soda, came to $49.50. I think that is reasonable for the quality. The entrees were mostly between 9-11 dollars, with a few in the 8 dollar range, and a few in the 13 dollar range. Kids menu prices were great too.

  18. I used to eat at the Hillside Cafe years ago, and it was good, but when the next owner (NOT Jeffery) took it over it went down hill. We had breakfast there yesterday (Friday), and it was delicious, a little pricy but well worth it. We’ll eat there often, great job Jeffery! Remember he just opened and those of you who are grumpy about change and dissapointed give them another chance! PS thanks for removing the airplanes:)

  19. My father and I, who was a faithful, daily patron of the old Hillside Inn, tried Jeffrey’s this past week. We were both very disappointed. We knew it would be more upscale with the chef coming from John Ash and that it was, which is not necessarily a good thing.
    We are more traditional breakfast eaters who enjoyed being able to order breakfast into the afternoon. We arrived at 12:00 and were told we were too late to order breakfast–first disappointment. I ordered the roasted turkey sandwich which tasted OK. The turkey was freshly carved and very flavorable. It came with an onion relish, bacon and avocado on wheat bread. The $10.00 sandwich was about 1 inch thick served on very ordinary bread available at any grocery store. Very disappointed for the price. I make a better sandwich at home.
    My father ordered the patty melt. Nice sized patty, but again served on that square ugly-looking institutional rye bread. They would have been better to get a loaf of Orowheat Rye bread at Safeway. Price was $9.00 or $10.00–again too pricy for what we got.
    While I understand the kitchen is small, there is no excuse that one cannot order breakfast all day especially since they only serve breakfast and lunch. In addition to adding back the buckwheat pancakes, the chef might entertain the idea of letting the patron order plain old eggs any style with sides of choice, toast, hash browns, etc. like before…instead of only offering fancier fare.
    I realize some folks may like the change, but bet that most of the old regulars won’t. We will not be back. The hiatus did allow us to find two other “Mom and Pop” restaurants that offer breakfast all day–Luigis off Industrial and Su Casa in St. Francis shopping center. They’re both not as centrally located but have a much more traditional, moderately priced, fresh menu, with friendly staffs and excellent food. Give them a try. I also still love Hanks right across the street.

  20. Just a quick correction.
    The last line should read:
    “One draw back for Jeffrey’s is, there is NO room for expansion.”
    in paragraph three, “…had not been DONE in the kitchen.”

  21. I went last Monday. Unfortunately they only serve breakfast until eleven. I am a late riser and I would love to find a good non-chain diner that serves breakfast later into the day.
    I was glad to see they are using padded booths instead of the really uncomfortable cheap wooden chair that are used in so many small restaurants now. (example: Parkside)
    My service was very good. However, two different tables sent orders back because something they’d requested had not been do in the kitchen.
    I ordered the hamburger with cheese and coffee. It was OK, but the bun was to soft for the size of the meat. The bottom started fluffy but compressed. The fries were very good. My cheeseburger and coffee came to $14.69 before tip.
    I will go back on the weekend from time to time for brunch.
    One draw back for Jeffrey’s is there is one room for expansion.

  22. Re: Bob’s comment on Taylor Maid Coffee
    Taylor Maid Coffee is terrific, and I’m glad they serve it.
    But $2.50 for a cup of coffee is just too darn much.
    Really enjoyed the food and service, but, as others have said, it’s pricey. Maybe twice a month, with a sausage mcmuffin breakfast in between.

  23. Didn’t care for the orange flavor in the eggs benedict but it was okay. Unfortunately it was also served cold. The corned beef hash was hot and flavorful and the eggs nicely poached but a small serving, especially for the prices. Our bellini/mimosa each were *tiny* and overpriced at $9.25 a pop.
    Our waitress was friendly but seemed spacey and disorganized; we waited forever for her to get our order and she kept getting easily distracted. For instance, my toast never showed up. I pointed this out twice, but she kept getting sidetracked on her way back to the kitchen, talking to people and whatnot and apparently forgot why she was going back to the kitchen. She was nicely apologetic about forgetting but then went on to forget *again*.
    I never did get my toast; I gave up.
    Altogether, it was $45 for breakfast for two, not including tip. That’s for two plates of fairly small portions, one plate stone cold, and two of the tiniest sparkling wine flutes I’ve ever seen in my life, plus really slow service. Compare that with $35 for two while hanging at Stark’s Happy Hour the other day, with 3 generous glasses of great wine each and sharing several packed small plates, plus one small plate to go, PLUS great ambiance, and there is no question which gave more bang for our bucks and palates.
    Dunno. Hope they get their act together. Right now, they are too expensive for what they offer. Especially the drinks; srsly, the flutes were the size of doll glasses. Highly expensive ones.
    We will try them again, we want them to succeed; I hope they read this and make any necessary changes.

  24. I had breakfast there on Saturday and the place was packed. Had some delicious, giant sized pancakes and the service was great. Gonna go back and try the eggs benedict and ask for the hash browns to be extra crispy like they had under the previous owner. Good job Jeffrey!

  25. My mom and I had a meal there once when it was the Hillside Cafe, and let me tell you…I’m glad someone else took over. I understand it’s where a lot of our geriatric residents used to enjoy a meal, but our experience was so bad we never even considered that place again!
    Definitely willing to give it another shot, but hopefully Heather, the bad boat or plane decor have been changed?

  26. We ordered breakfast and it was delivered with 2 glasses of water, both had what looked like orange pulp floating around inside. Then we waited while they had issues running our CC. 25 mins later we signed a carbon copy from a slider.

  27. How exciting! I can’t wait to give it a try. Haven’t been over there for a while, it’s about time to go out to breakfast again and try something new…..and from the comments, sounds great. Thanks for the tip:))) Being a former professional chef, it’s great to see what’s coming, and hopefully…in this economy, not going. Go Jeff!!

  28. Had simple breakfast there last Saturday — scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, coffee. Was so impressed both with the food and service, which was prompt and attentive. They serve Taylor Maid coffee and in my view, it’s the best coffee brew around.
    Place was packed and, except for a good, very friendly waitress they brought back, a totally new crew of people.
    No buckwheat pancakes yet, at least that I saw on brunch menu, but maybe they’re to come or maybe they’re on breakfast menu.
    Glad to see this place is back and in Jeffrey’s hands. Compared to Hank’s across the street (I get claustraphobic in there and what’s happened to their hash browns?), there’s no comparison.

  29. Had simple breakfast there last Saturday — scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, coffee. Was so impressed both with the food and service, which was prompt and attentive. They serve Taylor Maid coffee and in my view, it’s the best coffee brew around.
    Place was packed and, except for a good, very friendly waitress they brought back, a totally new crew of people.
    No buckwheat pancakes yet, at least that I saw on brunch menu, but maybe they’re to come or maybe they’re on breakfast menu.
    Glad to see this place is back and in Jeffrey’s hands. Compared to Hank’s across the street (I get claustraphobic in there and what’s happened to their hash browns?), there’s no comparison.

  30. I double checked to make sure that I wasn’t hungry because everything on that menu sounds good. I loved the original Hillside so I’m really looking forward to checking it out now. Thanks!

  31. But do they have the great buckwheat pancakes that the other owner used to? Those were great and are something that’s become increasingly difficult to find.

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