ATASCADERO — I like to think of myself as an active person in regards to health and exercise, one that - for the most part - goes the extra mile without question. While that energy comes naturally when working out, it ironically does not transfer over into my eating and cooking habits.
I am in what you could call a perpetual state of ‘hungry, but lazy,’ meaning I take the easy way out of anything in regards to cooking. Meals are often mundane — satisfying, but just the bare minimum, and even though eating in such a manner is often routine, it’s also convenient and I am all about convenience.
When considering convenient foods, breakfast and lunch come to mind. According to consumer statistics, the sandwich is the ultimate convenience food. While constructing a sandwich obviously requires effort, the ability to customize anything to one’s exact standards almost certainly results in complete satisfaction. Cricket’s, a family owned and operated delicatessen located at 9700 El Camino Real, lets guests experience just that — consistent satisfaction.
Kellie Adams, who opened Cricket’s in October 2016, spent her college years working in a coffee shop and since then, dreamt of opening something of her own.
“This all happened really fast for me,” Adams said. “I saw the space listed on Craigslist and went back and forth for a bit before making an offer. Then one day before I knew it, everything was finalized.”
Adams originally intended for Cricket’s to be a coffee shop, but soon found that the south end of Atascadero near the State Hospital, lacked in eateries.
“The State Hospital has so many employees, most of which work really awkward schedules,” Adams said. “They typically don’t have time to drive somewhere far or sit down to eat because their lunches are so short. That’s really how I got the idea for all of this. I wanted to open something that would cater to their needs.”
Cricket’s, open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., serves morning and lunch favorites. Most dishes, such as the gluten free potato-crust quiche or the antipasto salad, are based on long-standing family recipes, Adams said.
“Our most popular breakfast is the Busted Burrito,” she said. “It’s pretty standard with eggs, bacon, onions, bell peppers, cheddar cheese and salsa, but I think customers like that they can make whatever changes to it that they want, too.”
A picky eater herself, Adams tries to stress to customers how much she values customization.
“I don’t want them to think it will offend me if they want to change anything,” she said. “I mean, they’re the ones eating the food, not me, so I hope they order it how they like.”
While not all of the menu items are grab-n-go like the ever-changing muffins or meal-in-itself scones, they can all be ordered ahead of time either online or via text, Adams said.
“This way customers can just get in and out, but if they want to sit down and eat they can do that too,” she said.
Those who dine in will find that Cricket’s emanates a warm and welcoming feel. Its tables, covered in white butcher paper, and walls lined with leather pillow-filled booths, are more than inviting.
“The butcher paper is obviously convenient because it’s easy to clean up, but it’s also here for the doodlers,” Adams said. “A lot of customers take notes, scribble or draw. I like that they get creative.”
While Adams embraces creativity and personal taste, she also appreciates presentation, aesthetics and overall dish architecture.
“I think food, regardless of whether I plan to eat it or not, should be beautiful,” she said. “So for menu items that get the most talk — like our Melted Meatloaf and Tommy the Turk sandwich — the order of how they’re put together really does make a difference. I want them to look and taste consistent every time so I train my employees to make them in a certain order.”
Customer service a basic restaurant etiquette that in my own experience is often overlooked or downright disregarded, comes naturally from Adams.
“I doubt there are many restaurants owners who would say customer service is not a priority,” Adams said. “I feel like it should almost be common sense, though, to just treat people how you want to be treated. That’s a pretty simple concept, but actually applying it can really go a long way.”
Whether you’re in the mood for a sweet tooth satisfying pastry or a hearty meat lovers sandwich, Cricket’s has no shortage of friendliness and fun.
For more information on Cricket’s, call 805-460-7575.