Restaurant review

The Lodge a welcoming meeting place with creative and fresh dishes

  • A bahn mi consists of lean pork belly, shredded cabbage, matchstick carrots and cucumber slices dressed in a vibrant cilantro-peanut sauce. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Co-owner Brian Bruckner at the bar at his restaurant, The Lodge, in San Anselmo. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Sam’s breakfast sandwich includes scrambled eggs from fresh Pullman toast, bacon, white cheddar cheese, and a token amount of baby spinach. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Kahlua pork sliders are served at the San Anselmo Lodge. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • A sesame chicken and spinach salad features cubes of chicken on a dense pile of fresh spinach leaves mixed with tangerine wedges and sliced ​​almonds in a tangy sesame ginger dressing. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • A hot turkey sandwich at the Lodge in San Anselmo. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • The Lodge restaurant is located along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on the border from Fairfax to San Anselmo. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Lodge co-owner Brian Bruckner walks through San Anselmo’s dining room. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Silverware, napkins, and playing cards sit on a table in the dining room at Lodge de San Anselmo. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

Rarely does a new restaurant move in so quickly that it seems like it has been around for ages. But that feeling is real at the Lodge in Fairfax, perhaps because the red two-room house he resides in has a good waterhole embedded in his clapboard bones.

San Anselmo residents Brian and Lori Bruckner completed a two-year restoration of the property in April and took it back to its roots of 1908, when it was the Old Timer’s Bar.

It was and is a socially auspicious meeting place with a purpose. At the time, according to local tradition, the Arbini-Segale family who owned a guesthouse next door established the living room for their rowdy tenants who were working on the construction of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Today, The Lodge is an extension of San Francisco’s 20-year-old Bruckner boutique Big Swingin ‘Cycles, and a base for hearty food at this gateway to mountain and road biking adventures.

The common point between yesterday and today is the community. The Lodge runs along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard between San Anselmo and Fairfax and adjoins a dense residential area where the owners have raised their families. It’s an anchor for neighboring businesses to meet during the working day and an excuse for friends to casually gather around chilled beers and an all-day menu that is creative and freshly prepared enough to motivate. a return.

“The recipes are inspired by family trips and life experiences,” explains Lori Bruckner. Their annual summer trip to June Lake and a favorite food truck prompted the Kalua Pork Chip Copiers ($ 11) – simmered pulled pork, Jack cheese, lime sesame salad, pepperoncini and barbecue sauce topped off. ‘a stack of plated kettle chips. The same sweet pulled pork comes on three or five perfect slide buns ($ 9.50, $ 13) with tangy coleslaw, frill crisps, pickle rings, and extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Restaurant manager Pete Castrejon, former personal chef of actor John Travolta, brought in a few dishes of his own. He is credited for “lodge tots” ($ 8) made with freshly baked potatoes and spices, and served with a homemade barbecue sauce and ketchup ($ 8). He also does a nasty chicken taquito.

In the morning, it can feel like you’ve stopped at a friend’s house for breakfast. Linger and strike up a conversation with one of the owners or sometimes the whole family. The Vanilla Greek Yogurt Parfait ($ 8) features homemade granola and fresh blueberries, and the egg sandwiches are compact and convenient to take out.

Sam’s Breakfast Sando ($ 7.50) is a simple mix of scrambled eggs with fresh Pullman toast, bacon, white cheddar, and a symbolic amount of baby spinach. Boost it with chipotle rosemary aioli in a small paper cup on the side. Avocado is a worthy upgrade ($ 1.50 more).

Get the same combination of ingredients and homemade salsa in the breakfast burrito ($ 7.50) or a “full freight” version that includes the “kids in the lodge” ($ 9.75). The breakfast menu is served from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Six sandwiches range from simple fresh roasted turkey with melted gouda on ciabatta slid with homemade sundried tomato aioli ($ 11) to more complex bahn mi ($ 12.50) on a fresh baguette incorporating ingredients and flavors Vietnamese. In the latter case, the generous slice of lean pork belly resembles extra thick bacon. Toast warms the inner layers of crispy shredded cabbage, matchstick carrots and sliced ​​cucumber dressed in a vibrant peanut and cilantro sauce. Ruffled potato crisps and a small salad with a light cilantro-lemon vinaigrette come on the side.

Bread is a key part of any sandwich and the Bruckners offer bread from Full Circle Bakery in Penngrove.

The three salads ($ 11.50 to $ 13) are seasonal and generously portioned. A favorite is the grilled chicken breast ($ 13) cubed and served chilled over a dense pile of fresh spinach leaves tossed with tangerine wedges and sliced ​​almonds in a tangy ginger-sesame dressing.

The rotating beers selection ($ 6 to $ 7), including microbreweries from Fieldwork Brewing and HenHouse Brewing, flows from eight taps. Miller High Life, PRB Tall Boys, and Modelo Especial are frozen in cans ($ 3). For wine, choose rosé, Prosecco, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet served by the glass in small Mason jars ($ 8 to $ 10).

The atmosphere follows the classic industrial trend. The tables are cleverly constructed from polished pine planks bolted with galvanized hardware. The bases are made with large diameter pipes with flanges at each end. Crisp white banquettes with soft gray cushions line square tables along two walls. Two high communal tables with bronze stools fill the center of the room.

These finished elements complement the wide scraped pine plank floors. Reclaimed wood and white paneled walls are punctuated with framed images of mountain biking adventures, trail maps and legendary memorabilia. A plush faux jackalope mounted on the wall and country-themed music support the relaxed atmosphere.

The carefully renovated original bar is pinned with the initials of many friends, including contractors, a master cabinetmaker and an expert painter who the Bruckners say did their best to help with the demolition and renovation of the building. .

The rear entrance to the gravel parking lot could use some curb appeal, but soon enough. Plans are underway to add an outdoor patio.

It’s clear that mountain biking is the theme here and a targeted clientele (the Bruckners have owned a bike store, Big Swingin ‘Cycles, in San Francisco for 20 years), but it’s also a place of conversation for non -cyclists, a game of cards or dice (available in leather poker cups on the tables) or a libation and good food.

Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer. Email him at [email protected] with your comments or restaurant recommendations. Or you can follow the culinary scene of Le Marin at

The cottage

Address: 1573, boulevard Sir Francis Drake, Fairfax

Telephone: 415-991-5625


Food: Breakfast, salads, sandwiches

Service: Casual

Noise level: From bottom to top

Alcohol selection: Beer and wine

Corkage: N / A

Vegan dishes: Yes

Gluten free selections: Yes

Organic offers: Yes

Friendly dog: No

Car park: Free Lot

Hours: Tuesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Prices: $ 10 and less

Reservations: N / A

Summary: The Lodge is a friendly, welcoming and relaxed stopover for a cold beer or a casual snack or meal and well-designed with an attractive renovated interior, prompt service and reasonable prices.

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