The Renegade Rip

Food with a steampunk bite

Jesse Najera, Reporter

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If you’re not a Tehachapi local, the Steampunk Café and Grill might be hard for you to find, but you should find it. It’s located at 20324 W. Valley Blvd. in Tehachapi. The restaurant is a family-owned business, owned and managed by Karen Vaagen. The cuisine is new American, with a reputation for a good burger.

The restaurant sits at the backend of a shopping center, somewhat hidden from street view. It was worth the time it took to find.

Walking in the front door I saw gears and levers being turned by, what looked like, a steam-powered metal contraption attached to the wall facing the front door. Above the gear work was the word ‘STEAMPUNK’ also attached to the wall. The letters have the appearance of being created from metal work.

I was greeted by a waitress named Danielle Avila with a friendly smile and an invitation to sit wherever we liked. There are pictures and objects throughout the restaurant that are interesting to look at and would appeal to the steampunk fashion trend and style.

Above the bakery case and hanging from the ceiling is the ‘Old No. 1’ Steampunk Rocket Pack. Just outside the kitchen doors, there is a large counter area for coffee, wine, beer, baked goods, and prep work used by the staff. There are two rooms for dining with mostly booth seating and a handful of tables. The décor has a rustic feel with clear artisan glass lighting hanging from above.

The menu itself is on a metal plate attached to a square board hanging from a small black chain. The meals have interesting names like ‘The German’, ‘Philafornia’, and ‘Kent’s 51/50’.

I had The German which is a certified angus beef burger, aged white cheddar, Applewood smoked bacon, pickle slivers, stone-ground mustard on a brioche bun with sweet potato fries for $11.95. Other dishes are in a similar price range. They also serve breakfast and have tasty looking desserts. I ordered the burger well done and it was. The bacon was thick cut and delicious. The stone ground mustard was tangy and delicous. It was a great burger.

The sweet potato fries were sweet and crunchy. I considered ordering some to go.

Our waitress was a young lady named Meagan Avila. She, along with the rest of the staff, were kind, friendly, and a little punk rock in her style. They were patient, attentive and genuinely kind to my family and to the other diners. Meagan was helpful and good natured when my family and I wanted to move to a different table.

The price is slightly higher than the average burger restaurant, but the quality of the food and the attention to friendly service is definitely an example of above average. The steampunk theme in the restaurant’s décor and style is tastefully done and the staff is super cool. The next time you find yourself in Tehachapi, a short drive outside of Bakersfield, I recommend you stop for a meal at the Steampunk café and grill.

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Food with a steampunk bite