Local diner serves up comfort food and old-school charm


Helen Harlan

Mr. Perry’s is a diner located in Sacramento that serves fried chicken, prime rib and daily homemade soups. Samille “Sam” Clark, a retired Kaiser Oakland staffer, is eating a fisherman platter meal, which is a plate of fried fish and french fries.

Two miles north of the Cosumnes River College campus, off the I-99 Mack Road exit and nestled deep among chain stores, franchised fast food joints and gas stations, sits a unique piece of South Sacramento nostalgia.
With its early-bird specials, ceramic coffee mugs and Norman Rockwell decor, Mr. Perry’s Coffee Shop is a time capsule caught back in 1973, the year they first opened their doors.
“We try to keep it as original as possible,” said General Manager Erynn Rose.
Rose is the son of current owner Michael Rose, who bought the diner from original owner, Perry Potiris, in 2005.
Inside the kitchen there are cooks in hairnets who serve up home cooking such as fried chicken, prime rib and daily homemade soups.
Erynn Rose estimates that at any given time at least half of the customers, if not more, are daily regular diners.
“This is Tina’s counter,” one such unnamed regular said of the section where he sat and the server, Tina Lopez, that manned it for that shift.
Lopez has worked as a waitress at Mr. Perry’s for 24 years.
“Our servers are really close to our customers,” Erynn Rose said.
Signs claiming that Mr. Perry’s is home of the “The Nation’s First Non-Smoking Dining Room” and “World’s Largest Kid’s Cheeseburger.”
The booths are made of stained glass, faux-wood paneling and brown leather seats like those out of an old Buick.
The decor is “all Perry” and has been retained from the original owner, Erynn Rose said.
The authentic nostalgia is just one thing that regular Samille “Sam” Clark, 74, loves about the diner.
“I came in and was very impressed with the decor,” Clark recalled of her first visit almost two years ago.
Clark is a retired Kaiser Oakland staffer and moved from Hayward to Sacramento and now lives in a senior community right down the street from Mr. Perry’s.
She chose a fisherman platter, a plate of fried fish and french fries, for a late lunch in the afternoon on a Wednesday.
“I like food!” Clark said enthusiastically as she offered to share her current meal.
It was her second visit of the day to the coffee shop which began with a pancake breakfast.
“The people are friendly, the service is great, the prices are great,” Clark added. “I don’t see anybody with a long face in here.”
Mr. Perry’s is located at 7820 Alta Valley Drive and open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.