Smart’s Wagon Trail Coffee Shop


Fresh Spinach Scramble with Buttermilk Biscuits ·

Located in the heart of historic downtown Truckee, Smart’s Wagon Trail Coffee Shop is definitely a place to eat with children who will adore the moving train overhead and the Little Dippers, mini pancakes made especially for small fingers and dipping (no utensils needed).
Opened in 1947, the family owned and managed restaurant is one of the oldest in town. Chances are high you’ll meet the owner Brian Smart and, if you’d like, also get to know long-time Truckee residents at the counter whether you go in for breakfast, lunch or a snack.

I popped in on a recent weekday morning and enjoyed the Fresh Spinach Scramble at the counter. Choosing from the more than three dozen breakfast items is no small feat: omelets, scrambles, pancakes, French Toast and the list goes on, but one choice was easy to make – a side order of Buttermilk Biscuits with the Coffee Shop’s blended sweet sauce. The butter-soaked biscuits will satiate a morning craving for something decadent and could also be a delicious afternoon pick me up.
The scramble, covered in melted Swiss cheese, filled with whole spinach leaves and sliced mushrooms, arrived shortly after the biscuits. With a dash of salt and pepper and side of fresh tomato slices, the dish was fulfilling. A friendly greeting and prompt service made for an enjoyable morning meal.
Two of the best things about this old timey restaurant are that breakfast is served through closing time, which is about 3 p.m., and early birds enjoy a 50 percent discount between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. And, third, you might get friendly banter and a potential earful of local news and opinions on national politics during a slow time at the counter.

Burgers any way you like them, melts on Ciabatta and hot and cold sandwiches fill the lunch menu. Steaks and pork chops also are available. The bakery’s goods, showcased in the sidewalk-facing windows, include colorful cookies and pastries to satiate any sweet tooth.

Mimosas, Blood Mary’s, Screwdrivers and Vodka cranberries are available in addition to beer and nonalcoholic drinks including tasty hot chocolates topped with whipped cream and large milkshakes and root beer floats.
Come with a hearty appetite, leave with a full belly and a stronger tie to Truckee history and local culture.

Open daily from 5:30 a.m. through lunch (generally 3 p.m.), Smart’s Wagon Trail Coffee Shop is located at 10080 Donner Pass Road. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Coffee Shop often opens closer to 5 a.m. Visit or call (530) 587-7574. Reminder: Street parking is free until 10 a.m.

Nicole Cheslock
Hailing from the northeast, a love of skiing first attracted Nicole to the area. The scenic hikes along the Tahoe Rim Trail, long days of sunshine, refreshing summer dips and brilliant blue sky encouraged her to call this place home. Nicole holds a master’s degree from Stanford Graduate School of Education, specializes in action-oriented education program evaluation and supports career connections for Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee. She lives with her husband and son in Truckee.