Volcano Union Inn and Pub: A gathering place

THE UNION INN IN VOLCANO WAS BUILT in 1880, where it served as a boarding house and saloon for miners and visitors. Now it has been reborn as a delightful pub and four- room bed and breakfast in the picturesque village of Volcano in Amador County. “It’s a true neighborhood pub,” says owner Tracey Berkner. “People come here, and it takes them 15 minutes to say hello to all their neighbors.”

Since 2009, culinary veterans Tracey and her husband Mark have owned the B&B and pub. They also own Taste and Rest in Plymouth, about 20 miles away. We have enjoyed lunches at the pub during our wine tasting adventures in Amador County. Each time, we wanted to linger and spend the night in one of the cute bedrooms upstairs but had to press on. This year we hope to check it off from our Sierra foothills bucket list.

The Union’s pub menu has been featuring gastropub fare since before the term became fashionable (AKA exceptional comfort food, with fresh, local ingredients). “We like to keep things fresh, exciting and different,” says Tracey. “Our entrees are seasonally driven, and we work with local farms.”

The burger is delicious. It comes with fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, aioli, a house pickle and fries, and you can add cheese (white cheddar, blue cheese, Gruyere or American), bacon, mushrooms, roasted peppers, avocado, and a gluten-free bun.

Other favorites on the Union pub’s menu include a lamb burger on ciabatta bread, fried chicken and smoked cheddar macaroni and cheese, and seared salmon. The crispy duck wings (local duck, orange and spice, and coleslaw) are an original.

Vegetarians will enjoy the fresh salads or the grilled vegetable sandwich. For dessert, try the Union S’more (marshmallow, fudge brownie, graham cracker tuile). Local wines and craft beers also are featured on the menu.

The inn’s guest rooms offer private bathrooms, robes, luxury linens, WiFi, comfortable beds, iPod docking station, flat panel TVs, DVD player and DVD library. The breakfast includes coffee, tea, juice, cereal, fresh fruit, homemade baked goods and a savory egg dish. “Of all the places in Amador County, this one feels as if it has the most sense of place,” wrote Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic and editor.

VOLCANO UNION INN + PUB
21375 Consolation St., Volcano
209-296-7711, VolcanoUnion.com

(Photo: Sean Walker)

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