Cahuilla Mountain Market BBQ and Café serves up barbecue with a smile

Missy Carver-Boulton prepares some delicious vittles in the impeccably clean kitchen at the Cahuilla Mountain Market BBQ and Cafe. Diane Sieker photos

Diane Sieker

Rumor has it that there are a couple of Anza women that can whip up some of the finest food anywhere. Meet Missy Carver-Boulton and Joni Carver, entrepreneurs on a mission to provide great food, friendly service and generous portions to the hungry masses.

Located in the kitchen inside the Cahuilla Mountain Market on Hwy. 371, the Cahuilla Mountain Market BBQ and Cafe does brisk business seven days a week. Menu items include fish-n-chips, fried mushrooms, an Asian chicken salad, meatball subs, onion rings, barbecue, burgers galore and more. A typical sandwich is accompanied by two sides – macaroni and cheese, potato salad or coleslaw. The portions are more than abundant, they are colossal.

“I wanted to try something new for our community,” said Carver-Boulton, “a gathering place, and food always brings people together.”

The location is perfect for her vision. The Cahuilla Mountain Market features a shady lawn, equipped with tables and chairs. Eating is welcome inside the store, but most people elect to dine in the soft breezes under the trees.

So, what is the inspiration for the menu choices?

“The country feel of good food, good ole home cooking, meals like the kind mama use to make,” said Carver.

The food is well-planned, fresh and made with quality ingredients, with no shortcuts. Most of all, the presentation is nothing short of professional for every single item on the extensive menu.

Take for instance the immense Ortega Burger with Swiss cheese. It begins with a fresh, soft bun and a perfectly grilled half-pound Angus patty. This is topped with crisp lettuce, pickles, a tomato slice, red onions and the condiments of your choice. Then there is the huge, thick slice of Ortega chili included for a tasty and satisfying sandwich. This burger is paired with a helping of macaroni and cheese, with lots of cheddar flavor and a hint of black pepper, and a large dollop of creamy potato salad. Crunchy coleslaw is also available as a side.

The Cafe is a family endeavor. Besides Carver-Boulton and Carver, their sons Jaime and Jesse man the grill and Carver-Boulton’s daughter Monica joins the ladies in the kitchen. And of course, Market owner Jorge Rodriguez and employee Thomas Leon Sr. supply all the help and encouragement they can muster.

Carver-Boulton and Carver have both had about 20 years in the customer service field and learned the ropes from the ground up. They know all aspects of the restaurant business, including preparing food, washing the dishes, marketing, pricing, buying supplies, arranging the menu, keeping the books and so much more of what it takes to ensure a pleasant experience for their patrons.

Their careful attention to detail has proven to be the cause of their success. The unprecedented use of social media for advertising is working wonders, as happy customers post pictures of their meals and feedback is instant – feedback that has been nothing but positive.

And on a side note, Carver-Boulton reveals, “honestly, to be funny, we were going to name the eatery ‘Two Broke Girls BBQ and Café’ but as it stands we’ve kept it as the Cahuilla Mountain Market BBQ and Cafe.”

All this good food and an excellent sense of humor, too. Highly recommended is an understatement.

The Cafe is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.  For more information, call (951) 763-4227. Take out is also available.

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