A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Review: Tip’s Roadside Cafe

Aryk Copley
An entree and a side will run you upwards of $20, but these dishes are incredibly filling.

Tip’s Roadside Cafe |  8445 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood | (707) 509-0078 | Most entrees under $15

4 of 5 Oak Leaves

Signature Dishes

Fried chicken sandwich, tri-tip sandwich, mac and cheese, beignets with lemon glaze


Tip’s Roadside Café puts a pleasant spin on Southern comfort. The menu is small but not lacking and offers plenty of options for different foodies. Most items come with their own unique combination of flavors and sauces, and the pairing options for entrees and sides are many.

Tip’s has taken reasonable pandemic precautions, and all the staff wear masks. All dining is outdoors in the open air, and the heat lamps prevent you from getting chilly. Shaded tents protect you from the sun, but are not themselves closed off so there’s still plenty of airflow. Tables are a little close together for my liking, but not cramped. 

The portion sizes are small, but can be supplemented by an excellent variety of affordable sides, including biscuits with apple gravy, polenta fries and even tri-tip a la carte. This is heavy food, so maybe the small servings are for a reason.

Tip’s signature macaroni and cheese comes served in a small skillet, giving the meal a nice home-cooked feel. The mac is delicious and the soft, buttery melted cheese contrasted by crunchy bread crumbs add wonderful texture. Sliced green onions garnish the top, and I recommend mixing them in before digging in, as they add a fresh zing of flavor. 

The fried chicken sandwich is excellent for poultry lovers, and comes on a soft toasted bun with granny apple coleslaw and Tip’s signature “Alabama” aioli sauce. The boneless chicken breast, lightly breaded, tastes like it was just purchased fresh off the market, and the apple flavor of the coleslaw compliments the heavier fried breading. The aioli was delicious but scarce. I wish they’d gone a bit heavier on the sauce. 

I have a potato allergy, so I was excited to try the  “polenta fries.” They arrive in a quaint metal basket, and they’re huge. Crispy on the outside and full of soft, fresh polenta on the inside, these fries are almost an entire meal unto themselves. They come lightly seasoned with paprika and other spices, but otherwise they taste very natural. To add in some flavor, you can dip them in Tip’s wonderfully spicy chipotle aioli sauce or, my personal favorite, the goat cheese ranch dressing. 

Finishing up the meal is Tip’s house-made beignets with spiced sugar and Meyer lemon glaze. Out of all the dishes here, the beignets come in the largest portion. Six huge beignets adorn an oven pan, covered in powdered sugar. They pull apart effortlessly. The sauce can be used as a dip or a drizzle. The beignets themselves aren’t very sweet at all, which is perfect, as the sugar and glaze add all the sweetness you could want.

This was just Tip’s lunch menu; it has an entire dinner menu as well that looks just as unique and delicious. 

Tip’s Roadside Café is located just off of Highway 12 right as you’re entering Kenwood heading east, and is the perfect place to eat if you want to have a meal with a nice Wine Country feel. They’re available for dine-in and takeout. 


The Breakdown

Category What were we looking for? Score out of 5
Packaging Neat? Sustainable? Did they remember cutlery? Napkins? Condiments? 5
Hygiene Was clerk wearing gloves? A mask? Both? Neither? What were the pick up and waiting areas like? Clean/neat? 4
Speed and accuracy Food was on counter ready for pickup 5
Portion size Was it filling or were you left wanting more? 3
Leftovers Were there leftovers and, if so, did they reheat well? 2
Quality of Food Freshness, quality of ingredients 5
Tastiness of Food Flavor, spice and texture 4
Customer Service Friendliness, responsiveness 5
Overall Rating With 5 being a perfect score, this restaurant rated: 4
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About the Contributor
Aryk Copley
Aryk Copley, Photographer
Aryk Copley (he/they) is an aspiring photojournalist in his second year with The Oak Leaf. After experiencing a brain injury and a subsequent 5-year recovery, Aryk has returned to school with a matured perspective of the world. As a means to cope with the aftereffects of his injury, he developed a passion for photography. Aryk works as a freelance wedding and portrait photographer in the Sonoma County area and maintains a propensity for full-contact weapons fighting, analog film photography, traveling, cinema and thrifting.

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