Best Dining: Charlie Brown’s Cafe

Where’s the best place to get a refreshing smoothie in the summer, a hot mocha in the winter and a tasty pizza bagel all year round? Look no further than Charlie Brown’s Cafe, Sonoma State students’ favorite place to eat on campus.

“We offer unique items that no one else has,” said Victoria Rhodes, a Dining Services staff member who runs Charlie Brown’s. “We’re the only ones to grill paninis, we hand-toss our salads, and we have a lot of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options.”

Charlie Brown’s has been open for 13 years. Its menu includes Freshën smoothies, grilled-to-order breakfast sandwiches, handcrafted espresso drinks and drip coffee, Italian sodas, an assortment of bagels and pastries, fruit salads, chips and candy. 

It also features special paninis and salads every month to complement its usual assortment, which includes the Chicken Caesar Salad and the ever-popular Classico Panini (consisting of mozzarella cheese, tomato and pesto sauce).

The cafe is often full of patrons; while Rhodes said its busiest hours are the lunch and dinner rushes, it’s rare to find the place deserted as students frequently come in before, in between or after their classes for some caffeine or a bite to eat.

“I hear a lot of good things about our customer service and food,” said Rhodes, adding that Charlie Brown’s is just as popular with staff and faculty as it is with students. “We’re on a first-name basis with a lot of our clients.”

Rhodes previously ran Ameci’s, the now defunct pizzeria located in Sauvignon Village, before starting at Charlie Brown’s in December 2013. Rhodes was happy when she learned she was transferring to Charlie Brown’s because she enjoys the cafe’s environment and working with students.

“We have a waiting list of students who want to work here,” said Rhodes. 

Conveniently located within the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center, aka the library, Charlie Brown’s usually becomes even more popular during Finals Week.

In the past, Charlie Brown’s offered free coffee after 9 p.m. to keep students awake during their all-nighters in the library.

This week, however, students will have to trek across campus to the Student Center’s Cafe to get their midnight pick-me-up.

Still, there’s no doubt Charlie Brown’s will remain busy this week during its normal hours of operation.

“The employees are positive and we all work well together; we’re a very strong team,” said Rhodes. “We have a good environment and a happy atmosphere.”

Charlie Brown’s is open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Fridays, and is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.