“I can’t complain too much,” Sexton said. “We’ve got some amazing regulars. My very first customer still comes in every day for breakfast. He even helps us set up sometimes and puts out the creamers. It’s loyalty like that that keeps us going.”
Sexton said his regulars are like family, and when things get busy, some of his loyal Bridgehead brigade will even pitch in by pouring coffee or clearing tables to keep things moving along. Sexton is often scurrying around the restaurant, working in the kitchen, taking meal orders or manning the cash register, but he makes sure to greet as many customers as he can. He’s come to know many of his customers on a first-name basis and he’s formed friendships with many of his regulars who return week after week to support his family restaurant.
Opened in 1976, Bridgehead Café was formerly located on Bridgehead Road – hence the name – but Sexton moved the operation to East 18th Street in the 1980s. The location might have changed but the spirit of the restaurant remains the same.
“People can eat anywhere, so I wanted to make a place where people feel at home,” Sexton said. “It’s that simple. We serve down-home comfort food and offer service with a smile. This is a place where people can come in and relax and forget their troubles for a while.”
The restaurant has become so much like home for some of his customers that when Sexton talks about updating the décor, his loyal followers always protest. “I’ve tried to change things up a few times, but they won’t have it. They always tell me to leave it as it is, so the dining area still has the farm-inspired theme that we’ve always had. If the customers are happy, I’m happy.”
But the charming western and agriculturally-themed décor isn’t the only thing that keeps customers coming back. It’s the food. Biscuits and gravy is the popular breakfast dish, while patty melts and Reuben sandwiches are the lunchtime favorite. But nothing tops the weekend special. Every Saturday and Sunday, Sexton serves up all-you-can eat fried chicken, a dish so popular that folks come all the way from San Francisco and Rio Vista to feast on Sexton’s popular poultry.
Sexton uses a family recipe with a special mixture of herbs and spices that has gotten customers’ mouths watering for decades. He also makes his own soups, spaghetti sauce, salad dressings and coleslaw.
“Just about everything is homemade, and I think that’s why the customers keep coming back,” Sexton said. “They know when they come here, they’re getting a home-cooked meal, and I keep all my prices as low as I can so that people can come out and enjoy a nice family dinner.”
Bridgehead Café offers breakfast and lunch specials daily, and Sexton cooks up different dinner specials on Fridays to offer his regulars a little variety.
Bridgehead Café, located at 2415 E. 18th St. in Antioch, is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Tuesday and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, call 925-757-4774.