The Nut Tree Restaurant Sign

I first visited  the Nut Tree in the late 1950’s when I lived in Davis.  Even though I moved to Southern California, I kept coming back.  When I got married, I brought Mrs. Curmudgeon to the Nut Tree, she liked it a lot, and whenever we were anywhere near the Bay Area, we made it a point to drive over to Vacaville and visit the Nut Tree.

I’ve never visited anyplace quite like the Nut Tree. Do you remember the individual pineapples with marshmallow sauce they served with each meal?  How about the individual bread loaves?  The Nut Tree was one of the first places I remember to do that, back in 1957, or so. The butterfly dishes?  The airplane models that hung in the dining room?  How about the toy shop and the train?  How about the 1960’s modern architecture, the colorful flowers and collages that hung on the walls?  The live birds in the glass cages in the dining room.  The dirigible hanging from the ceiling.  The fruit plate they served was something really special.

Mrs. Curmudgeon recalls the quality gift shop and the baked goods that were on sale.  She also recalls the posters and art work that was sold at the Nut Tree. In later years there was a very good aviation book store there.  It was truly a great place.

The original owners apparently sold the Nut Tree to a corporation; by the 1980’s the quality of the food began to drop the prices went up, and the service went down. Many of the things that made the place special were dropped from the menu or were no longer served with the meals.  Unfortunately,  we could see the beginning of the end and our visits became less frequent.

The Coffee Tree restaurant opened in 1965 and hung on for a few  years after the Nut Tree complex closed.  It’s now boarded up and closed.

Nut_tree_sign_1

The Nut Tree Restaurant on I-80 in Vacaville closed in 1996.  It was a landmark for travelers between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierras for more than 70 years.  This sign is now just about all that’s left of the Nut Tree today.

7 Responses to “The Nut Tree Restaurant Sign”

  1. David Cooper Says:

    Tonight, for no apparent reason, I decided to do a search on “the nut tree restaurant,” and I came to your article. It really brought back memories – I went to UCD for four years from 1970-1974 and the Nut Tree was a landmark, and a traditional stop along the way from my home in San Carlos to my dorm in Davis.

    My memories are fuzzy, but the pleasure I used to get stopping in at the restaurant on the way to, or from school, is something I will never forget.

    We live in a culture that seems absolutely bent on destroying everything that resembles tradition. Maybe I was born 50 years too late, I don’t know. To me, it’s the history of a place that sustains it. I guess Americans still have that lesson to learn.

    Thank you for helping me remember.

    Sincerely,
    DwC

  2. Thomas Says:

    I, too, googled “nut tree restaurant” and came up with your article. Growing up, my parents and I made many stops at the Nut Tree during various trips. I still remember the bread loaves, the train rides, and the birds in the terrarium.

    Now that I have a family of my own, I was hoping to stop by the Nut Tree on our way into California from Oregon this next summer. And I’m saddened to learn that it’s all but gone, now.

    Does anybody know… were any of the models and/or fixtures ever sold or auctioned? I’d love to get my hands on the kiddie airplane they used to have at the airport… as well as any of the grand models they had in the lobby.

  3. eric moore Says:

    I was too young to remember the Nut Tree, but I do know that my parents have ate there. From looking at the pictures and from what I have heard from my parents, it must have been a great place. I finaly came back 32 years later only to find a fence surrounding the now empty place. I can only say that if I ever won the lottery, it won’t be for a fine home, expensive cars or lifestyle, but to rebuild the Nut Tree back to life, even if it needs to be placed on new property.

    Eric Moore
    son of Vacaville, 1971

  4. Sherri Says:

    I was doing a search for The Nut Tree and was shocked when I read your article. Me, my friend and my older brother rode our Schwinn bikes all the way from Davis to The Nut Tree because we all enjoyed it so much. I remember many trips in the 60’s and 70′ to this adorable pit stop, with the huge rocking horses in front of the gift shop, the airport and the general friendly atmosphere of the place. I was extremely saddened to hear the Nut Tree closed, but will always have some great memories of this place. I’ve lived on the East Coast for a number of years and would not have ever known this piece of Americana was gone, except for your article and the wonderful picture of the famous Nut Tree road sign. Aw…memories!!

  5. Sherri Says:

    I was doing a search for The Nut Tree and was shocked when I read your article. Me, my friend and my older brother rode our Schwinn bikes all the way from Davis to The Nut Tree because we all enjoyed it so much. I remember many trips in the 60’s and 70′ to this adorable pit stop, with the huge rocking horses in front of the gift shop, the airport and the general friendly atmosphere of the place. I was extremely saddened to hear the Nut Tree closed, but will always have some great memories of this place. I’ve lived on the East Coast for a number of years and would not have ever known this piece of Americana was gone, except for your article and the wonderful picture of the famous Nut Tree road sign. Aw…memories!!

  6. Mike Says:

    For all those who miss the Nut Tree, a newer one is supposed to open June 2006 and will have the old train running too. The vacaville museum has copies of a cook book that includes receipes for the little bread loaves.

  7. Mike Says:

    For all those who miss the Nut Tree, a newer one is supposed to open June 2006 and will have the old train running too. The vacaville museum has copies of a cook book that includes receipes for the little bread loaves.

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