Don’t get us wrong, Vacaville DOES have a lot of great restaurants, but I’m regularly surprised at certain ones we don’t have. Vacaville is seated between Sacramento and the Bay Area – and that’s a blessing and a curse when it comes to retail chains and restaurants. Sometimes we get a franchise to “bridge the gap” between the two and other times we are left in no-man’s land.
List of Popular Restaurant Chains Not in Vacaville
Here’s a list of popular restaurant chains that are common in Northern California, but don’t currently have a location in Vacaville (although many of them once did).
Papa John’s Pizza
Top of the list is Papa John’s Pizza. A major sponsor of professional sporting events and the maker of some really good pizza, Papa John’s does not have a Vacaville location. Years ago there was a Papa John’s on Peabody Road, but now the closest one is in Fairfield.
California Pizza Kitchen
“California” is literally in the name of the restaurant, but Vacaville, CA is not home to one. They have some great pizza recipes, salads and more. This is one we think would do well here.
Who doesn’t like cheesecake? Obviously we have places to get cheesecake in Vacaville, but we are indeed without a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. You’ll have to head to Walnut Creek or Sacramento if you’re craving this place.
While we have plenty of coffee and donut shops, Vacaville has no Dunkin Donuts location. There are several locations in the Sacramento and Bay Areas, but a noticeable gap on the map between the two. For the closest one, head to Fairfield.
Love it or hate it, Vacaville doesn’t have an Applebees since the Nut Tree Parkway location closed a couple years ago. There’s one at the mall in Fairfield.
There once was a Country Waffles in Vacaville where University of Beer is now. Now there isn’t. In fact, there really aren’t any waffle places in town. That sucks. But here’s a list of the best breakfast places in Vacaville.
I know these aren’t everywhere, but Fuddruckers is a pretty awesome burger place to order custom burgers with exotic meats (like buffalo and elk burgers). It was available in Fairfield until recently. Now you’ll have to head to Concord for the nearest Fuddruckers. There is no Fuddruckers in Vacaville or Solano County.
P.F. Chang’s offers elegant Chinese cuisine and they’re all over the state. However, there isn’t a P.F. Chang’s restaurant near Vacaville. If you’re down in Pleasanton or taking a trip to Roseville, you can stop in.
Another mind-blowing absence of a very common pizza chain. There is no Pizza Hut location in Vacaville. Can you believe that? There’s one in Fairfield and one on Travis Air Force Base. But don’t worry, we have a long list of pizza places in Vacaville.
The Lazy Dog, an American cuisine restaurant, is self-described as “Relaxed, lodge-chic chain serving global comfort fare, including stir-fries, pot roast & pastas.” They have several locations in northern California, but there is no Lazy Dog very close to Vacaville. Head to Concord for the nearest one. Concord seems to have a lot of restaurants that we don’t!
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
I swear there used to be more Macaroni Grills nearby. In any case, you’ll have to go to El Cerrito or Elk Grove to find the nearest ones.
When I think of A&W, I imagine an old diner chain that went out of business in the 1960s. But, there are still a lot of A&W restaurants in northern California, just not in Vacaville. Vallejo and Pleasant Hill have A&W locations.
I always enjoyed Red Robin when it was in Fairfield and visited often after the Vacaville location opened. Now they are both sadly closed. The closest Red Robbin locations to Vacaville are in Woodland and Pleasant Hill.
Texas Roadhouse is a popular steak restaurant chain with Texas-sized portions where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor. Although Vacaville does not have a Texas Roadhouse, there’s one just west of us in Fairfield.
Along with many of its California locations, the Tahoe Joe’s near Sam’s Club on Helen Power Drive closed after the Covid-19 Pandemic, leaving Vacaville with one less steak restaurant chain. We do still have an Outback Steakhouse and a new Brazilian Steakhouse, but the nearest Tahoe Joe’s is now in Fresno!
I know not every city has a Cattlemens, but I sure love their steak. Thankfully, there’s one just a few miles out of town in Dixon.
For being so close to the Bay, we sure are lacking in seafood restaurants. Vacaville doesn’t even have a Red Lobster! Fairfield and Vallejo each have Red Lobster locations.
I kind of just wanted to add this one because of all the comic stereotypes that come up when it’s mentioned. But, Vacaville does not have a Hooters location. There really aren’t that many around. Rohnert Park seems to be the last standing Hooters location.
Long John Silver’s
Checking both the fast-food and seafood (I guess) boxes, Long John Silver’s has many northern California location, but no map pin falls on Vacaville when you search for one on Google.
Oh, the classic Sizzler! There was one for years near Hamburger Hill on Monte Vista, but Vacaville is no longer home to the family and budget-friendly steakhouse. The closest one is in Pinole.
Rubio’s Coastal Grill
Rubio’s Coastal Grill was always a good, quick place to stop and grab a burrito. Both their Vacaville an Fairfield locations have closed and now you’ll have to wait until the next time you’re driving through Pleasant Hill or Sacramento.
Dave & Buster’s
It’s like Chuck E. Cheese for adults. Each location has an arcade and sports bar. They host parties and it’s a really fun place. But, it ain’t in Vacaville. There’s a Dave and Buster’s in Fairfield.
What did you just think of when you read “Cinnabon?” The intoxicating aroma of those delicious and soft cinnamon roles are difficult to avoid in any mall. If you’re trying to avoid the sugary deliciousness of Cinnabon, Vacaville is a good place because we don’t have one.
I’ve admittedly never been to a Golden Corral but the Pandemic sure did its damage to the all-you-can-eat restaurants. There isn’t a Golden Corral in (or even really close to) Vacaville. The Concord Golden Corral is the location closest to Vacaville.
Chuck E. Cheese’s
I had to make sure these still existed with so many other things for kids to do these days. Chuck E. Cheese’s is a fun place for little kids’ birthday parties and won’t break mom and dad’s budget. But, you’ll have to spend a little on gas because the closest Chuck E. Cheese’s location to Vacaville is in Fairfield.
I may have saved the most depressing absence of a chain restaurant in Vacaville for last. Chevys “Fresh Mex” was a family favorite of mine growing up when there was a Chevys in Vacaville. The chain has closed many locations in recent years but they’re still around.
Although there’s no Chevys in Vacaville, we do have many great Mexican restaurants to choose from. Or, drive to Fairfield. There’s one near the mall.
Vacaville boasts a wide variety of local and chain restaurants. We actually have some great chains that other cities in the region don’t. But, obviously this list shows there are many we don’t have. For more information about living, working and playing in and around Vacaville, follow All Solano on Facebook!