Naturalist Nouvelle

Unearthing a new restaurant concept

Six months ago, Kevin O’Connor hit a wall. He had a good job in a good kitchen, but his body was exhausted and his passion was gone. So, at 24, he decided to step down as the chef of the now-shuttered Blackbird Kitchen & Bar and dig for a new plan.

Jan 3, 2014 Douglas Curley

Striking Oil

In Woodland, La Tourangelle cracks the nut oil market

Pulling up to the bland business park that is home to La Tourangelle’s nut oil bottling facility gives no indication of the nexus of culinary artistry housed inside.

But step through the doors and start talking to Matthieu Kohlmeyer, the energetic founder and CEO of the Woodland company, and you’ll discover that this quiet farming town is home to a vibrant French connection and a business that’s ridden the wave of consumer health trends and successfully plugged into the farm-to-fork movement.

Dec 1, 2013 Michelle Locke
Krissy White and Matt Sin, owners, Foundation Restaurant & Bar

Foundation Building

The new Sacramento restaurant that almost wasn’t

It took a year of arduous twists and turns, but Matt Sin and Krissy White finally got what they wanted. The business partners and co-owners of the just-opened Foundation Restaurant & Bar at Fourth and L streets in downtown Sacramento have an eatery of their own. It’s a sweet relief to be sure, because the story behind it is rather unsavory.

Nov 1, 2013 Douglas Curley
Cole and Sara Ogando, co-owners, Preserve Public House

Winters’ Preservation

Age-old recipes make for new-era growth

Tucked in a quiet corner of western Yolo County, Winters embraces the soul of small-town living. Centered around a historic downtown complete with white gazebo and an oversized main street clock, this tiny farm town (population 6,624) is on the cusp of a burgeoning new food scene.

Oct 1, 2013 Laurie Lauletta-Boshart

Das Is Gut

A sit down with the owners of Low Brau

Emerging restaurateurs Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis found a niche made in heaven when they opened their midtown spin on a German bier hall. Now, just ten months after opening, LowBrau is operating in the black, and the owners have their sights set on future growth. Check out the story behind the beer taps in this month’s Emerge video feature. 

Sep 17, 2013 Christine Calvin
Danny and Olga Turner, owners, Pushkin’s Bakery

Against the Grain

More local menus offer gluten-free options

Demand for gluten-free foods is increasing as more American’s are gaining awareness about the health impacts of wheat. Health seekers and people sensitive to wheat’s protein composite are often limited by the menu options at standard restaurants. But that is changing as local eateries capitalize on the surge of consumers with dietary restrictions.

Sep 1, 2013 Isabel Ward
(istockphoto.com)

Eat it Up

Why you should salivate over Sacramento’s farm-to-fork mantra

In October of last year, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson declared Sacramento the “Farm-to-Fork Capital of America,” presenting the city with a long-term opportunity to build a distinct brand identity that could help the region attract and retain citizens, conventions, tourists and entrepreneurs. It’s especially valuable because a strong regional identity gives energy to the economic engines that make cities successful. Anyone needing proof can look directly to Austin, Texas.

Sep 1, 2013 Mike Testa
Hampton’s on Sutter’s manager Jennifer Kipgen and Chef Pete Treleden

Taste of Sutter

A casual affair in historic Folsom

As a child, Michael Hampton often rode his bike down Folsom’s Sutter Street in search of his grandfather, who spent a great deal of time at the Sutter Club bar and other businesses along the historic drive.

“Today, my uncle owns the Sutter Club,” Hampton says. “And because there’s a lot of family history there, I’ve always wanted to have some type of presence on the street, too.” Last year, that vision became a reality.

Aug 1, 2013 Douglas Curley
Local restaurateur Chris Jarosz found success with his Wicked ‘Wich food truck before turning his eyes to a full-scale restaurant in West Sacramento.

Roll Out!

Food truck owners are driving new opportunities

Food truck success is leading to brick-and-mortar spin-offs for mobile restaurateurs ready to expand in Sacramento and beyond. For some, a fixed kitchen was always the goal, but for others, the choice to settle down was unexpected, the result of cultivating faithful patrons spreading the good-food word to more and more hungry friends.

Jun 1, 2013 Douglas Curley

Double Taste

How Rick Mahan hedged his bets on two very different business models

In the past 13 years Rick Mahan has not only learned a lot about launching, financing, owning and staffing a business, he has also experienced first hand some of life’s toughest lessons. Today, as the well-respected proprietor of The Waterboy restaurant in midtown and One Speed pizza shop in East Sacramento, he is willing to share those lessons.

May 1, 2013 Douglas Curley
Quinoa citrus salad, soft taco, chili relleno, vegetables, cedar roasted tofu and mango chutney. Paired with 2011 ZD Chardonnay, California

Seasons Greetings

Arden Fair Mall gets a farm-fresh eaterie

To this day I lament the closing of the California Café at Arden Fair Mall.

For years I would describe it as “my favorite restaurant that I never go to.” It had a great vibe, comfortable ambience, cool bar, eclectic wine list, intelligent bartender and a seasonal, farm-fresh menu long before that was trendy. I just couldn’t get over the fact that it was located in a shopping center. I take partial blame for its demise nearly a decade ago; I should have frequented it more often.

Apr 1, 2013 Douglas Curley

The New Wine Country

Opportunity abounds for California varietals

Let’s say you’re in a glitzy Beijing restaurant. Your waiter uncorks a $300 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. He pours you a glass and you sip it, savor it, let it breathe. But around the table, everyone else gulps theirs down one swallow, like a shot, yelling “Gan bei!”

Welcome to wine culture in China.

Apr 1, 2013 Jeff Wilser
Allyson Dalton, owner, Fox & Goose Pub & Restaurant

Breakfast of Champions

I’ve long believed that just about the worst way to begin a workweek is scheduling an in-office staff meeting. Employees start dreading it by mid-day Sunday. The gatherings usually get off to a late start, drag on and are deemed worthless by most participants.

Enter the breakfast meeting.

Mar 1, 2013 Douglas Curley
Biba Restaurant Chef Steve Tosso

Cuisine Under Construction

Biba Restaurant endures some neighborly development

What Biba Caggiano describes as the “bing, bang, bong noises,” began on Jan. 26, 2007. That’s when the building next door to one of the region’s most established destination restaurants was being demolished. What followed was a three-sided, multi-year Sutter Medical Center construction project that continues to this day.

Feb 13, 2013 Douglas Curley