On Fair Oaks Boulevard, between El Camino Boulevard and Marconi Avenue sits the dormant and barely noticeable Hillside Shopping Center. Or what’s left of it.
The woman on the other end of the line, a long-time patron of the now-shuttered La Boheme restaurant, said she wouldn’t be able to dine at Mighty Tavern. Her church didn’t allow its members to go into bars.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On a late afternoon in the Caraccioli Cellars tasting room, the scrape of bar stools on the concrete floor signals the arrival of yet another couple exploring Monterey’s thriving wine scene.
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.
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.
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.
Across the street from the bustling Capitol, a new establishment is making the most of the region’s history of agriculture and abundance — at the hands of three owners willing to supply the gusto and know-how.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These days, the best reservation in town might not be at a restaurant, but at a chef’s table — in the chef’s private home or yours. Congenial chefs are inviting clients to stir and chop to their heart’s content before sitting down to a meal.
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.
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.