(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.

Aug 31, 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.

Jul 31, 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.

May 31, 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.

Apr 30, 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.

Mar 31, 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.

Mar 31, 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

Star Treatment

Is Sacramento Red Guide worthy?

As restaurant review guides go, it has no equal. It is so prestigious that whole cities vie for even a single mention, and Sacramento is no exception. Breaking in, however, is easier said than done.

Oct 31, 2012 Bill Romanelli
Hungarian pork sirloin goulash stewed with onion, garlic, paprika, caraway and red cabbage, served with spatzle and a pint of Warsteiner Pilsner

A Pub with Pizzazz

Forester Pub & Grill is not your typical joint

While Bill Carey is amply appreciative of Highway 50 patrons looking to reconnect with his former establishment, the German-style St. Pauli Inn, he is just as quick to point out that his Forester Pub & Grill is not a Continental restaurant.

Sep 30, 2012 Douglas Curley
Grass-fed New Zealand beef burger with caramelized onions, Manchego cheese, pickled cucumber, tomato and aioli

Doughboy

Juno’s Kitchen & Delicatessen

When I sit down at Juno’s for one of the best burgers of my life, Chef Helms starts by telling me he doesn’t want to be a namedropper. The fact that he mentored under legendary French Chef Jean Luc Chassereau of The Cookery and Reda Bellarbi Saleha of Aioli Bodga Espanola is not the point. 

Aug 31, 2012 Douglas Curley

Sports Bar 2.0

Television, beer and a modern spin

Failing in the restaurant business is a great way to go broke. The risks are huge, and the collapse rate is high yet there’s always the chance you’ll hit the sweet spot.

Jul 31, 2012 Laura Coyne Steel