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.
Nine years ago, Kimio Bazett and UC Davis classmate Jon Modrow opened The Golden Bear, an American restaurant and bar at 24th and K streets in Sacramento. The location came with a beer and wine license, so the two took what they had and ran with it.
We live in a world of labels. And right or wrong, the labels we choose have an impact on how others perceive us — even during the holidays.
Stand outside Sandra Dee’s long enough on a Sunday, and you’ll see groups of hungry guests walk up and squawk at the realization that the famed soul food restaurant is closed.
Since late 2010, following the completion of a multimillion-dollar remodel, management at Enotria Restaurant & Wine Bar has been in pursuit of creating Sacramento’s ideal dining experience.
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.
Early business success often brings challenges. In the case of ol’ Republic Brewery, the biggest challenge is meeting consumer demand.
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.
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.
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.
Celebrating 30 “wonderful years of life,” this year, Carina Lampkin has been cooking since landing her first job at an Auburn restaurant more than a decade ago.