Izakaya Diakoku is replacing Sweetwater Grill at 19th & S. Recently, both Sac Mag and the Sac Bee have interviewed the owner Sai Wong. Here's what you need to know.
What's an Izakaya?
An Izakaya "is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks. They are casual places for after-work drinking," says Wikipedia.
Is there anything else like it locally?
Not that I know of, which is why I'm so excited, but big cities with large Japanese populations like Los Angeles and San Francisco have a number of popular Izakayas.
Do we think it'll be any good?
If the track record of the owner is any indication, yes. Owner Sai Wong also owns RyuJin Ramen House (also at 19th & S). I'm not a ramen expert, but I've seen many ramen nerds argue online about whether it's better than Shoki Ramen, which other ramen nerds consider the local gold standard.
"Wong also owns Akebono on Freeport in Land Park. It's my personal favorite Japanese restaurant not named Kru. Per the Sac Bee, "Wong, who grew up in Laos and speaks four languages, developed a taste for Japanese lifestyle and culture when he was a culinary student living in Japan. During his 12 years in Tokyo, he became fond of the city’s ubiquitous, wallet-friendly izakayas, which he would frequent with his friends."
What will they serve?
Per the Sac Biz Journal, "The menu at Izakaya Daikoku will include many of the sushi, sashimi and other dishes available at Akebono, but also will introduce some izakaya specialties to Sacramento, Wong said. Some of those dishes include: okonomiyaki, which are savory pancakes; yakitori, which is skewered meat, and yakizakana, which is specialty grilled fish."
How about drinks?
Don't worry - you'll have plenty to choose from, including more than 100 different Sakes to choose from.
I see why you're so excited. When do they open?
Likely mid-September, but you know how restaurants are. Timelines can change due to construction, permitting or other forseen issues.
Where can I learn more?
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At Pho Saigon Bay, discover the flavors of Ho Chi Minh City - Two of the best Vietnamese restaurants in this officially designated business-and-cultural district along Stockton Boulevard are Quan Nem Ninh Hoa and Pho Saigon Bay, which happen to be nearly side by side along Stockton Boulevard near 47th Avenue...The food at Saigon Bay has no shortage of personality, including intensely flavored chicken, fish and beef broths that serve as the base for several pho noodle dishes. In addition, plenty of fresh herbs and greens can be mixed into soups to adjust or enhance the taste, or used as wraps and filler (romaine lettuce, mint, cilantro and sliced carrot) for spring or pork rolls eaten like a burrito. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.
Restaurant economies shift with minimum-wage increase - When California’s minimum wage jumped from $8 to $9 on July 1, owners of restaurants, coffee shops and bars braced for the fallout. They would either have to bump up prices and risk losing customers or absorb the hit and deal with slimmer margins. Some had developed new cost-and-pricing strategies months ago to account for the 12.5-percent hourly increase, sprinkling in price hikes here and there throughout the menu so they wouldn’t be so noticeable to the consumer. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.
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