Red Robin Ups Its Burger Game (Sponsored Post)

This post brought to you by Red Robin. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Cowtown Eats.

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Sacramento is a great burger town. But one option you might have overlooked is Red Robin, which has recently placed a renewed focus on their burgers.

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Several weeks ago, when my wife and I were running errands in Woodland, we stopped by the Red Rob to grab a quick lunch. We were both pleasantly surprised by how tasty the Genisys Burger & the Nacho Crunch Tavern Double burger were. And these burgers weren't good for a chain restaurant, but genuinely good. Bonus - both came with bottomless fries, though honestly their generous portions will mean you probably won't need seconds.

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Our experience was enhanced by our attentive & charismatic waitress, who handled the two of us and families sitting at nearby tables with aplomb. Our food came quickly, our drinks were constantly refilled, and she served us with a smile.

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I also enjoyed the atmosphere. The vibe was modern, clean and the restaurant had plenty of space for an after work happy hour or as a place to watch a game.

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In the end, my wife and I found it to be a good option if you're looking for a good sit down burger.

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Bonus Offer: get a free birthday burger when you sign up for Red Robin Royalty

Red Robin can be found online at https://royalty.redrobin.com/ or locally at:

  • 8245 Laguna Blvd, Elk Grove
  • Sunrise Mall, 7990 Greenback Ln, Citrus Heights
  • 2031 Bronze Star Dr, Woodland
  • Creekside Town Center, 1184 Galleria Blvd, Roseville
  • 360 Palladio Pkwy #410, Folsom
  • 751 E Joiner Pkwy, Lincoln
  • 186 Nut Tree Pkwy, Vacaville

Visit Sponsors Site


Dining News: B-Side, West Sac's Sail Inn to Open in October

 

BsideFile photo of the old Monte Carlo and soon to be B-Side location.

Team Shady Lady has been busy.

Construction is underway at both B-Side (replacing dive bar Monte Carlo at 15th & S) and West Sac's Sail Inn on Jefferson, with both expecting to open in October.

First, Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag on B-Side:

On the Sacramento side of the river, B-Side—formerly the Monte Carlo Club on 14th and S Streets—is also looking at an early October opening, according to Boggs. The neighborhood joint will feature an outdoor patio and music-themed décor reminiscent of the 1970’s funk and soul era.

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

West Sac Web has the details on Sail Inn:

I stopped in and was able to talk to one of the construction workers, Marko. He was kind enough to allow me to take some pictures of the progress, which appears to be a complete remodel from the ground up. Marko also verified the name of the bar was still planning on being named the Sail Inn, and the group running it is indeed the crew from the Shady Lady. in 2014, Shady Lady is also soaking in some recent national acclaim, including its inclusion in Esquire’s 2014 list of the top 25 bars in America...

They have an aggressive potential opening date of October 2015. Please stay tuned to WSW for more information, details and photographs as they become available.

Read the entire story in West Sac Web.

Sactown Mag also reports that Amaro next to the Warehouse Artist Lofts building (where Fish Face Poke Bar is) is scheduled to oepn in November.

More News:

Seven new places to eat, drink and stay cool - If the heat has put you in a bad mood, don't worry. This week's list of new eateries includes three places that specialize in frozen desserts. There's also beer and chicken. Featuring Bombolone Cafe, Craft Beer Vault, Eatuscany Caffe and Rita's Italian Ice. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Miabella Brings Gelato to Market Square at Arden - Out of that small handful of early-going, exclusive gelato pioneers, Miabella Gelato was one of the Sacramento area’s firsts. And now, it’s finally movin’ on up to the east side … er, southwest, actually. Having been in business at the Fountains in Roseville since 2008, the gelateria has now opened a second location, Miabella Gelato and Coffee, in Arden Fair’s Market Square, right alongside Smash Burger, Dos Coyotes and the United Artists movie theater. Fabian Garcia in Submerge Mag.

New seats at the table - The lineup of restaurateurs expanding in the Sacramento region is a long one. Featuring OBO' Italian, New Kru Location, Bottle & Barlow, Iron Horse Tavern, Broderick Midtown, Hawks Provision & Public House, Mesa Mercado by Tequila Museo Mayahuel's Owner, Shady Lady's owners opening B-Side, Amaro Bistro & Bar and West Sac's Sail Inn, and the Haines brother's East Sac project. In Comstocks Mag.

Pull Up a Chair: Restaurateurs are feasting on expansion opportunities across Sacramento - Around the Sacramento region, the Mulvaney’s attitude is rare. So many other chefs and owners are taking up those offers or have their own plans to expand. 2015 is proving to be a banner year for restaurant expansions, and as Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Arena rises, 2016 will surely continue the trend. Here’s just a partial lineup of what’s shaking down around the region. Rick Kushman in Comstocks Mag.

Pocket Bistro closes doors to the public; will reopen in new location - During an interview with this paper last week, Edmund Abay, who co-owns the business with his wife, Jade, was quick to make it clear that his restaurant had not experienced a permanent closure, but was instead simply preparing for a move to a different location. Edmund, who is also the restaurant’s chef, said that the new location of the restaurant will be somewhere in the vicinity of Bel Air Market in the Promenade Shopping Center at Rush River and Windbridge drives. Lance Armstrong in Valley Community News.

Continue reading "Dining News: B-Side, West Sac's Sail Inn to Open in October" »


Free Pumpkin Beverage or Maya Mocha at Peet's Coffee with Purchase

 

Peets

Buy any artisan baked good, warm breakfast or oatmeal at Peet's Coffee and get a free small hot, cold or blended Mayan Mocha or Pumpkin Beverage through Monday, August 31.

Click here for the coupon.

Peet's Coffee locations can be found at:

  • 19th and R (Safeway parking lot)
  • 20th and J
  • Alhambra and Folsom (next to Fed Ex Office)
  • 37th and J
 

Dining News: Empress Tavern Preview

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Empress Tavern is scheduled to open on next week, and they've been giving previews to local media. The Sac Bee's Chris Macias tweeted that the space is a "game changer."

Here's a little more from S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Mag.

Thiemann promises a meat mecca when Empress opens, a carvery rooted in the sanctity of the French dip and with heaping servings of everything from prime rib to short ribs to seafood and even the turducken—the Thanksgiving specialty of chicken stuffed inside duck, then stuffed inside turkey, that Empress will offer year-round. 

Former Mother chef and longtime Thiemann confederate Matt Masera will lead the kitchen, a massive space with a rotisserie oven at its heart, pastry and ice cream stations at the ready (desserts are Masera’s forte) and a halo of gleaming pots, pans and other implements dangling from the ceiling.

“It’s like a steakhouse, but with all meats, which allows us to keep the price point really reasonable,” says Thiemann, who emphasizes Empress highlights like salmon and Hangtown fry (the oyster omelet delicacy hailing from the Gold Rush) nearly in the same breath as bone marrow with escargot.

 Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

Vanairsdale also reports that the opening date has been refined from the week of Aug. 31 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

For some gorgeous pictures of the space, check out chef/partner Michael Thiemann's Instagram account.

 

Empress Tavern

A photo posted by Michael Thiemann (@chefthiemann) on Aug 24, 2015 at 11:19pm PDT

Empress Tavern is located at 1013 K Street, and can be found at EmpressTavern.com.

More News:

Here's what happened after I ordered a glass of wine at Starbucks - Instead of "tall" or "grande," I was deciding between pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. And strangely, extra whipped cream was not an option. Welcome to the new Starbucks experience. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal

Sacramento’s thriving cocktail culture lures back a hometown star - Scores of Sacramentans have faced this dilemma: Should I stay, or should I go? Jayson Wilde grappled with this choice five years ago. Burned out from his desk job at a Roseville insurance company and unhappy that his punk band was stuck in limbo, he took a side job as a bar back at the Shady Lady Saloon on R Street. There, he found his calling making craft cocktails – impeccably prepared mixed drinks featuring fresh ingredients and dynamic flavor combinations. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Truly, deadly, delicious - Formoli’s Bistro radically changed its lunch menu for the first time since, well, ever. The only remaining items are the stuffed dates and—don’t freak out—the whiskey burger. That means there are a whole lotta new dishes to try. I recently sampled a simple salad with perfectly seared salmon ($12); a fried chicken sandwich that surprises with a light tempura-beer batter ($10); and deadly, deadly braised lengua tacos ($9). Sometimes, the taco plate offers pork instead. But when it’s lengua—my goodness—you must. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Sweet, savory, seasonal: Prosciutto and watermelon pizza, Paesanos - Meat and melon on a pizza? I wasn't so sure about it going in, but I've seen the light. Paesanos' delicious seasonal pizza ($13.95) has just the right balance of sweet and savory on top of a tasty crust. Meg Masterson in Sac News & Review.

The Berhane sisters serve up coffee with a side of sass at Tiferet - Sabrina and Makeda Berhane have made their East Sacramento business, Tiferet Coffee House, such a neighborhood gathering place that not long ago, a young man who had just passed his bar exam brought in champagne for the sisters and their customers. The reason: He had done most of his studying there. Ed Goldman in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Empress Tavern Preview" »


Dining News: Sacramento Chef to Appear on Man Vs. Child: Chef Showdown

Chef

Chef Keith Breedlove, a chef about town who was recently the official State Fair Chef, will appear on FYI TV's Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown show on Thursday at 6 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. (depending on your cable feed).

In an episode titled "Viva La France," the episode description reads:

Culinary and literal giant, chef Keith Breedlove muscles his way into the kitchen to see what all the fuss is about. But when he squares off against 7 year-old chef Estie in the "Poulet-Trois" will he crow like the rooster? Or run away chicken? Legendary Master Chef, Ludo Lefebvre, joins to blind taste and judge the winner takes all final round.

You can find Chef Breedlove normally on his Culinerdy Cruzer. Late last year, the Sac Bee's Chris Macias wrote a great profile of him, detailing his journey as a chef and how he uses his Asperger's to his advantage.

 

These kids can out-cook any ordinary grownup, but can they face off against their favorite chefs? The competition is HUGE on an all-new #ManVsChild: Chef Showdown, Thursday at 9/8c!

Posted by FYI Television Network on Friday, August 21, 2015

These kids can out-cook any ordinary grownup, but can they face off against their favorite chefs? The competition is HUGE on an all-new #ManVsChild: Chef Showdown, Thursday at 9/8c!

Posted by FYI Television Network on Friday, August 21, 2015

You can find FYI TV on the following channels:

AT&T U-Verse: 1272
Comcast: 772
DIRECTV: 266
Dish: 119

For those who don't have cable (like me), Chef Breedlove is hosting a watch party at The Falls Event Center in Elk Grove at 5:30 p.m.. Click here for more details.

More News:

Local and seasonal: Chefs preview five-course menu for Tower Bridge dinner - With an emphasis on the region’s rich bounty and the crossover from summer into fall, chefs on Monday previewed the five-course menu for the eagerly anticipated Sept. 27 Tower Bridge dinner...A closely guarded secret for weeks, the menu promises to offer plenty of creativity, technique and variety, including a sturgeon pastrami with heirloom beets, endive and, yes, chicharones made with the skins of the fish that are fried until they are puffy and crisp and, we’re told, mouth-wateringly delicious. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs - This popular ice cream shop, best known for its donut ice cream sandwiches, expanded to Roseville with a new location that opened Aug. 8. Larger than the original ice creamery in Arden-Arcade, the Roseville space includes a room for guests to reserve for special occasions and an airy interior with modern tiling and foliage spilling from planter boxes lining the light gray walls. In Sactown Mag. (Third Item.)

Bakers celebrate 25 years of a flourishing business - Walking into the Grateful Bread bakery is to become enfolded in an aromatic cloud of homey comfort. Is there a more enticing smell in the food world than freshly baked bread, or one more evocative of sweet childhood memories? The family-owned wholesale-retail bakery turns 25 this month, still occupying the same quarters in Loehmann’s Plaza that it did when husband-wife Joe and Dianna Artim mixed dough for their first loaves in 1990. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Beer Run: From IPAs to German brews, ‘The Beer Bible’ sets record straight - Whether you’re a bona fide beer geek, are studying to be a cicerone or simply want to know why your coolest friends always seem to be heading to a brewery taproom with their kids and dogs in tow, there’s a big new book that will enlighten and entertain you for 600-plus pages. There are plenty of good beer books out there, but none is as thorough, wide-reaching and accessible as “The Beer Bible” by Jeff Alworth (Workman, $19.95, 644 pages). Its publication is a big deal because, it turns out, the more you know about beer, brewing and the history, geography and culture of beer, the more likely you are to become a devoted beer lover. It’s a simple formula: More knowledgeable consumers will buy more good beer. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Drowning in ice cream and coffee - Is it really counterintuitive to make ice cream that doesn't contain any cow cream? Of course not; it is a deliciously wonderful idea, and the proof is in the affogato. The Italian treat of coffee and ice cream (which means “drowned” in Italian) gets the latter from Maiden Sacramento Ice Cream, the apparent dessert branch of the food tree whose canopy also contains Mother and the forthcoming Empress Tavern. Shoka in Sac News & Review.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sacramento Chef to Appear on Man Vs. Child: Chef Showdown" »


Win Free Tickets to Fairytale Town Tales & Ales on Saturday

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* Congrats to Lynn Hamilton, the winner of the contest. (Lynn - Just show up with your ID at will call for your two tickets.)

Tales & Ales - A Red Solo Cup Anniversary Party, a fundraiser for Fairytale Town, will feature 9 different breweries where guests will be given the iconic red solo cup to sample these great local brews.

In addition, food trucks Cecil's Taste and Miz Shirley Marie's Cuisine on Wheels will be on site with food and beverages available for sale.

With tickets for adults starting at just $25, the event on Saturday, August 29 from 5 to 9 p.m., is a steal. The event is also family friendly, with tickets for kids 2 to 12 starting at just $5.50.

Here are the breweries participating:

  • Alaskan Brewery
  • Heretic Brewing Company
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • New Helvetia Brewing Co.
  • Oak Park Brewing Company
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
  • Speakeasy Ales and Lagers
  • Track 7 Brewing Co.

Loyal Cowtown Eats readers can win a pair of tickets to this Saturday's event.

Continue reading "Win Free Tickets to Fairytale Town Tales & Ales on Saturday" »


Dining News: This Local App Helps You Get Discounts or Skip Long Restaurant Lines

IMG_2502Screen shot from Monday night showing restaurants giving discounts.

Requested App, by a team that includes Sonny Mayugba, a partner in midtown's Red Rabbit, recently launched version three of its restaurant app.

I asked him to help Cowtown Eats readers understand what the app does and how it works.

Here's an e-mail Q & A I did with Mayugba over the last week:

1. A third iteration of Requested was just released. How has the concept evolved over time and what does it do now?

Our core concept has not changed at all: we want to help independent merchants keep doing what they love and connect great customers to great places. However, the way we’ve tried to achieve this through the product has evolved like crazy!

First, we gave users the ability to name their own price in a Request and merchants the ability to approve or deny those Requests. People liked the concept, but the app was too complicated. We spoke with hundreds of users and restaurant partners, listened to their feedback, and simplified the experience. It is the best thing we’ve ever done. Now users view a selection of dynamically-priced table options they can book which vary in price depending on time of day.

That’s just the discovery side of the app, however. The real magic of Requested is in the dining experience itself. After your table is booked, you go to the restaurant and the host already knows your name. You get excellent service and when you’re done, you can just leave. The payment for your meal, including tip (a percentage you can adjust in the app during your meal), is calculated and handled through the app. You never have to worry about waiting for the check or calculating the tip, and we email you your receipt when you walk out the door.

The seamless payment system through Requested saves servers and diners an average of 10 minutes per table, and that really adds up. The other side of it is that our default tip percentage in the app is 20%, and while users can lower the tip amount, most do not. So the value of a customer using Requested is generally higher for servers, which makes for a better, happier experience all around.

While 20% may sound steep to some people (and like I said before, they can adjust the percentage), as someone who has worked in the restaurant industry for decades and now co-owns a restaurant, I believe that staff deserves that level of tipping, so I love that the app is inadvertently helping out some of the hardest-working people I know.

2. Why did you move away from some of the previous features?

Data and behavior. When you build a product or create anything - a song, a poem, a restaurant, a new car - you have preconceived notions on how people will react. And as entrepreneurs, we’re always too optimistic. And as founders, we all have two things in common: notions of what will work and things we want to build that will make our time spent meaningful. But those two things can be nebulous and shifting. The one factor we all can agree on is data.

We launched in March of 2015. And between then and now, we shipped a few cool features. But there were three glaring data points that caused us to pivot:

Thousands of people were starting requests, but only hundreds were sending them. Of the hundreds that were sending them, only 50% were getting their request accepted.

Forcing our restaurant partners to say “no”, even to a seemingly obvious ludicrous request, was damaging across the board.

We could dive deep for hours into this question, but those were the primary factors that caused us to look at changing how the app functioned. Everyone - foodies, restaurants, press and investors - really loves our concept. But in order to accomplish our goal of making the restaurants more busy and foodies happy, we had to do the following:

Move from ~15 taps, wait 10 minutes, get a no half the time…

to

Make the app two taps with an instant guaranteed yes every time.

And that’s exactly what we did.

3. What restaurants in Sacramento participate?

Independent, locally owned and operated places that are awesome. We curate our merchants. You can’t just sign up. You will not see a Subway, Panera or Wendy’s on Requested. I’m not against those places, I even love In N’ Out, but our mission is to grow the business of our independent restaurants without incurring any additional fixed costs. And we’re literally doing that and it’s providing true incremental margin to their bottom line.

With the success of our latest version of the app, we’re actually a little backlogged working to get a bunch of new places live! The best way to know which places are on Requested is to take out your phone and launch the app right now. Keep checking, because the list keeps growing.

4. How does the app know how much of a discount a restaurant is offering?

Some things need to remain a secret.

5. You guys are nice guys, but there must be something for you. What's the revenue stream

Awww, thanks! Of course there’s something in it for us, we need to be around forever and you can’t do that on nothing. Our app is 100% free to consumers and there is no upfront cost or fees to our merchant partners. However, when someone places a reservation and enjoys their experience, Requested receives a percentage. We’re like eBay and HotelTonight. We only get paid if both sides of our market are successful and happy.

6. Why should someone use the Requested App instead of some of the other reservation systems out there?

There are two key differentiators:

  1. With Requested, you can get a table as usual, or get a table and score a discount on your entire bill, or score a hard-to-get table by paying a premium. We have dynamic pricing.
  2. With Requested, you pay on your phone. So when you’re done, the total sales, along with your gratuity to the server, is processed through your phone. And that saves you and the restaurant 10 minutes. We're like uber for restaurants!

7. Who is behind this app?

Requested has 8 employees, four of which are founders and we’re all local to Sacramento:

Sonny Mayugba, Nichole Barnum, Jon Shumate, and Carlos Rivera are all founders. Dani Loebs heads up growth, Randy Balzarano heads up sales, Carlos Sola-Llonch is our Senior software developer and Katie Stein is our Merchant Ambassador. We also have a key Angel investor, Dave Pringle, who leads a lot of our structure and financial development and lead our first friends and family round of investment. We have an Advisory Board of amazing and active people. Our seed series round was led by Jason Calacanis, so we work closely with him and his tribe. Plus, we were funded by Social+Capital Partnership, so they weigh in on our development as well. We also have half a dozen part-time employees. We’re a small, scrappy team driven by a love of tech and restaurants and bars.

8. Is there anything else that I haven't asked that people should know about?

That’s a great question. I want our mission to be clear: we help high quality local businesses do what they love. So as we evolve, we are saluting this everyday.

On a fun note, something we’ve started with Requested that has been really fun are our happy hour parties. We partner with our restaurants and users every week or so to talk about the app, stay in the know about innovation and happenings in Sacramento and always keep the feedback and dialogue open with our users base. To find out more about our events, I’m just going to give a quick shout out to Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our events, because usually we give away free cash on the app.

One more thing! We have a pretty killer referral program built right in the app itself. Users can send $10 to their friends to try Requested, and if the friends use it, the user who sent the invite gets $10 dropped into their account as a thank you. So if you have a big social network and love Requested, we’ll pay you to spread the word.

Lastly, I encourage anyone and everyone to contact me directly. My cell is 916-320-3560 (text me) or email me at sonny@requestedapp.com or tweet me at @sonnymayugba. Most of all, thank you for all the support. -Sonny Mayugba

For Cowtown Eats readers who are just trying out the app, you can get a $10 credit by entering the by getting the app here. (Disclosure: I get $10 also when you get the free $10 in credit.)

The Requested Team is also holding a Happy Hour at Alley Katz on Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 6 to 9 p.m., where they'll give you a code for $5 (which is basically buying your first beer) and 15 percent off the rest of the night. Click here to register.

More News:

Meet the chefs working this year’s Tower Bridge Dinner - The chefs team for the Bridge Dinner: from left, Matt Azevedo (Z. Miller Meats), Vinnie Lazzaretto (Hook & Ladder), Brock MacDonald (Block Butcher Bar), Ravin Patel (Selland Family Restaurants), Oliver Ridgeway (Grange), Patrick Prager (Marriott Rancho Cordova), Bret Bohlmann (Boulevard Bistro) and Jim Mills (Produce Express). Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Bottle & Barlow's Jayson Wilde - Earlier this summer, bartender Jayson Wilde teamed up with barber Anthony Giannotti to open Bottle & Barlow, Sacramento’s first bar and barbershop under one roof. Wilde grew up near Natomas and learned the cocktail business as a bartender’s assistant at Shady Lady Saloon before going to work at San Francisco’s famed Bourbon & Branch. SF Weekly named him one of San Francisco’s new generation of bar stars when he was 28. Now 33, he’s back in his hometown, planting his craft-cocktail flag on the city’s white-hot R Street Corridor. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

Pieology has quick, crispy pizza down to a science - The thin crust is perfectly crisp, with char visible on bottom, and tastes just salty enough to be memorable. There’s not enough material here to compare it with local craft pizza houses’ crusts, which tend to be larger. But crust crispiness remained consistent through the 10 Pieology pizzas we tried. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Temple Coffee & Tea - The local third-wave coffee mecca is taking its first step out of Sacramento and opened its doors in a new downtown Davis location on Aug.15. The interior will feature Japanese-inspired design with a 32-foot-long solid oak community table, thoughtful touches like a mid-century modern clock. In Sactown Mag. (Fifth Item.)

Bring the Funk - It looks like 9999 Thai-Laos Boat Noodle could still use more luck. On multiple visits, the spacious restaurant was completely empty, or contained just one other party. That meant more than 120 seats lay vacant, plus a large, desolate bar. A karaoke stage and its accompanying dramatic music videos hint at 9999’s potential as a nighttime destination. But for now, it’s just another undiscovered gem in south Sacramento. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

VIDEO: Lord of Rice - Finalists in Mikuni's Lord of Rice competition will go head-to-head to see who reigns supreme when it comes to rice. On Good Day Sac.

Continue reading "Dining News: This Local App Helps You Get Discounts or Skip Long Restaurant Lines" »