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Dining News: Trail's Restaurant to Close Next Month


Trails, the 73 year old restaurant at Broadway and 21st, will close in Sept., the son of the owner announced on Reddit.

My dad, Gin, has been the sole proprietor of this restaurant since 1978 since our family moved all the way from wintery Canada. Combining unique and savory flavors from both east and west traditions, he transformed BBQ food in Sacramento and was voted in the Top 10 best BBQ food in town. Over the past 36 years, he's served the state's finest politicians, athletes, TV personalities, and locals with the finest pork ribs, NY steaks, and Shish-k-bobs anywhere. In an industry where survival in the restaurant business is less than 5%, Trail's has been able to succeed and manage to live on for decades; a true testament to its loyal customers, good food, and unique atmosphere. It will be a truly sad moment when the neon light of the signage turns off for the very last time, and the doors locked forever.

So the fact that Trail's is closing its door, after so many decades, is sad on many levels is because:
One, it has such a rich history and legacy. The last artifact from the Golden Age of Cinema may be lost forever. The wagonwheel lights, cowboy wallpaper, charbroiler grill, neon lights, all signal the old style motifs that were great in the 50's, but lost in a new century of soft lighting and burgundy wine bars. It is just a sad reminder that time catches up with everything, even if it's been a hidden gem for so many recent years.

Two, Trail's is my dad's legacy. For my dad, who found his life and passion in his food and restaurant, it will be probably the hardest point in his life to say goodbye. It is his place of solace and comfort, and it is probably closer to him than anyone would ever understand. He built friendships with his many customers; it was his home and whoever walked through those doors knew they were going to be treated like old friends. For him, Trail's is his other home and a big part of his legacy.

Three, Trail's is a part of our family and life. We all worked there during our teenage years, busing tables, filling up waters, washing dishes, working the cash register; always wondering why we had to work when all of our friends got to play. Only after we've all grown up, that we finally understand why he did what he did, and why it was so important for ourselves. It was for the family. He sacrificed his time, his opportunity to grow with his family, to give us the chance to succeed in our own lives and learn what hard work meant. He worked so hard, so we didn't have to take on the restaurant life when we were older. He gave us the chance to get an education, work hard, and take advantage of the opportunities as much as possible. Trail's, itself, is such a strong part of our family history that we wouldn't where we are today without it. Our family may be located all across the country now, but Trail's is always the home we come back to.

As you can see, the realization that our beloved Trail's will be shutting its doors for the last time in the coming weeks, is very bittersweet. My dad is not exactly a young spring chicken anymore, and we decided as a family a few months ago that, like Hollywood, it is best to leave the game at your peak. My dad is healthy still, the family has grown up and is growing, so it's time for my dad to refocus his time, spend it with his family finally, and let Trail's, or it's next incarnation, to continue to provide good food and service to the Sacramento community.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be letting our customers know about the forthcoming closure, so they can order their ribs and steaks for the last time at Trail's. We'll be posting on our Facebook page (see below) on the final close date and other details.

As our loyal Sacramento customers, we only ask of 2 things: - If you are interested in coming by, please do, and take some time to sign our guestbook on the counter before you go. Leave a nice message to our dad, if you'd like. (It'll be setup this weekend.)

- Tell your friends on social media, tweet our mayor Kevin Johnson @KJ_MayorJohnson to stop on by, take pictures and post them up. It'd be great to get the message out for a nice farewell.

Stay tuned, also, as we're working to get Trail's famous BBQ sauce bottled!=D

Join our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trails-Restaurant/334279843376

Thank you so much, Sacramento, for a fantastic 36 years!

EDIT: The outpouring of love from the community is amazing, and we sincerely thank each and every one of you from the deepest of our hearts. Our customers are family to us, giving us warmth and joy every time you've stepped in our door. As you might imagine, the reality has still yet to set with dad, so we may need to slowly ease him in a bit to the inevitable. We appreciate your support, and please be cognizant of his current mindset. Thank you so much!

See the post, with dozens of comments, on Reddit.

In Nov. 2013, Trail's received a pretty harsh review in the Sac Bee.

Trails is not a good restaurant, but neither is it a terrible one. It’s a place stuck in purgatory, anchored unceremoniously in a Sacramento food scene that no longer really exists...

Charming as it may be, Trails lost its way by refusing to set foot in the new and much more dynamic Sacramento, where we expect better food and know where to find it. There once was a time, many years ago, where Western-themed restaurants were all the rage in Sacramento, probably because Westerns were all the rage in movies and on TV. Folks even got dressed up in Western garb when they went out to eat here.

That Sacramento, cute as a button, no longer exists.

In May 2014, the Sac Bee's Chris Macias reported that the restaurant was for sale for $500,000.

While I'm sad that this family is losing a source of income, time waits for no one and this restaurant's time probably had come. I can't wait to see what that spot becomes. Maybe the new home of another local brewery? A higher end wine bar to cater to the Land Park crowd? I look forward to finding out soon.

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