15 Most Popular Happy Hours of January 2016


Here are the 15 most popular Sacramento happy hours of January 2016 (based on page views) on Cowtown Eats:

  1. BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse (Last month's rank: 1)
  2. Bento Box (Last month's rank: 2)
  3. Chicago Fire (Last month's rank: 3)
  4. Cheesecake Factory (Last month's rank: 7)
  5. Zocalo (Last month's rank: 4)
  6. Hook & Ladder (Last month's rank: 11)
  7. Firestone Public House (Last month's rank: 9)
  8. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Last month's rank: 6)
  9. Burgers & Brew (Last month's rank: 12)
  10. Fat's Asia Bistro (Last month's rank: 5)
  11. 33rd St. Bistro (Last month's rank: 8)
  12. Lucca (Last month's rank: 14)
  13. Buffalo Wild Wings (Last month's rank: 10)
  14. Blackbird. (Last Month: Unranked)
  15. Broderick Restaurant & Bar (Last month's rank: 15)

Thanks for visiting Cowtown Eats! We had more than 55,000 page views and nearly 23,500 unique visitors.

I also want to give a special shout out to Ernesto's Mexican Food for generously sponsoring Cowtown Eats and keeping the lights on here. 

Thank you all for coming. If you have any tips/suggestions/thoughts, please e-mail me at [email protected]

Don't forget to check back daily for new posts and Cowtown Eats resources like the Cowtown Eats on TwitterFacebook and the Sacramento Happy Hour Map.

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Dining News: La Cosecha (The Harvest) by Mayahuel Coming to Cesar Chavez Park


In the News That Broke Over The Holidays Department...they city council approved the way for Ernesto Delgado, the owner of Mayahuel at 12th & K, to open La Cosecha at Cesar Chavez park as early as the spring.

Here's more from Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag:

Inspired by a recent trip to Guadalajara, Delgado hopes to invigorate the plaza into a place where Sacramentans would think to meet for a date, a business meeting, or simply to hang out and grab a taco and a beer. “Most plazas in Mexico are the centers of the whole town and this is the center of Sacramento,” Delgado says. “I’d like to bring the hustle and bustle of Mexico [to the park], because in Mexico, everything happens at the plaza—everything!”...

Menu staples at the restaurant—whose starting hours will be from 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., and will operate as a counter-service eatery—will include tacos (think grilled fish topped with shaved cabbage salad, oranges, garlic aioli and avocado crema), salads (like a La Cosecha house salad with queso fresco, red bell peppers, pumpkin seeds and cilantro lime dressing), and soups, including Mayahuel's popular roasted creamy poblano.

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

Previously, the space housed Cafe Soleil, until it closed in Dec. 2014. The owners of Cafe Soleil have since opened a new restaurant - Soleil Mexican American Cuisine - at 2790 Stockton Blvd.

More News:

Beer Run: Sacramento area will be represented at S.F. Beer Week - We’re already starting to hear chatter about Sacramento Beer Week in late February, but first things first. San Francisco Beer Week is Jan. 22-31 and is well worth checking out. You’ll find great Bay Area beer at dozens of events. The well-organized website,, lists many of them, including beer dinners, pairings, meet the brewers and more. The big opening gala is $80, features 100-plus breweries and is expected to sell out. More and more, you’re bound to encounter Sacramento-area craft breweries in the thick of things, telling their stories and getting their beers in the hands of new Bay Area consumers. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

First impressions: Blackbird reopens with a smaller menu and bigger dreams - Balance is exactly what patrons will find in Blackbird’s kitchen these days. Sophisticated, seafood-forward dishes drive the menu in the form of easy bar-style small plates. Customers can expect favorites like the Captain’s Chowder—a savory blend of Arctic char, shrimp, mussels, local squid, red potato and chives served with grilled bread—and the Old-Bay Bomber, a slider made with grass-fed beef, American cheese, house-made sauce and shredded lettuce served with light, crisp potato chips. Other items on the menu—or the “perfect seven,” as Lampkin calls it—include individual oysters, fish tacos, a seafood cocktail, vegan risotto and the West End fried chicken. In January, Lampkin plans to grow the menu, bring back the oyster bar and offer weekly seasonal tasting menus consisting of three to five courses. Anna Petkovich in Sactown Magazine.

Pho Ru: Not just another pho joint - I bring this up because one of Sacramento’s newest Vietnamese restaurants does not try to be 100 percent “authentic.” For that reason, Pho Ru transcends expectations for what you’d get at another pho joint: stir-fried clams with black mushrooms and water chestnuts are scooped up with airy shrimp chips ($9.95); fresh spinach colors fried rice a vivid green ($9.95 with a whole hen); lemon-cured shrimp brighten up a refreshing cabbage slaw ($9.95). Yet Pho Ru is steadfastly the sort of place people say is “authentic” or “tastes like Vietnam.” Whether or not that’s true, I do not care. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Folsom's Palladio loses one of its restaurants - A casual eatery at Folsom's Palladio at Broadstone has shut its doors. San Francisco Bay Cafe had its final day of business on Tuesday. Now, the restaurant's exterior sign has been removed, and the restaurant displays a notice that says "business is closed." The restaurant attributed the closure to retirement. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

There's a new place to get a burger in Rocklin - Cheeseburger fans have another option in Rocklin. Moo Moo's Burger Barn has opened at 2330 Sunset Blvd., the restaurant confirmed on its Facebook page. The eatery serves burgers, sandwiches, salads and breakfast items. It's the fourth location for Moo Moo's Burger Barn, which has two restaurants in Stockton and one in Lodi. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: La Cosecha (The Harvest) by Mayahuel Coming to Cesar Chavez Park" »

Dining News: Now Reopen - Blackbird Kitchen & Bar


Blackbird Kitchen & Bar reopened on Thursday, co-owner Demetri Gregorakis announced on Facebook.

The restaurant has been closed since late May when the restaurant was damaged from water flowing from a broken pipe. Initially, the owners estimated that the restaurant would be closed four to six weeks, but insurance company and construction issues delayed the grand opening.

The owners took the time to update other parts of the restaurant too, per Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Here's where the 80-year-old redwood tree enters the scene. Local artist Ethan Noto helped connect Blackbird's owners with a giant fallen tree in Marysville. They've used wood from the tree to rebuild the bar. The remainder of the wood will be used for new community tables at Blackbird. In all, Blackbird is using about 7,200 pounds of wood from the tree...

Expect to see big changes in the bar area, which now includes one continuous bar space. The previous bar was split.

The restaurant has yet to announce the reopening on its own Web site or Facebook page.

Blackbird is located at 1015 9th St., and can be found online at

More News:

Yakitori Yuchan: Legit izakaya - It’s easy to complain about the lack of a legit izakaya-style dining option in Sacramento. We crave the sort of casual but buzzing place that serves skewers of chicken hearts alongside delicate albacore topped with ponzu gel. We want to challenge our notions of Japanese cuisine, a vast catalog of flavors and textures far beyond saucy sushi rolls. The kicker: that very legit izakaya-style dining option has been open for one year in Davis. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Sneak peek at Bacon Fest Sacramento 2016 - That’s right, Bacon Fest Sacramento 2016 is set for Jan. 25-31, and we got our greasy paws on the preliminary event schedule. You can look forward to a bonanza of bacon specials at Sacramento eateries, along with the return of some favorite events and a few new ones as well. Here’s what’s scheduled so far. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee

Homemade Ginger Beer – GOTG with Pour House - Ahhh the Moscow Mule. It is one of the tastiest (and prettiest) cocktails to order. It’s also something of a specialty for the bartenders at Pour House, a bar located at 19th and Q in Midtown, Sacramento. What we didn’t know was that Pour House makes their own ginger beer in-house and from scratch. This key ingredient is what adds the zing and the zest to a properly made Moscow Mule. So when we were invited to go “behind the bar”and help create the locally famed Moscow Mule, we couldn’t resist. Chantel Elder & Leia Ostermann on Girls on the Grid.

Holiday Food Traditions from Darrel Corti - Darrell Corti, owner of beloved grocery store Corti Brothers, is world-renowned for his knowledge of wine and food. While his reputation places him on a very tall pedestal in the food world, he’s actually a true blue Sacramentan at heart, a practical guy, a home cook and purveyor of quality products that help everyday folks shine in their own kitchens. When it comes to tradition and to holidays, Corti’s approach blends his love of history with a realist’s simplicity. These are his tips. Amber Stott in Edible Sacramento.

Aimal Formoli courted his wife by — how else? — cooking for her - Aimal Formoli, chef and co-owner of his self-named restaurant in East Sacramento, has the serious, bespectacled look of a scholar (though it must be added, one who’s seriously into tattoos). Suzanne Ricci, his wife and business partner, has thick dark hair, a wide smile that could guide ships to safety and a raucous laugh. It would seem ripe for a classic business model of his handling “back-of-house” duties (meal design and prep) and of her running front-of-house tasks (greeting customers, often acting as a fill-in server). Ed Goldman in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Now Reopen - Blackbird Kitchen & Bar" »

Dining News: Sac Bee Critic on 'The best meal I have had in ages'


There seems to be a critical consensus - there's something special going on with the food at Localis. This time, the Sac Bee's Carla Meyer gives her thoughts:

I’ve tried so much game at Localis during its four months in business that I expected my skin to erupt into camouflage. And although all of it was good, none stands out as much as the deceptively simple “farm plate” crudité dinner starter.

Ingredients vary, but on our visits, the farm plate contained turnip, radish, apple, pomegranate seeds and a few types of carrot and beet. Variations in texture and crunch levels, and pickling elements (including a rice vinegar-forward mix and one with red-wine vinegar and peppercorn) individuate the vegetables and fruits to such a degree that each bite differs from the next.

With this dish and others, Barnum carefully balances sweetness, salt, brightness and acidity for ultimate palate pleasure. The only element missing, out of many Barnum creations we tried, was heat. But heat is easy. The balances Barnum achieves are hard. And his flavors work altogether or in pairs.

Meyer did find fault in some of the non-food items at the restaurant, including their choice of music and their uncomfortable, at times, dining area.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Previously, the Sac News & Review's Ann Martin Rolke said their "food is worth seeking out."

Localis can be found at 2031 S St. and online at

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Craft Beer Summit to return for a second year in Sacramento - The California Craft Beer Summit will return for a second year in Sacramento, building on the success of the inaugural event in September that attracted the top brewing talent in the state along with scores of beer enthusiasts looking to taste and learn in a lively setting. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Lou’s Sushi: Religion in a rainbow roll - If there are two things that separate Lou’s from the drudging sameness of most other sushi joints, it’s the clarity of flavor and ingenuity applied to each dish...Lou’s constantly surprised me. When most sushi joints seem to deliver the same ol’, same ol’, I found new flavors and ideas here, and look forward to visiting again. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

How to summon your car from valet parking as you finish dessert - A new online service could make valet parking even easier, allowing drivers to summon their cars by text message before they even step outside. Sacramento-based USA Valet Parking has the exclusive use of the system in Sacramento, which uses technology from a Dallas-based software company. It's already in use at the restaurant Ten22 in Old Sacramento. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

A new pizza option in Elk Grove - The build-it-yourself pizza craze has officially entered Elk Grove. Blast 825 Pizza opened Tuesday at 7701 Laguna Blvd., according to an announcement on the company's Facebook page. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Three new breweries coming to Placer County - Moonraker Brewing Co., Dueling Dogs Brewing Co. and Crooked Lane Brewing Co. will join the ranks of taprooms such as Goathouse Brewing Co., Knee Deep Brewing Co. and Loomis Basin Brewing Co. on the burgeoning ale trail in Placer County in 2016. Jessica Rine in Sactown Magazine.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sac Bee Critic on 'The best meal I have had in ages'" »

Dining News: 'Best Spicy Ramen Spot in Town'


Sacramento has a glut of ramen houses, with Shoki and Ryu Jin generally considered the two best in town. So how does a second ramen restaurant by the same owner as Ryu Jin rank? Janelle Bitker gives her opinion in Sac News & Review.

Consider Ramen House Raijin, which opened in July, the more modern-looking, formal-feeling annex to Ryujin.

It’s also the best spicy ramen spot in town—half of the restaurant’s 20 ramens arrive in some shade of fiery red and deliver on whatever desired level of heat.

The karashibi ($8.95) is particularly strong. It starts with tonkotsu—the delicious and milky pork-based broth—amped up with spicy miso. Ground chicken gives it body, a slew of vegetables makes it feel healthy and sansho pepper—also known as Sichuan peppercorn—creates a tingly, numbing sensation in your mouth. Instead of being spicy for the sake of being spicy, the karashibi builds serious flavor.

Read the entire review in Sac News & Review.

Ramen House Raijin is located at 19th & S streets, and can be found online at

More News:

New future for former Bistro Michel restaurant space - A locally owned restaurant specializing in "regional wine-country cuisine" will fill a space previously occupied by Bistro Michel at 1501 14th St. Owner/operator Daniel Sneed expects the new concept, called TableVine, will open in mid-November. "We want you to have that feeling of being in wine country," Sneed said. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

What to expect when Blackbird reopens - Expect to see big changes in the bar area, which now includes one continuous bar space. The previous bar was split. Other additions are in the works. Blackbird is moving forward with a planned parklet near the building, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Deschutes Brewery Street Pub - This Oregon-based brewery will shut down two blocks of midtown on Nov. 14 to make way for its pop-up street pub, which has been hitting the road in 2015 through seven cities, including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Denver. Fifteen of Deschutes’ top brews, from the black butte porter and fresh squeezed IPA, will be on tap at the mobile bar as it makes its way through Sacramento. In Sactown Magazine. (Second Item.)

Make Fish - This casual seafood-focused restaurant, from the owner of midtown and Elk Grove sushi burrito hot spots Wrap ‘N Roll, will host a grand opening on Nov. 6. The restaurant offers not only the enlarged version of the nori (seaweed paper) wrapped rolls, but highlights another food trend on the rise: poke, a marinated Hawaiian-style fish dish served in colorful, customizable rice bowls. In Sactown Magazine. (Fourth Item.)

Hot Out of the Oven - Nena Rasul, 36, has been head baker at Bacon & Butter for scarcely a year, but she’s already put her original stamp on Billy Zoellin’s comfort-focused menu. Rasul, former head pastry chef at Mulvaney’s B&L, still turns out perennial best-sellers like the fruit-and-bacon fritters and cinnamon rolls that were on the menu before her arrival, but she’s added new favorites including sugar biscuits and bacon-chocolate chip cookies to the baked-goods lineup. We talked with Rasul recently about her early baking experiences, her sources of inspiration and the letdown of modernist desserts. Catherine Warmerdam in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: 'Best Spicy Ramen Spot in Town'" »

Dining News: Railbridge Cellars Opening at Elks Tower Thanksgiving-ish

Railbridge cellarsRailbridge Cellars & Co., the latest venture by the family who owns RailBridge Cellars at 400 N. 16th Street, Strings Urban Kitchen at 7th & Q streets and the Railbridge tasting room at the penthouse of the Elks Tower, is scheduled to open in late November or early December, reports the Sac Bee's Bob Shallit.

The goal is to create a 1920s-era vibe, with vintage fixtures, exposed brick and antique marble.

“You’re going to walk in and think you took a step back in time,” said Michael Gelber, president of Alexis Ventures..

Perhaps the most arresting feature will be windows allowing diners to gaze down into what was once the Elks’ basement swimming “tank.” Over the past year, Gelber has converted that area into a lounge where groups gather for meals while seated in the former pool. “VIP” seating is available in two hot tubs that were added to the room in the 1960s...

Initial plans call for Monday-to-Friday hours, with a menu influenced by the Top of the Town restaurant that drew crowds to the Elks’ penthouse in the 1950s and 1960s.

Coffee and baked goods will be available in the morning, salads and sandwiches at lunch and small plates served until about 7 p.m. along with about 50 wines, many of them vintage varieties that harken back to an earlier time.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

According to Sactown Magazine in July, the space was originally scheduled to open in early October.

When it opens Railbridge Cellars & Co. will be located at 11th & J streets, and can be found online at

More News:

Gina’s Filipino Kape - Last week, Gina’s Filipino Kape quietly opened on 12th Street in the space formerly inhabited by 1011 12th Espresso Bar. In Sactown Mag. (Fifth Item.)

Rethinking tipping, wages in Sacramento’s booming restaurant scene - There is plenty at stake as the Sacramento City Council prepares to vote Oct. 27 on a gradual minimum wage increase to $12.50 an hour over the next five years, well above the state-mandated $9 hourly wage. That worries many restaurant owners, and they’re supporting a controversial “carve-out” clause that exempts businesses from the wage hike if they can prove their workers take home at least $15 an hour with tips. The awkward and sometimes confounding issues of tipping, wages and restaurant profit margins have found their way into the spotlight, but depending on which side of the debate is talking, the city’s decision either could lead to minor tweaks for tipping or to a revamping of tipping as we know it. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Not Enough Cooks in the Restaurant Kitchen - In the last year, though, the sound has become deafening. At conferences, over beers and on social media, chefs and restaurateurs are openly worrying (not to say complaining) about a crisis-level shortage of cooks. In scores of interviews via phone and email, chefs and restaurateurs confirmed that the shortage has affected their hiring. Julia Moskin in the New York Times.

Feast Q&A: Blackbird 3.0 throws pre-reopening party - Hammering out details with the insurance company delayed repairs, Lampkin said. But Blackbird will reopen, with a new bar and concrete floor, Dec. 1. But it’s cold in December. So on Friday, Oct. 23, when the weather likely still can accommodate it, Lampkin is throwing a second alley party, to reintroduce the restaurant. The event will carry a theme appropriate to a business that has been down a few rabbit holes. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Basically a milkshake: Harvey Milk Punch, The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar - Popular since the 17th century, they usually comprise a mix of bourbon or brandy, milk and nutmeg. The Red Rabbit has a version called Harvey Milk Punch ($9) that includes Galliano liqueur as a nod to that '70s tipple, the Harvey Wallbanger. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Continue reading "Dining News: Railbridge Cellars Opening at Elks Tower Thanksgiving-ish" »

Dining News: Praise for Localis Continues


Localis, the restaurant which replaced Tuli/Trick Pony at 21st & S in July, continues to get rave reviews from the critics. The latest is from Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

However, the food is worth seeking out. Barnum, most recently at Cibo 7 in Roseville, presents food with the eye of an artist. The menu changes daily, dependent on local and regional ingredients, as well as “curated” planters of herbs alongside the patio.

Recent standout dishes included the Farm Plate ($11), a board of the freshest produce arranged carefully. Yellow wax beans, lightly pickled baby beets, and chunks of carrot reveled in a light dressing of piquant lemon vinaigrette.

The bacon and eggs ($11) included a golden-fried square of fine-grained polenta in which a raw duck egg was nestled. The heat of the polenta barely cooked the egg, which combined with the pesto to make a creamy sauce. Crisp jamon serrano and pea shoots rounded out the dish.

Read the entire story in Sac News & Review.

Rolke did ding the restaurant for "cramped tables and lackluster patio" though. The one time I ate there, I sat at the bar/chef's table area, and I loved my experience. It could be one of the best seats in town.

Previously, the Sac Bee's Carla Meyer was effusive with her praise.

That carpaccio dish also held cherry tomatoes, dressed in a foie gras vinaigrette, that flirted with best-thing-I-ever-tasted status. More seafood and/or vegetables, and less game, would have been welcome in the tasting menu. But the meal tasted special and thought-out, and Barnum makes a good host/chef. Friendly but low-key, he mostly lets his food speak for him.

Since we're on the topic of Localis, the restaurant, led by Chef Chris Barnum, started serving lunch this week, with entrees in the $10 to $15 range. Here's a sample lunch menu.

LOCALSLUNCHMENU-2-1Localis is located at 2031 S Street, and can be found online at

More News:

An inside look at one of the restaurants coming to DoCo - At Sauced, I was satisfied with the money I spent. Everything was cooked and presented well. Alcohol is a big component of the Sauced experience. There's a long beer list, in addition to craft cocktails. I opted for one that involved lemonade. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Popular local Mexican restaurant to open downtown location - Carolina's Mexican Food, a family-run business that's been in the region for more than 20 years, is opening a location downtown. A sign is displayed outside the restaurant at 906 J St., which is across from Cesar Chavez Plaza and already has its own Twitter account. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Work could begin soon on new Broadway home for The Kitchen - Planning entitlements in hand, developers of a Broadway building that will become a new home for The Kitchen are moving ahead on building permits. Scott Maxwell, one of the partners in the proposal, said depending on the city, construction could get underway by year’s end. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

Icing on the Cupcake - After closing its doors for part of 2014, the Rocklin-based dessert shop Icing on the Cupcake is now expanding, with plans to open two new locations by early 2016. The new spots – which will be located at 2379 Iron Point Road in Folsom and at 1730 J Street in midtown – were chosen based on customer feedback via social media, word of mouth and orders. In Sactown Mag. (Fourth Item.)

Jimmy John’s Now Open in Natomas - A new Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is now open in Natomas Town Center. As reported by THE NATOMAS BUZZ in May 2015, the new eatery is the first franchise for the sandwich chain in the greater Sacramento area. On Natomas Buzz.

Continue reading "Dining News: Praise for Localis Continues" »