Downtown & Vine

Dining News: Downtown and Vine to Expand Food Options with New Kitchen in June

Downtown and vine

It all started as a chance meeting at an industry mixer.

Kate Chomko, owner of Downtown and Vine, and Jennifer Kaye of About a Bite met, got to know each other, and now are cooperating on a new space on K Street.

For Downtown and Vine, a hidden favorite for those who work around the State Capitol, it means expanding its kitchen, Chomko told Cowtown Eats last week.

For About a Bite, it means moving the business from Gold River, sharing a kitchen with Downtown and Vine, and opening a storefront.

First, more on Downtown and Vine. Their current menu, which I often enjoy with co-workers, is limited by the fact that they don't have a kitchen with a vent hood. That means they can't cook meats and instead have to serve sliced bread and cheeses, flatbread, chips and dip, etc. which don't require a stove.

Come June 1, their menu will expand where they san serve a lot more small plates, featuring meats, sausages, peppers, etc. They'll also be adding soups, salads and a juice bar to their offerings. Chomko says they'll grow their own microgreens and wheat grass.

Downtown and Vine's new menu will be farm-to-fork, where what they cook will be based on what's dropped off from the local farms and what's in season that week. As part of that, they'll return their compost back to the farm.

For those who haven't been to Downtown and Vine recently, when they opened, they were a multi-winery tasting room, which only permitted them to serve wines for places which they served as a tasting room. They now have an expanded liquor license so they can now serve wine and beer, regardless of what winery it came from.

The two restaurants will also share a new event space.

As for About a Bite, loyal Cowtown Eats readers learned recently that the bakery was opening an outpost on K Street. In a late April interview with Cowtown Eats, Kaye says that they're actually relocating their entire business.

Unlike their current location, About a Bite on K Street will also be a retail store where they will have a display case a la Ginger Elizabeth. The current location is just an industrial bakery and a spot to pick up pre-ordered desserts.

One of the reasons Kaye decided to move Downtown is to be closer to their clientele. They do a lot of corporate gift business, and they hope their increased visibility will help build the 3 year old business.

In addition to desserts, About A Bite will be offering gelato from Devine Gelateria.

About a Bite faces sharp competition for diners craving sweets on a street featuring Estelle's Patisserie, Vampire Penguin and Ambrosia.

About a Bite's new location will be at 12th  & K.

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Twin Peaks plans five Sacramento-area restaurants - The eatery has already identified the site of its first Sacramento-area location. The first Twin Peaks in the region is planned for the former California Fresh location (once known as Fresh Choice) near Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard...The franchise group is considering Roseville, Elk Grove, Natomas and Citrus Heights for additional locations. "Sacramento absolutely is a target market," said Sandy Mann, principal and head of development for Elite Sports Bar Group. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Empress Tavern team dishes out Filipino, Hawaiian fare at pop-up - Thiemann’s wildly successful restaurant Mother is enough to build a rapid fanbase for Empress, his upcoming meat-centric concept located below the Crest Theatre. It’s expected to revolve around a rotisserie-spun meats, with craft cocktails and a formidable beer list. American food. So what are the dudes doing serving spam loco moco and lumpia? Fun, I guess. And to build a little buzz, sure. And maybe to prove the vegetarian restaurant owners can, in fact, cook meat. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Remodeled Paragary's getting ready to open - Hiring is underway for a remodeled Paragary's, with the restaurant expected to open in mid-May. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Downtown & Vine Appears on Design Reality TV Show


Dowtown and Vine is the second Sacramento restaurant to be featured on Red Hot Design, a show on the FYI network.

From the TV network's description of the 7th episode of its inaugural season:

Shasta's challenge is to transform a patio in order to attract business for a Wine Bar. Shasta is excited and worried at the same time that her design will be featured in a prime downtown location.

I don't have cable, so I didn't catch the first airing on Monday night. But those who want to watch the show can catch a rerun on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

The first Sacramento-area restaurant to be featured was Broderick. If you missed their episode or are a cable cutter like me, you can catch a clip on FYI.TV.

Dowtown and Vine is located at 1200 K Street, and can be found online at

* Photo via the Downtown & Vine Facebook Page.

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Fish tacos with trimmings is a lunchtime go-to - After lunch, we agreed its version of Baja-style fish tacos is one of the best we’ve had in the area. The three mini-flour tortillas overflow with crispy beer-battered fish topped with shredded cabbage, salsa and chipotle aioli. With them are a heap of flavorful cilantro-infused rice and a bowl of savory black beans topped with crumbles of queso fresco. Oh, and guacamole and chips, too. A big meal for $12.50, easily shared. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Assistance League buys building, will relocate thrift store in 2015 - The nonprofit’s new building had been home to Waffle King’s and Machu Picchu, an American breakfast diner that transforms into a Peruvian restaurant as the day progresses. The quirky restaurant, which received a favorable review in The Bee in June, is moving to 5825 Winding Way. Stott recalled that the site also once was home to the Coral Reef restaurant, the Tiki-style landmark that closed in 1994. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

Take a bit of Italy with you at this Elk Grove deli - What do you call long sandwiches on soft rolls stuffed with Italian meats and cheese, veggies and often a squirt of oil and vinegar dressing? They go by many names around the United States: hoagie, grinder, submarine sandwich, hero, dagwood and wedge, to name just a few. In Sacramento, we have plenty of shops that sell excellent versions of these hearty sandwiches -- Sampino’s, Corti Brothers, Roxie Deli and the like. Now Elk Grove has an Italian delicatessen as well, and it’s on par with not only those in Sacramento, but even some in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

Try It: Ink Eats & Drinks' Grapefruit Martini - Ink Eats & Drinks is one of midtown’s most distinctive dining and drinking establishments. Despite its vibrant, tattoo-inspired artwork and edgy, urban vibe, I’ve found it to be equally warm and welcoming to families and the 50-plus crowd as it is to its young, garrulous (and often tatted) regulars.  Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Dad's Kitchen: Take a family vacay to Flavortown - The cooking here is consistent and at times technically terrific. There are plenty of brews on tap for beer nerds to quaff. It’s a comfortable place to get comfortable with American food plus a good beer or two. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: RIP Sheephereder Bar & Grille, Hello Fire Rock Grill


Sheepherder Bar & Grill inRancho Cordova closed on Dec. 31st (with an all day happy hour) and will reopoen in early Feb. as Fire Rock Grill.

The follwing message has been on their answering machine for the last couple weeks:

Thank you for calling the historic Sheepherder restaurant on Folsom Blvd. in Rancho Cordova. We are currently closed for remodeling and will reopen on Feb. 3 as Fire Rock Grill under new ownership and management.

Per the description on their Facebook Page, the Fire Rock Grill is:

Family owned and operated, Fire Rock Grill is located in the historic Sheepherder building in Rancho Cordova and is giving a new twist to American food...

We are pleased to announce that a new restaurant Fire Rock Grill, located in the historic Sheepherder building, is under construction and is opening for business in February. We invite you to follow our process through construction as we make our restaurant more inviting to everyone who walks in the door.

Formerly known as Sheepherder Bar and Grille, the Alimena family has taken over to expand the American style menu to New American featuring tastes from Latin America and Mediterranean including Italian.

I don't have much more than that at this point besides the fact that it bills itself as a "family restaurant," but I'll keep an eye out and keep you informed.

When it opens, Fire Rock Grill will be located at 11275 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA.

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Sacramento Beer Week's main event, the Beerfest, moves to Capitol Mall from Cal Expo - The powers that be who put on this region’s annual Sacramento Beer Week made a smart move: The annual Capitol Beerfest, normally held on a Saturday “all the way out” at Cal Expo, will now take place on Sunday, March 9, outdoors on Capitol Mall. Nick Miller in Sac News & Review.

Standing Tall: Selland’s Market-Cafe sets the standard for casual dining - While most Sacramento residents might judge the Selland group on the fine-dining standouts of Ella and The Kitchen, it’s probably Selland’s Market-Cafe in East Sac that they’re most familiar with. What makes Selland’s work is its casual, order-at-the-counter system and seemingly endless list of special events, deals and offers. The menu, a combo of soups, sandwiches, pizza and hot dishes, hasn’t changed much in the 13 years since the restaurant’s opening. But seasonal specials and weekly offers attract curious diners without nudging out the favorite dishes that keep East Sac residents coming in week after week. Greg Sabin in Inside Publications.

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Dining News: Popcycle Stolen, Recovered

Popcycle Creamery, the bicycle mobile ice cream delivery service where all the ice cream is hand crafted and served in a push Pop form factor, was stolen early Saturday morning, owner Rachel Sprinkle-Strong announced on Popcycle's Facebook page.

Actually Sprinkle-Strong chronicled the whole adventure on her Facebook Page.






The bike locked up in a locked garage, so it was seemingly well protected. According to the CBS 13 interview (above), the bike was missing its tires, bike seat and pedals, but the rest of the bike was in tact.

Watch the video above for more info, and find Popcycle on Facebook at

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Dine Downtown Week - I have already enjoyed two Dine Downtown menus: Esquire Grill and Downtown & Vine. Downtown & Vine offers a nice range of choices on their menu, complete with a dessert and drink pairing to round out the meal, a great deal for the price. We were very pleased with our meal and will be returning again. Amber Stott on Awake at the Whisk.

Dine Downton at Esquire Grill (1213 K Street) -  I have been to Esquire many times in the past so I had some pretty high expectations going in for the Dine Downtown dinner. The choices on the menu were very impressive, which made it really hard to decide what selections to go for...I would add Esquire Grill to your list of places to visit over the next week for Dine Downtown! Kelli Breton on Girls on the Grid.

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Dining News: 6 Things You Should Know About Michael Passmore

I'd heard about Michael Passmore before reading Rick Kushman's lengthy, but worthwhile profile in a recent Sac News & Review. But really, all I knew about him is that he used to be at the Sunday Farmer's Market under the freeway and that chefs love him. But I really didn't know why or much about the person.

After reading the profile, I'm starting to get it. But not everybody has time to read 3,300 words about a fish farmer - even the best fish farmer. Here are 7 things I learned when reading the piece.

1. First Careers: Before he started the fish farm, he spent time performing background checks for corporate America and later, attending Law School.

2. Tattos: Chefs Edward Martinez, profiled by the Bee's Chris Macias who has worked at Hawk's and Enotria and Tyler Bond of Enotria have tattoos of the Passmore Ranch logo.

3. Valentine's Day Gifts: Michael Passmore loves fish so much that he gave his wife two 140 pound sturgeons one Valentine's Day. Or maybe that should read Michael's wife Vandy loves him so much that she put up with getting two fish for Valentine's day.

4. Fish For You: Home chefs will soon be able to get the same fish and vegetables as the restaurants do via his new venture Passmore Ranch Provisions.

5. Caviar: Besides fish and produce, Passmore Ranch is now selling aged caviar.

6. Who Discovered Passmore?: Passmore credits Randall Selland for discovering him, although Selland modestly declines to accept any responsibility.

There's much, much more in the profile. I urge you to make the time to read it. Not only is it informative, Kushman makes it an enjoyable read.

Read the entire story in the Sac News & Review.

Image is from

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Downtown & Vine: A new take on the grape - This tasting room and wine bar opened in December 2012, with Gregg Lamer, who holds the title of certified sommelier, and chef Kate Chomko, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. These terrifically knowledgeable owners have mostly been operating under the radar, but have big plans afoot. With a new wine-bar license allowing them more event latitude and plans for special guests, Downtown & Vine should be on your to-do list. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: RIP Hads Steak & Seafood, Welcome Tank House

Hads Steak & Seafood, which opened on J Street in late 2010, has been sold, closed, and a new restaurant is replacing it,

Per the Sac Bee's Bob Shallit:

...[Bret] Bair, who also is an investor in the LowBrau beer house on 20th street and a partner in a new venture, Tank House, set to open this summer at the former site of Hads Steak & Seafood restaurant at 1925 J St.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

I've spent the last couple days trying to piece together what happened. According to online reviews and postings, it looks like it closed in early May. On their voice mail at the restaurant, the message says:

You've reached Hads Steak & Seafood. We have been sold, and we are no longer open, but we appreciate your patronage...Come back in a few months and see the new restaurant that will be here.

I reached out via Facebook to the owners, but haven't heard back. If you know anything, please share it below. Otherwise, I'll update when I hear back.

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The lager comeback: Ruhstaller brings history to life with the return of Gilt Edge - Mission accomplished. Paino partnered with Winter’s farmer Sean McNamara to plant the first acre of hops to hit the Sacramento region in over 30 years at the California Center for Land-Based Learning. Now Ruhstaller can boast their own farm, the New Ruhstaller Hop Farm, located off of I-80 in Dixon. All of the ingredients that go into Ruhstaller’s beers are produced by two local farmers. A recently-added feather in Paino’s cap is last week’s release of their Gilt Edge Lager, which is now available in bottles at select Sacramento outlets – including Nugget, Corti Brothers, and Compton’s Market. Ruhstaller will host Hop Off the Grid on Thursday, June 6 at the New Ruhstaller Hop Farm to celebrate the release. Allison Joy in Sac Press.

Railroad museum foundation bails on Ales on Rails because of heat - The Ales on the Rails fundraiser scheduled for this Saturday was canceled for extreme heat. The California State Railroad Museum Foundation decided to cancel the event because the historic train cars are enclosed and do not have air conditioning. The event was to feature beers from Track 7 Brewing Co. Mark Anderson in the Sac Biz Journal.

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