Empress Tavern

Dining News: 5 Things to Know About RailBridge Cellars & Co., Opening in Elks Tower

Railbridge cellarsEarlier this month, Cowtown Eats reported that the new RailBridge Cellars & Co. would open in the ground floor of the Elks Tower on Feb. 10. Now, Sac Biz Journal's Sonya Sorich has more details on the place.

Here are 5 things you need to know about this upcoming restaurant:

1. The executive chef will be Christian Sieck, who worked in Enotria for 10 years in the same role before leaving to help open Toast in Granite Bay in 2007.

2. One of their featured sandwiches will be a pastrami sandwich called "The Levine," named after Larry Levine who helped source the meat. Levine is the father of former Assemblyman Lloyd Levine and the father in law of KCRA anchor Edie Lambert.

3. The restaurant plans a soft opening on Feb. 1 ahead of its Feb. 10 grand opening.

4. Prior to 2 p.m., the restaurant will offer counter service, with the late afternoon and evening crowd getting table service.

5. The restaurant will "focus on wine and craft beer, with some specialty Manhattans and martinis."

Read the entire story in Sac Biz Journal.

When it opens, RailBridge Cellars will be located at 921 11th St., and can be found online at http://www.railbridgecellarsandcompany.com/.

More News:

First Impressions: New Hawks good but loud - As an offshoot of a fine-dining restaurant that keeps the atmosphere casual but food quality high, the new Hawks immediately evokes OneSpeed, Rick Mahan’s (The Waterboy) pizza-centric place that sits not too far away from Hawks, on Folsom Boulevard. OneSpeed’s high noise levels never have deterred East Sacramentans from patronizing it. Hawks likely will keep packing ’em in as well, especially given its high quality of service. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

The Ramen King: Ryujin and Raijin Ramen House Owner Sai Wong - Lately nothing sounds better to me on a cold winter day than walking over to a local ramen house and refueling by way of slurpable noodles in a piping hot, deeply flavored broth. For a while, Sacramento had very few places to satisfy this craving; now the demand is growing and high-quality ramen is not so hard to find. One man responsible for bringing high-quality ramen to Sacramento is Sai Wong. Mr. Wong is a restaurateur who lives and breathes ramen, so it made sense for him to open not just one, but two ramen houses in the area. What caught my eye, however, was the fact that they are located right across the street from each other. Ronnie Cline in Submerge Mag.

West Sacramento approves grant application for new craft brewery - Revision Brewing Company received a nod of approval from the West Sacramento City Council last week to set up a craft microbrewery and taproom in town. Council members passed a resolution at their Wednesday meeting to submit a $330,000 grant application to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to provide the brewery a loan for its startup costs. Revision Brewing is co-owned and co-operated by Jeremy Warren, founder of popular Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn, and Jeb Taylor. Ellen Garrison in the Sac Bee.

Coffee wars continue as new player enters region - The Human Bean will welcome customers next week. The drive-thru kiosk at 2401 Coppervale Drive in Rocklin will open at 5 a.m. on Jan. 12. It's the second Human Bean location in California. The company offers a variety of espresso beverages, as well as teas and smoothies. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Here's what's happening at Poor Red's - Call it a renovation, upgrade or expansion. Either way, El Dorado County landmark Poor Red's Bar-B-Q is getting closer to reopening. The bar and restaurant is expected to be ready for customers in March, according to the business partners involved in the venture. Jeff Genovese, Mike Genovese and Mike Hountalas are leading the project. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: RIP Level Up Lounge, Replaced by VEG


Level Up Lounge, located above the popular Thai Basil on J Street, closed in November, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Replacing the night club will be VEG, a coffee, bar & tea room.

Suleka Sun-Lindley, who co-owns Thai Basil and Veg, said the idea has been in the works for about two years. She also co-owned Level Up Lounge.

She called the new concept "completely different." While Level Up Lounge catered to a nightlife crowd, Veg will specialize in breakfast and lunch service, according to Sun-Lindley. She's considering offering dinner service for select occasions, such as private events.

Read the entire story in Sac Biz Journal.

According to their Facebook page, VEG officially opened for business on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

VEG is located at 2431 J Street., and can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/vegcafemidtown.

More News:

Empress Tavern: Retro meat-and-potatoes fare in a fun (if somewhat noisy) setting - Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Empress Tavern is a beauty. Located below the Crest Theatre on K Street, it’s a subterranean trip to the past. The long-anticipated Empress opened in September, with its sister restaurant, the vegetarian Mother, having already paved the way above ground. Proprietors Michael and Lisa Thiemann have once again picked an offbeat theme and exceeded expectations. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Wings all day, err day - Lovers of crispy, saucy hunks of chicken have two new local options: Fire Wings and Kiki’s Chicken Place. On the cusp of Elk Grove, Fire Wings (8785 Center Parkway) dishes out mass quantities of wings in a massive number of flavors. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Dos Coyotes expanding with new stores in 2016 - Locally-owned Dos Coyotes Border Cafe plans to add up to four locations in 2016, most of which are outside the Sacramento region. It marks another step forward in the company's franchising efforts. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Sacramento Beer Week to return with larger, sudsier festival in February - Sacramento Beer Week will find a new home at Cal Expo for its opening Sacramento Brewers Showcase set to kick-off the 11-day celebration on Feb. 25. Jason Pham in Sactown Mag.

First Impressions: Land Park’s new Meet & Eat - The meaty mushroom-cheeseburger was a two-handed treat, served with excellent crisp and skinny fries. “I want to taste good-quality meat on my burger, and this one delivers,” said a lunch pal. Competing with that four-star sandwich was a trio of messy marinated-shrimp tacos. The tortillas, with satisfying corn flavor, were topped with perfectly ripe avocado, mixed greens, diced onion-tomato, cilantro dressing and, for once, a whole bunch of really tasty shrimp. The side of fiery salsa added the right bite. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: 'Best New Restaurant in Sacramento'


Sacramento's paper of record has made it official: Empress Tavern is "the best new restaurant in Sacramento." Here's a snippet from Bee dining critic Carla Meyer's review:

Before Empress, moments of marveling occurred three times, max, at any one restaurant. At Empress, the majority of dishes I tasted had this effect...

I ate turkey six times in the weeks just before ordering Empress’ free-range turkey – a choice about which my similarly poultry-logged companions were not excited. Thiemann’s version reignited our enthusiasm.

Equally tender white and dark meat seems to soak up the reduced poultry stock – which Thiemann thickens with a bit of gravy – covering it. Cranberry sauce offsets the gravy’s slight saltiness, with green onion adding snap.

One anticipates, when eating any type of meat at a restaurant, to hit at least one dry and/or tough patch – an expectation born not from pessimism but experience. Such patches did not exist at Empress, where the “honey hot” fried chicken was as consistently tender as the walnut-crusted rack of lamb and smoked prime rib.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Empress Tavern is located at 1031 K Street, and can be found online at http://empresstavern.com/.

More News:

Menu returns - The wildly popular Broderick Roadhouse (319 Sixth Street in West Sacramento) got its start as a wildly popular food truck slinging Primanti Brothers-style sandwiches. But Broderick has since done away with its original hits, the enormous sammies stuffed with fries, slaw and meat. Last week it brought back its Pastrami ’Wich, so you can finally feel full again. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Second item.)

Cheese Louise is ready for Roseville customers -- but there's a catch - A highly anticipated grilled cheese-sandwich restaurant in Roseville has finally opened ... without the cheese. Cheese Louise Diner & Grill, which in 2014 announced plans to open at 400 Vernon St., began its soft opening on Monday. But if you're hungry, there's something you should know. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Fine French Frugality: Cafe Plan B - The special, mussels and frites (fries) for $10 and draught Kronenbourg 1664 lager for $3 from 2:30 to 5:30 on weekdays, can’t be beat if you’re looking for a more upscale late lunch or early dinner. Nur Kausar in Submerge Mag.

Feast Your Eyes on This - Located in the historic district of downtown Truckee, the couple’s culinary creations at Restaurant Trokay take center stage, but the presentation is no afterthought. Their food plating has been heralded as fastidious by a number of critics and well-known media outlets, including Sunset Magazine and The New York Times. “In the guest’s mind, they have an expectation of what they will get,” Weatherson says. “We like to build on that and surprise them.” Laurie Lauletta-Bashart in Comstocks Mag.

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Dining News: Joe Marty's to Open on Thursday

Joe martys

A Sacramento institution has returned.

Joe Marty's, which has been resurrected by new owners after the original bar burned down over a decade ago, will open for lunch and dinner service starting on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The restaurant and bar opened late last week for lunch service, but decided to close for additional staff training.

When it reopens, the menu features street tacos starting at $2.25, sandwiches, burgers and salads costing between $8 and $12.

The original restaurant was opened in 1938 by local baseball pro Joe Marty's. The restaurant aims to "provide a comfortable and vibrant gathering place for watching a game, meeting friends or casual family dining.

Joe Marty's is located at Broadway and 15th, and can be found online at http://gojoemartys.com/.

More News:

Back in the game - A decade after it was shuttered by fire, one of Sacramento’s legendary sports bars is back in business...Pictures and jerseys of Sacramento baseball greats line the walls. Above the bar is a collection of vintage baseball gloves, from the 1920s to 1950s. And flanking the bar are two old-style open baseball lockers – one with a Solons jersey and a picture of Marty taken at Edmonds and the other honoring Dusty Baker, the Sacramento prep star who became a top major leaguer and is manager of the Washington Nationals. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Viva gelato: Eatuscany Caffe - It’s distressing when toppings completely slide off a pizza after you pick it up. It’s distressing when a plate of bucatini carbonara arrives seemingly dry, with the gray-tinged hunks of limp pancetta. I am distressed, because I think Eatuscany Caffe serves the best gelato in the city but everything else falls so, so short. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Petal power: No. 3, Empress Tavern - The No. 3 ($11) on Empress Tavern's short cocktail menu is a simple stunner in a tall crystal-cut tumbler filled with Spirit Works gin and a hibiscus-honey-lavender syrup. Rachel Leibrock in Sac News & Review.

What's up with those restaurants at 700K? - Construction is underway. Shults tentatively plans to open two of the three locations — the taco venue and the Irish pub — in February. Shults has previously said the third business is expected to open in conjunction with the arena in October 2016. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

The Red Alcove - Move over, fondue. The Red Alcove, a Korean barbecue restaurant with grills on the tables, opened on Nov. 19, joining the international market and a karaoke and dining room in Rancho Cordova’s sprawling Koreana Plaza. Owned by B.J. Yu (who has also owned the plaza since 2012), the new grill-it-yourself eatery features a contemporary maritime theme with wood floors, granite-topped tables and huge ropes decoratively wrapped around posts. In Sactown Mag. (Fourth item.)

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Dining News: What Southwest Air's In Flight Magazine Says You Shoud Do in Sacramento

Southwest mag

Southwest Magazine, the publication fliers find in seat back pockets, featured Sacramento in their Winter Travel Guide.

As usual, when out of towners make recommendations, there are some hits and some misses. Author Alison Miller has more hits than misses, though when she's wrong, she's really wrong.

First, what the reporter gets right, in what she calls the Next Great Food City:

Breakfast: "Local bacon and egg sandwich on a house-made English muffin from Old Soul Co."

Lunch: "Chicken-fried mushroom po'boy at Mother."

Dinner: "Five-course prix fixe menu at The Kitchen."

Nightcap: "Star bartender Ryan Seng's homemade nocino at Grange."

However, she gets one thing hugely wrong.

Lodging: "Make your home base at the centrally located Red Lion Woodlake Sacramento..."

Not sure what it's centrally located to unless she wants to be in the Costco-Arden Fair Mall-REI triangle.

But it's always good to see Sacramento get some good ink in national publications.

Click here to read it for yourself.

More News:

Black Bear Diner opening Monday in Elk Grove - Black Bear Diner, the Redding-based restaurant chain specializing in traditional comfort food and sizable portions, will open a new eatery in Elk Grove on Monday. Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

AUDIO: Best Of Sacramento Party And The March Of Dimes - One of the biggest events in the Capital City is more than just a party this year, it’s a 15th Anniversary Party and a celebration of more than $4.5 million donated to the March of Dimes. Nov. 12 is the annual Best of Sacramento Party, hosted by Sacramento Magazine. Sacramento Magazine Publisher, Joe Chiodo and March of Dimes Volunteer Jessica Bracy talk about the event's impact on Insight. On Capitol Public Radio.

Nacho Day, bro: Seafood nachos, Lou's Sushi - Seafood nachos consist of six fried wonton “chips,” topped with smashed avocado and a blend of raw seafood pieces dressed in spicy-mayo magic, then topped with green onion and roe on a bed of red cabbage. An unexpectedly addictive and sharable appetizer. Nick Miller in Sac News & Review.

High tea: Tea Service No. 1, Empress Tavern - Tea Service cocktails at Empress are conversational, boozy and absolutely precious. It's essentially a cocktail brewed for four, poured from a teapot into glass punch glasses. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

New housing taking shape at downtown Sacramento landmark - As for the ground floor of the 105-year-old Ransohoff Building, Fathy said the partners are in talks with several users interested in taking over the 8,200-square-foot space vacated by Pyramid Alehouse in March 2013. Some of the potential users have expressed interest in keeping the beer-making equipment that Pyramid left behind. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee

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Dining News: Now Open Downtown - Gina's Filipino Cafe


Gina's Filipino Cafe, the first restaurant on the grid serving Filipino fare, opened for business on Monday at 1011 12th St.

Gina Ramirez, the eatery's owner, said in a short interview on Monday afternoon that she plans to serve lumpia (think egg rolls), embutido (a Filipino meatloaf) and pancit (Filipono rice noodles), among other items. It being her first day and apparently pretty early in the restaurant's planning process, details were still being nailed down, though she said that Filipino fare would likely start being served next week.

Ramirez also said that the restaurant plans to serve pastries and hot American and Filipino breakfast dishes.

From the outside, the previous restaurant's signage was still up, and there seemed to be little if any interior renovation work done.


The restaurant replaces 1011 12th Espresso Bar, which according to Yelp reviews, closed in May 2015.

After Espresso Bar closed, Ramirez said the building owner invited her to take over the space and open a restaurant. This is the Ramirez's first foray into the restaurant industry. Prior to owning Gina's Filipino Cafe, Ramirez worked as a realtor.

The restaurant seems to be a family affair, with Ramirez's son assisting her on their opening day.

In my discussions with her on Monday, it sounded like many of the details have yet to be finalized. However, I plan to support this small business as they get off the ground, and I look forward to another lunch option in that part of town.

Gina's Filipino Cafe is located at 1011 12th Street, and will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday.

More News:

Going to Roseville's new Dunkin' Donuts? Read this first - Earlier this month, the company announced a Sept. 29 opening date for its new location at 5010 Foothills Blvd. But now, the opening has been pushed back until Oct. 6. Opening-day festivities begin at 5 a.m. and will include special events such as giveaways and a cup-stacking contest. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Favorite Sacramento Restaurants 2015 - When you are a food blogger, critic, or writer, the number one question has got to be, "What are your favorite restaurants in town?" To that end, I hereby submit my current list. The last time I did this was in 2011 and a lot has changed. In another 18 months, even more so with the 30-50 new restaurants expected thanks to the new arena. Catherine Enfield on Munchie Musings.

Haines brothers plan entertainment patio at new Pavilions restaurant - Sacramento restaurateurs Matt and Fred Haines are embarking on what might be their most ambitious project: a 3,600-square-foot eatery, called The Grove, with an equally large patio area at the Pavilions Shopping Center on Fair Oaks Boulevard. The brothers just signed a lease for the space and are excitedly talking about making it a regional draw as an entertainment locale as well as an innovative farm-to-fork dining spot. The projected opening date: March of next year. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Sacramento's Best Patios - Hot August nights. Indian summers. Delta breezes. We have many reasons – and many seasons – to seek out the patio life in Sacramento. There’s a luxury and a freedom that comes with dining al fresco. You can laugh louder, hear one another, feel the sun (or the shade) and engage in some people-watching at the street happenings. Featuring Paragary's Restaurant, Temple Coffee, LowBrau, Coin Op and Oak Park Brewing CompanyMichelle Labi-Klonecke on City Scout Mag.

Brew News - This week Ruhstaller reintroduces Hop Sac, its wet-hopped ale, to local markets like Nugget, Corti Brothers and the Davis Co-op. Produced annually, Hop Sac features two versions this year—one made with hops from its farm in Dixon and the other created with hops from Utterback Farm in Sloughhouse. Although they use the same recipe, each of the smooth, refreshing beers is distinct. In Sactown Magazine.

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