Iron Horse Tavern

Dining News: Sac Mag's Reader's Choice Winners Named

Best of sac mag

I'm not a huge fan of Best Of contests where readers choose (and that's why you haven't seen one on Cowtown Eats).

It becomes more of a popularity contest rather than something based that a reasoned critic might select. It also tends to clog up my social media feeds with appeals for people to vote.

However, after perusing 2015 Sac Mag's winners based on the votes of their readers, I think the list gets it mostly right. None of the winners were blatantly wrong, though I might have selected a different winner if I took the time to vote.

Here's a short sample of the winners:


The Firehouse Restaurant




The Firehouse Restaurant


Land Ocean


Freeport Bakery


Coin-op Game Room


Fahrenheit 250 BBQ, Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que (tie)


Oak Park Brewing Company


Tower Cafe


Burgers and Brew



Read the entire list on

More News:

Happy Hour Hound: Iron Horse Tavern - Sacramento has a new laid-back and mouthwatering place where happy hour dreams really do come true. Specialty cocktails, pint-sized brews, wings, wood-fired pizzas and fried goodies are only some of the options at Iron Horse Tavern. Being an unhappy and starving artist, I had a ripe $20 bill burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided that this had to be the place. Plus, I don’t think there’s anything better than drinking somewhere on a patio at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Derek Kaplan in Submerge Mag.

Blondie's Pizza in Davis - Work has begun on Blondies New York Pizza Co., after the City Council allowed a hardship exemption from the 45-day moratorium on larger bars. The owners agreed to a long list of restrictions on hours, security and alcohol-related promotions. Wendy Weitzel in the Davis Enterprise.

Midtown brewpub to open with bit of ‘Soul’ - A couple of Bay Area transplants are hoping to launch a craft beer success story in the midtown Sacramento building where the Old Soul coffee company got its start. Alex Larrabee and Larissa Meltz recently leased space at 1716 L St. fronting the alley-facing cafe that Old Soul opened a decade ago and retains as its flagship location. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Doughnuts of death - Just in time for Halloween, a business has started up with a focus on terror, carnage and gore. We’re talking doughnuts here. Donut Madness opened this month at 2648 Watt Ave. with what store manager Jake Smith calls a “horror film vibe." Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee. (Second item.)

Try It: Mikuni's James Roll - If you're one of those people who cringe at the thought of sushi, the James Roll from Mikuni will most likely change your mind. It's loaded with salmon, panko-crusted shrimp, crab, and even a little bit of eel to get you out of your comfort zone. Sara Stidham in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: TableVine to Replace Bistro Michel


TableVine, a restaurant serving a regional wine country menu, will replace Bistro Michel and will open early next month, Cowtown Eats has learned.

"Our cleaning and cosmetic remodeling has been at a fever pitch as of late," owner Dan Sneed told Cowtown Eats via e-mail. "Trying to make our opening by the end of the month, but had one other [set]back so we hope to be open by the first week of November instead at this point."

The chef for the restaurant will be Scott McNamara, who recently left Brasserie Capitale. He was also the chef for several years at Bistro Michel. In 2011, under chef McNamara, then Sac Bee dining critic Blair Anthony Robertson raved about his cooking.

Enough about the fries (though you must get them as a side dish if they don't come with your entree). The mussels are also delicieux. On a different night, dining inside with an old friend and colleague, the two of us couldn't get enough of these mussels, fresh and clean and in broth so full of flavor we couldn't resist using our bread to sop it up. Again, there are no shortcuts to something this good.

Cowtown Eats first brought you news of the new restaurant in late August. In that post, we learned that Sneed:

[I]ntends to serve the clientele south of the State Capitol, which tends to have fewer fancy lobbyists and more rank and file state workers. He's aiming to hit a $20 price point for the dinner crowd and emphasize service.

In addition to Pearl on the River, Sneed has worked at Ella from 2008 to 2010, The Park from 2005 to 2007, San Francisco's Gary Danko from 1999 to 2005 and The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco from 2000 to 2001.

On the restaurant's Facebook page, Sneed has done a great job chronicling the progress of the restaurant as it works its way towards opening. I look forward to giving the place a try.

TableVine will be located at 1501 14th Street.

More News:

Suburban destination - Slowly but surely, the Milagro Centre is coming to fruition. Last week, the Sacramento Bee’s Bob Shallit reported that the upcoming Carmichael marketplace is finally full. One of the puzzle’s final pieces is Fish Face Poke Bar & Market from Kru’s Billy Ngo. It’s another outpost of his wildly popular poke restaurant on R Street, only this edition will also feature a small specialty grocery section. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Can prestigious beer festival prizes translate into profits? - Now that the brewery on Broadway has two very prestigious medals, the phones are ringing off the hook, craft beer fiends are lined up down the street and New Helvetia’s beer is flying off store shelves throughout the region. Right? Not quite. At least not yet. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Food 101 - No matter where you look, class is officially in session. That goes for your casual culinary education, too. Lucca Restaurant & Bar (1615 J Street) is hosting a multipart, weekly lecture series called Food 101, featuring a variety of food experts who aren't your expected chefs or restaurateurs. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

VIDEO: Food Photo Secrets - We have secrets to taking good food photos. Cambi Brown on Good Day Sac.

Hank Shaw to self-publish next book - Hunter-forager-food blogger and cookbook author Hank Shaw of Sacramento is preparing his third wild-game cookbook – after “Hunt, Gather, Cook” and “Duck, Duck, Goose” – to be on bookstore shelves by August 2016, at the start of deer-hunting season in California. For this one, though, he left the mainstream-publishing path for the riskier self-publishing trail, turning to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Owner of Izakaya Daikoku Changes Restaurant Concept, Sells Akebono


Izakaya Daikoku has closed and will become Ramen House Raijin, according to a sign posted on their door Saturday afternoon.

(H/T to Chris Macias, who first posted on Twitter that something was up with the restaurant.)

Ramen House Raijin should not be confused with nearby Ramen House Ryujin in the Safeway Parking lot, by the same owner.


Izakaya Daikoku originally opened on Oct. 1, 2014, and I loved it because for its okonomiyakai, a sort of Japanese fried pancake. Unfortunately, subsequent visits showed that my enthusiasm for the place wasn't widely shared by the general restaurant-going public.

The Sac Bee's Ed Fletcher has a little more on the closing:

Restaurateur Sai Wong...said the new place is “going to be a different style (of ramen). More spicy. More fire...”

Wong said the restaurant, in a space formerly occupied by Sweetwater Restaurant and Bar, was doing well, but the business model wasn’t for him. He said he worried about people overconsuming sake.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

While we're talking about restaurants by Wong, he sold Akebono last month, according to their liquor license (which records ownership transfers). The new owners are Han Young Lee.

The woman who picked up the phone on Sunday afternoon at Akebono says the restaurant will remain the same under the new ownership.

Ramen House Raijin will be located at 1901 S Street.

More News:

Dos Coyotes Opening Date - Dos Coyotes Border Cafe on R Street finally has an opening date. A sign outside the building says it will hold its grand opening on June 16. It's one of the businesses that fills a renovated building at 15th and R streets. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Evan’s Kitchen will host ‘Bon Appetit’ wine-pairing dinner - Now he’s presenting “Bon Appétit,” a multi-course meal with a French accent. It’s planned from 6 to 9 p.m. June 15 for $75 per person, with reservations at (916) 452-3896. Evan’s Kitchen is at 855 57th St., Sacramento, in the Antiques Mall. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Paragary's Restaurant Preview - Walking into the newly rebuilt Paragary’s Restaurant, it is undoubtedly recognizable as the masterpiece of Sacramento restaurateur, Randy Paragary. The strikingly contrasted exterior dons the name in bronze, proudly proclaiming ‘Est. 1983 Midtown Sacramento’. Approaching the bar you feel compelled to order that expensive scotch your hipster friend told you about, just in case Don Draper himself happens to turn up in the next seat. And you can let out a sigh of relief when your plates hit the table and you realize that this spot is exactly everything it’s been cracked up to be. Tyler Stacy on The City Scouts.

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Dining News: Iron Horse Tavern Sets Opening Date

  Iron horse tavern 2

Iron Horse Tavern, by the Wong Brothers, owners of Cafeteria 15L and The Mix, will open to the public on June 18, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Among the other details she's unearthed:

  • "The Wong brothers spent more than a year fine-tuning Iron Horse's menu, seeking inspiration from places such as New York, Chicago, Portland and Seattle. The end result features options ranging from pizza to paella."
  • "Iron Horse will emphasize "cozy, casual dining" with 15 small-plate options, Mason Wong said. Craft cocktails will be available, and 25 beers will be offered on tap, including local varieties."

Click here to read the entire story in Sac News & Review.

For a video tour, check out Tina Machua on Good Day Sac.

According to the video, menu items include:

  • 2 lb turkey leg, brined for 24 hours, confit and deep fried with flower
  • A 9 option mac & cheese bar, including lobster mac & cheese, pesto mac & cheese and egg and bacon mac & cheese.
  • Red Velvet Ho Ho
  • Loco Moco

But if you want to get a jump on the rest of the public, you can get a taste of their food (and other restaurants near 15th & R such as Dos Coyotes and Roxie Deli BBQ) on Sunday June 14 at a fundraiser for the Children's Receiving Home of Sacramento.


According to its Web site, the Children's Receiving home's mission is to positively impact the lives of children, youth and families affected by abuse, neglect, behavioral health issues and trauma in California.

Click here for tickets.

Iron Horse Tavern will be located at 15th & R, and can be found online at

* Photo via their Facebook Page.

More News:

First look: Brasserie Capitale serves up a French revelation on K Street - McNamara strikes that balance in the kitchen with a nifty suite of dishes, including supple house-cured salmon (kissed with dill, egg brunoise and laid on a bed of rye crostini and crème fraîche) and petatou (a delicate mashed potato salad containing niçoise olives, thyme and balsamic beneath a seared cap of goat cheese). McNamara's outstanding country pork pâté (crafted over two days of marinating in cognac, white wine, shallots and spices) and his zesty garlic sausage are both made in-house, along with classics like bouillabaisse, coq au vin and cassoulet that are each offered as specials throughout the week. S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Mag.

In chefs we trust: Omakase at Kru -  I've been sitting at the bar at Kru for lunch recently for $20 omakase sessions, and the crew does not disappoint...By far, it's one of the biggest bangs for your buck in Sacramento. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Local food landing at Sacramento airport's Terminal A - Airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said the addition of Squeeze Inn, Iron Horse Tavern and Paesanos reflects the positive reaction to local bars and eateries opening in Terminal B a couple years ago. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Sac Brew Bike Bar Approved by Planning Commission

A permanent home base for Sac Brew Bike was approved by city planners last week.

The bar and building with space for storage of up to four bike buses, is planned for 1519 19th Street.

Hear are some of the conditions of the permit, according to Planning Commission documents:

  • The sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises is strictly prohibited.
  • No distilled spirits shall be sold.
  • Alcohol sales are limited to normal store hours between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • No coin operated games or video machines shall be allowed on the premises.

I understand all the restrictions except for the video game prohibition. What do the police have against a good game of Ms. Pac Man?

Anyway, the proposal did draw the ire of some neighbors before it was passed unanimously, reports Doug Johnson on FOX 40.

At Thursday night’s planning meeting, neighbors complained the party bikes are already too loud. Hall is disappointed the planning commissioned allowed the tasting room, feeling customers will only get louder earlier on their tour.

“The commission pretty much addressed the fact that that’s not their job,” Hall told FOX40.

Read the entire story on FOX 40.

For the civic minded among you, the video of the relatively lenghty Planning Commission hearing is available below.

More News:

Downtown Plaza cinnamon roll shop getting new location - After 28 years of ooey, gooey sweetness, Spinners bakery is leaving Sacramento's Downtown Plaza at the end of June. But its popular cinnamon rolls aren't dying. Owners Larry Taing and Sandy Taing plan to open a Spinners location inside the 76 gas station they own at 1400 Sutterville Road in Land Park. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Pre-Flight Lounge, Homeless No Longer - PBR fans, take note: Pre-Flite Lounge, downtown’s favorite dive bar, is back after a brief closure, and some argue it’s better than ever. The faux-wood paneling and super-cushy lounge chairs may be gone, but the new spot boasts a longer bar and some of the same kitsch that gave the original location much of its character. Catherine Warmerdam in Sac Mag.

What Broderick owners are planning - Chris Jarosz and Matt Chong have a collective business name, and it's not "the Broderick guys." Their restaurant group, which includes multiple local eateries, officially is called Working Class Heroes. "We come from very modest beginnings," Jarosz said. "We feel like we've always been the underdog." Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Seven sweet and savory food festivals to attend this season - From peaches to tacos, we’ve got the best of the fests for the region’s summertime food celebrations. Here are seven great ways to partake in the abundance of the Golden State this season. Tori Masucci Cummins and Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sac Brew Bike Bar Approved by Planning Commission" »

Dining News: New 21st St. Shoki Ramen House Location to Open in 2 to 4 Weeks


Shoki Ramen House may open its new location on 21st St. in just two weeks, the restaurant's Kathy Ueyama told Cowtown Eats in a Monday morning phone interview, but it could take as long as a month.

Kathy, wife of Shoki's owner and chef Yasushi Ueyama, is a school teacher full time and is pushing to get the restaurant open in two weeks so she can assist with the opening during her spring break.

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open at the new Trails location in the first week of February. Kathy explained that they spent January cleaning the previous 24th Street location to return it to the owner, and later visiting family added delays. They started working on the new 21st street in mid-February.

20141231_041801000_iOSPicture taken on their last day of business at Shoki's former 24th St. location.

As for the exterior of the building, they "don't plan on painting the outside," said Kathy, but do plan to do touch ups as necessary.

The couple are still also working to get their liquor license squared away.

The Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson also reports that Shoki plans on adding Ruhstaller Beer on draft at both their R Street and 21st Street locations.

When it opens, Shoki Ramen House will be located at 2530 21st St., and can be found online at

More News:

Two upcoming Sacramento restaurants are hiring - The hiring process is underway at Empress Tavern and Iron Horse Tavern, two anticipated additions to the Sacramento restaurant scene. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Business partners consider board game cafe in midtown - If you're a gamer who got excited when Save Point Tavern signed a lease, and got just as giddy when Coin-Op Game Room announced its time frame for opening, get ready to gain a new level of euphoria. A third gamer-related venue is considering entering the Sacramento region. Local business partners David Gomez and Nuray Singh are gauging public interest in a board game cafe they'd like to open in midtown Sacramento. They've posted a public survey to help fine-tune their business plan. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Everything you need to know about Sac’s new Cambodian restaurant - There’s a new Cambodian restaurant open in Sacramento. Or, maybe, it’s opening soon. It’s called Taste of Angkor, it’s located at 4566 Mack Road, and it still had a “coming soon” sign draped above the door when we went on Saturday night. We talked to the owner on the phone, and it’s the family’s first restaurant. The grand opening, according to a waiter we talked to on Saturday night, is tentatively set for Friday, March 20. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Soup's On - Soothing, filling and often cheap, soup is always a hot Dollar-Wise topic, one we’ve dipped our ladle into several times through the years. This time, the challenge was to avoid those I’ve previously written about—anything from much-revered La Bonne Soupe, for instance, or Star Ginger’s spectacular spicy Thai chicken soup (a personal favorite)—and find a few new ones. I didn’t include pho, and I limited my selections to bowls* (not cups) for $5 and under. Here’s the lowdown. Featuring Cafe Bernardo, Mirabelle Cafe, Muntean's Soups, Petra Greek & Taj Oven. Cathy Cassinos-Carr in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: Iron Horse Tavern Coming to R & 15th in April 2015

Iron horse tavern

Iron Horse Tavern, by the team that brought Sacramento Mix Downtown and Cafeteria 15L, will open in April 2015, reports S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Mag.

The Iron Horse Tavern, set to open next April at the intersection of 15th and R streets, is the latest bar and restaurant project to imprint a spirit of urbane sophistication on the revived former railway stretch south of midtown. Named after the locomotives that once rumbled down R Street, Iron Horse features a style that interweaves the area’s industrial heritage with sleek international touches...

Iron Horse’s glass doors, meanwhile, will open onto the surrounding patio, where guests can dine and drink alfresco. Chef Christian Palmos of Cafeteria 15L—a downtown sister eatery in the Wong family of restaurants—will oversee the menu at Iron Horse as well. (Wong demurs when asked about planned dishes, opting to describe the cuisine as “creative American—maybe American with a twist.”)

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.


You can also keep up with new developments by following Iron Horse Tavern online at, which is also the source of the photo above.

More News:

Cafeteria 15L: Good management trickles down to the plate for delicious meal - I recently went to Cafeteria 15L and had an excellent meal. The food was delicious and fairly priced, the service was conscientious and friendly, and the casual, modern space buzzed with energy. My friends and I had a near perfect evening and talked of visiting again soon...But it did get better the next day, when I spoke with executive sous chef Katrina Mattia. The enthusiasm this employee had for her company was infectious, refreshing, and made the meal, in retrospect, an even happier memory. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

10 area restaurants to plan a last-minute Thanksgiving feast - If you and yours are still sorting out your Thanksgiving destination or facing some unexpected changes to your original plans, fear not: Here are 10 local spots that will be serving up their own specialties for holiday diners this Thursday. (Just be sure to inquire soon about reservations—spots are filling up quickly!) Alex Hernandez in Sactown Mag.

Feast Q&A: Jason Poole, of Sacramento’s Hyatt Regency, on serving Thanksgiving - One such holiday-dinner destination is the 26-year-old Hyatt Regency, where executive chef Jason Poole and his staff are planning on a few people dropping by for a meal. Poole was one of the major coordinators of the Tower Bridge Gala Dinner, the culmination of Farm-to-Fork Celebration in September. The Hyatt’s usual brunch menu has been expanded for Thanksgiving to 70-plus items to be served at eight stations at Dawson’s, Vines and Amourath lounge. The price is $55 general, $28 children ages 5 to 12, free for 5 and younger. Seatings will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at 1209 L St. Reservations: (916) 443-1234 or We caught up with Poole on Monday. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

New Oak Park Brewing opens, draws crowds, then scrambles to find new chef - The owners estimate that upwards of 1,200 people attended the preview opening Saturday. It was a huge coup for the brewery and for the Oak Park neighborhood, which has been undergoing a high-profile renewal in recent years....The head chef, Christopher Davis-Murai, the day before the official opening abruptly announced he was bailing out. That left the folks at Oak Park Brewing to deal with more than their share of new-business adjustments mere hours before customers were going to start showing up. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

New craft brewery coming to Rancho Cordova - A new craft brewery in Rancho Cordova will have the atmosphere of an old mining town, according to its owner. Mike Ryan plans to open Argonaut Brewing Co. by June 2015. The brewery will fill approximately 5,000 square feet at 11366 Monier Park Place. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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