Iron Steaks

Dining News: And the Winners of the Sac Burger Battle Are...


Congratulations to Pangaea Bier Cafe for winning the Judge's Choice award at Thursday night's Sac Burger Battle.

Coming in second for the judge's award was LowBrau, followed by Iron Grill.

Dawson's Restaurant & Steakhouse won the Sac Burger Battle People's Choice Awards, with the Culinerdy Cruzer and Pangaea Bier Cafe receiving a honorable mention.

The annual event, by Rodney Blackwell (also known as @BurgerJunkies on Twitter) to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, pits 15 or so local restaurants against each other to determine whose burger reigns supreme. (Read a profile of the King of Burgers in Sac News & Review.)

See the winners of the 2014, 2013 and 2012 Sac Burger Battles.

This was the second burger-related accolade won in the last week by Pangaea Bier Cafe. The Sac News & Review tasted 50 restaurant burgers and deemed these the best burgers:

  • The Pangaea Burger ($13) at Pangaea Bier Cafe
  • The Magpie Burger ($15) at Magpie Cafe
  • The Chef Burger ($13) at South

Read the entire story in Sac News & Review.

More News:

Cielito Lindo emerges from fire with good food - Cielito Lindo’s food approaches that of Mayahuel, Zocalo and Centro Cocina Mexicana – other local Mexican restaurants with ambitious menus – in quality, though its decor renders it visual country cousin to those upscale city slickers. Yet Cielito Lindo’s entree prices, running about $14-$25, are on par with, or higher than, those other restaurants' prices. One might consider Alarcon cheeky for charging those prices. But for my money, Cielito Lindo is the most interesting of the four restaurants. Within its mix of sophisticated flavors, busy colors and harsh lighting, one can see talent, trial, error, perseverance and a manifestation of one immigrant’s dream. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Please Wait to Be Seated: Dozens of new restaurants will be opening their doors in Sacramento in the coming months. But are there enough patrons to fill all those seats? - However — and this is a large however — many people, including Brown, worry that Sacramento could be roaring into a restaurant glut that could put pressure on current restaurants and those arriving soon. There’s no exact number (many owners haven’t announced plans or pulled permits), but the estimate from restaurant and real estate insiders is that 40 new restaurants will open in the city’s core in the next two years. Rick Kushman in Comstocks Mag

Tiny Mraz Brewing seems bound for greatness - One name I would not be surprised to see pop up at GABF 2015 in two weeks in Denver is Mike Mraz of Mraz Brewing. He’s a skillful and creative brewer appreciated mostly by serious beer geeks, for now. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Another food gets its own celebration in Sacramento - Local restauranteurs are planning a multi-day "pizza extravaganza," according to event details posted on Facebook. The celebration, called Sliced, will be held Oct. 17 through Oct. 25. It's scheduled to include nightly specials, chef competitions, instructional sessions and a tour from Sac Brew Bike. So far, the list of participating restaurants includes Federalist Public House & Beer Garden, Hot Italian, Masullo, Chicago Fire, and Pizzeria Urbano. Others are expected to be announced later. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Feast Q&A: Sacramento’s Vegan Chef Challenge in October - The fifth annual Vegan Chef Challenge is coming up, but if you’re not a vegan, that doesn’t mean you’re left out. Anyone interested in healthy restaurant options, creative cooking ideas and, with any luck, the discovery of a new favorite dish, will find this monthlong concept more than a curiosity. Bethany Davis, a teacher who has been a vegan for going on five years, created the challenge to get chefs thinking about food just a little differently. The dozen or so restaurants participating next month will be announced soon. A vegan dish, by the way, means no meat or other animal products, including cheese, butter and eggs. If you’re looking for more details about the health benefits of plant-based eating, check out the Forks Over Knives website. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Now Open - Orchid Thai at Powerhouse 16

Orchid thai

Days after the opening of Insight Coffee Roasters' Fremont Cafe, Orchid Thai is now soft open at the new complex at 16th & P.

Orchid Thai plans to have their grand opening on Sunday, May 24. According to their Facebook page, they've been open to the public since Wednesday, May 13.

When I walked by Sunday evening and poked my head in, it looked like the restaurant construction was complete and the establishment was fully functional, with a large bar featuring 10 beers on tap.

One of the diners, who had recently moved into the neighborhood, raved about the cuisine and said it compared favorably to Thai Canteen, located just a block away. (She did note that Thai Canteen is fast casual and Orchid Thai is more of a sit down establishment, so it may be an unfair comparison.)

I stopped by after dinner, so I wasn't able to give the place a try, but I hope to this weekend.

Orchid Thai describes itself on its Facebook Page as "Downtown's newest Thai restaurant that not only serves delicious traditional Thai cuisine but also some of the most creative craft cocktails."

This is the second Orchid Thai location, with the first being in Lincoln.

The Downtown Orchid Thai is located at 1609 16th St., and can be found online at

More News:

Here's when midtown Noodles & Co. will open - More carbohydrates are coming to midtown Sacramento. Noodles & Co. will open its restaurant in the Legado de Ravel mixed-use project on May 18, the Colorado-based company announced. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Drug, alcohol abuse common in restaurant industry - But the recent survey takes on local significance with John Puckett. He’s worked in Sacramento-area restaurants since the age of 12 and came to a point where he had to face his substance abuse issues. Puckett’s now 49, a cook at Oak Park Brewery, says he’s nearly 14 years sober. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Monk’s Cellar: Almost a monk's dream - So it comes down to this: Quality beer (the brewmasters have experience at Sacramento Brewing Co., Lodi Beer Co. and Sacramento Brewing Services) and a dark and beautiful ambiance (lots of brick and wood) are the best reason to visit Monk’s Cellar. Four stars for the brew and ambiance, three for the food. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Big Change Coming to The Kitchen

SellandRandall Selland, patriarch of the Selland Family, at The Kitchen in Oct. 2014.

Six months after naming a new executive chef, The Kitchen is undergoing another a big change - a move to Broadway, they announced late Friday afternoon. Here's more from their press release:

There’s a new redevelopment project in the works that includes a group of local Sacramento visionaries working together to redevelop an existing site on Broadway. The ownership group includes the following partners: John Nunan, President of Unger Construction Company; Scott Maxwell, Vice President of Unger Construction Company; the Selland Family of Selland Family Restaurants; Brian Silva and Jeffery Stowell, Principles of Silva Stowell Architects.

“We think it’s one of the best streets in Sacramento and that’s why we are taking on 915 Broadway”, says Maxwell, “this project is an opportunity to be a catalyst to the transformation of Broadway”. “Sacramento City Council of District 4, Steve Hansen has been very supportive in this project”, adds Randall Selland.

The site will be the future home of Sacramento’s iconic restaurant The Kitchen in late 2016, owned by Randall Selland and his family. Silva Stowell Architects will also be tenants at the redeveloped Broadway location, scheduled to move in by late 2015. The group is still carefully considering the tenant mix, but will possibly include other restaurants and professional office space.

The timing of the announcement was peculiar, though. If you work in PR, you know you generally dump bad news on Friday, and not announce a big change to your flagship operation. The timing implies that they were forced to announce before they wanted to. In fact, I heard very loud rumors on Thursday that something was going on with The Kitchen. Maybe another reporter was also on the trail.

This is undoubtedly good news for Downtown Sacramento and the Broadway corridor. It also speaks to the continued shift from Sacramento being a largely suburban city to one with a budding urban core. (See also, Kings moving from Natomas downtown, etc.)

More News:

Festival signals food trucks’ rising popularity in Sacramento - Lines were long at the eighth SactoMoFo food truck festival Saturday, in what may be the last time the event is held under the concrete canopy of the Capital City Freeway at Sixth and W streets. The festival continues to grow in popularity, with 15,000 patrons expected to sample the offerings this year, said festival founder and director Paul Somerhausen. Edward Ortiz in the Sac Bee

Wild and refined: Paper Plane, Block Butcher Bar - Aperol and lemon add a bit of fruit to finish. This concoction of both wild and refined flavors comes off surprisingly sweet and matches well with Block's menu of pickled veggies and cured meats. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Casa Garden gets new chef with exciting new menu ideas - The Casa Garden Restaurant recently hired a new Restaurant Manager who is bringing some new ideas to the Casa. Upon the retirement of Chef Joan Simmons, CC Curran assumed the Restaurant Manager mantle on Feb. 1...CC has worked at banquet-type of facilities before such as at the Del Paso Country Club. She has most recently worked serving food at a daycare center at a local community college. In Valley Community News.

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Dining News: Grange's Oliver Ridgeway is 'One of Sacramento's Most Skilled Chefs'


On the heels of their national exposure in Southwest Airline's in flight magazine, Grange Restaurant & Bar has received local kudos from their home town restaurant critic.

I’m now convinced that Ridgeway is one of Sacramento’s most skilled chefs and that the current three-star rating is no longer an accurate reflection of what Grange is all about.

Ridgeway’s food is beautiful but not derivative. It’s farm to fork without laziness or affectation. It’s colorful, loaded with flavor, bolstered by technique and thoughtfully realized. Adding to the challenge is that Grange is a hotel restaurant, meaning it doesn’t have the option of closing on Mondays to retool or forgoing lunch on the weekends for a breather. It’s seven days a week, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends...

When you add it all up – the chef, the setting, the staff, the bar program – you see a restaurant that is more Sacramento than it’s ever been.

Read Blair Anthony Robertson's entire review in the Sac Bee.

If you're looking for additional reviews of Grange, Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell raved about their power lunches in Sept. 2014 and about their breakfast sausages in Sept. 2013.

More News:

Iron Grill earns good review, then takes some heat - Most restaurants are elated when they get a positive review. It can be a revelation for a restaurant flying under the radar. It can mean validation for a place that has done all the little things to get better. It can also be a nightmare for restaurants that aren’t not quite ready for what can follow. That’s what happened to the folks at Iron Grill, a restaurant at 13th and Broadway that slowly but surely has improved over the years. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Assembly Music Hall managers to leave next month, venue's fate unknown - Once again, changes are coming to Sacramento’s live music scene and life on K Street. Eric Rushing and Bret Bair, owners of Ace of Spades and major players in local entertainment, are walking away from Assembly Music Hall at the end of November. The pair had been managing the venue, including booking its talent, since its opening in 2013. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Liquidology juice shop opening soon in East Sacramento - A local juice company that aims to help people get their recommended daily dose of fruits and vegetables will open its first retail store next week. Liquidology's grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 7. The business fills a 700-square-foot space at 4601 H St. in East Sacramento. Customers should expect organic cold-pressed juices, kombucha and healthy foods. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Another personal pizza company adds Sacramento-area locations - More quick-fired, personal pizzas are coming to the Sacramento region. Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, a Pasadena company that specializes in built-to-order personal pizzas, announced plans to open two new locations in the Sacramento region in 2015. One location will be at the University of California Davis at 212 F St. The other will be at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville at 1151 Galleria Blvd. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Iron Grill Gets Better With Age, Seasoning


Like a cast iron grill that's been properly cared for, Iron Grill (formerly known as Iron Steaks) across from Target on Broadway has hit its stride, says Sac Bee food critic Blair Anthony Robertson.

Slowly but surely, this eatery – stylish and casual – continues to improve...

Led by executive chef Keith Swiryn, the kitchen handled everything we ordered with aplomb, including a rib-eye special with blue cheese; surf and turf featuring wonderful lobster; crisp, golden-brown fried chicken; flavor-packed jambalaya with prawns, andouille sausage and free-range chicken; a simple yet stunningly delectable tempura green bean appetizer; and a thick and juicy “Battle Burger” topped with a slab of tender pork belly.

Even its wedge salad, a steakhouse staple that’s often awash in watery blandness, was a wonderful little dish, complete with thick and delicious cubes of house-cured bacon.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

You can also read Robertson's 2010 review of Iron Steaks here.

Iron Grill is on my way home from work, and I stop by occasionally for happy hour (which I've found pleasant). I've also enjoyed brunch and dinners there in the past, and will have to add this to the list of places to try again soon.

BTW: If you're looking to save a few bucks while trying out Iron Grill, they have a deal over at Living Social.

Iron Grill is located at Broadway and 13th St, and can be found online at

* Photo via Iron Grill's Facebook Page.

More News:

Living Legend: Frank Fat's Celebrates 75th Anniversary & Looks Toward the Future - The block of 8th and L, and downtown in general, has changed immensely over the decades. Businesses have come and gone, people have aged and moved and buildings have been torn down and rebuilt. Frank Fat’s restaurant, however, is a rare exception that has remained a piece of Sacramento history and mastered the changing tides of Downtown Sacramento for 75 years. Alia Cruz in Submerge Mag.

Firehouse Subs opening more Sacramento-area restaurants - Firehouse Subs plans to open restaurants in Roseville and Davis early next year. The company says it will likely open two other restaurants in undisclosed locations by the end of 2015. With all those sites, Firehouse Subs will have six restaurants in the Sacramento area. The sandwich shop entered the region in January with a Truxel Road location. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Wing Zone plans to enter Sacramento region - Wing Zone plans to open 10 to 15 locations in the Sacramento region over the next five years, according to Matt Friedman, the company's co-founder and CEO. The restaurant currently has no California locations. Friedman called Sacramento his "first choice in developing our first units in California." Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Hot, hot buns - Having just celebrated its five-year anniversary, the bakery seems to have picked up huge swarms of similar addicts over the years. On a recent Saturday, the pastry spot was abuzz with customers trying to get some of the shop's most popular doughnut-esque pastries. And for good reason: The cream-cheese-filled pastries I sampled were like a slice of heaven for a Chinese Jew such as myself. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Cold-pressed juice movement draws Sacramento health-seekers - The premise is simple: Plants naturally contain enzymes and nutrients that promote health in the human body. Cold-press advocates – if not all nutritionists – believe these “living” ingredients are regularly killed by the harsh pasteurizing and processing of the modern Western diet. Even putting vegetables through your home juicer, they say, will rob them of some of their nutrient load. Sammy Caiola in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Now Open - Goldfield Trading Post


Goldfield Trading Post opened its doors on Friday, a week after it initially said it would open due to "unforseen construction delays."


I paid the bar a visit on Saturday evening, and I found it off on the right foot. As I first walked in, I main bar area was straight ahead, with an empty room to the right with a stage. The waitress explained that that room would be used for live music.


My friends and I stopped by and enjoyed a couple cocktails each at $8 or $9 each. Over the weekend, they had yet to start serving food yet, but the full kitchen is scheduled to be open by Wednesday and be led by the team at Tank House just down the street.


I liked the atmosphere of the place. It's very laid back - a sort of Western version of Shady Lady. I'm not a huge fan of country music, but I do like it at bars since the genre is easier to enjoy while eating, drinking or catching up with friends.

When they get their food program started, I'll give the place another try and try to support local music in Sacramento.

Goldfield Trading Post (which replaced Hamburger Patties) is located at 17th & J streets, and can be found online at

More News:

Iron Update - Executive Chef Keith Swiryn and the chefs at Iron not only grill some of the best steaks in town, they also offer jambalaya, fried chicken, and pasta primavera. Numerous new entres to choose from. Iron Grill…they’re more than just steaks. Greg Brown in Valley Community News.

Domino's targets downtown Sacramento with takeout, delivery - Domino's Pizza Inc. is getting ready to open one of its pizza pick-up and delivery locations at 19th and J streets in Sacramento. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

Arden-Arcade business puts ice cream inside doughnuts - Imagine ice cream inside a doughnut. Before you form an opinion, consider this: Nutella is a topping option. You’re likely either confused or salivating, and the owners of The Parlor in Arden-Arcade hope it’s the latter. The business, which had its grand opening Saturday, specializes in ice cream puffs — ice cream sandwiches in which the “bun” is a doughnut. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining Deals: Iron Steaks, Revolution Wines


Who doesn't love half off at a neighborhood steakhouse? Well, vegans, I guess. But for everybody else, you can enjoy a deal at Iron Steaks, a solid neighborhood restaurant right next to Target on Broadway.

More Deals: