Dining News: Why Toby Keith's I Love This Bar Closed

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in Folsom closed over New Year's, and the parent company has explained why it closed - sort of.

"The company has decided to tactically close locations in Houston, Folsom, Calif. and Newport News, Va. to evaluate and explore the marketplace for more strategic locations," said Boomtown Entertainment, in a larger press release about new Toby Keith restaurant locations.

To read between the lines, the implication is that continued operation of the Folsom wouldn't be "strategic," or probably profitable enough.

Click here to read the entire press release.

KCRA's Richard Sharp has a little more on what comes next for the location in the video above. (Hint - it's not going to be a restaurant.

H/T to the Sac Biz Journal's Sonya Sorich for spotting the press release.

More News:

The Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Year in Review: Five Best Finds of 2014 - It’s become a December Dollar-Wise tradition to look back at the past year’s finds and pick my top five. How can I choose just five? That, my friends, is always the question. Here’s how I do it: Instead of rereading previous columns, I set loose the Ouija board in my brain and ask it to point me in the right direction. In other words, I let my subconscious do the talking. Here’s what it came up with. Cathy Cassinos-Carr in Sac Mag.

New coffee shop opens in downtown Sacramento - Coffee drinkers have a new option in downtown Sacramento. Grace Coffee Roasters opened this week inside Esquire Plaza at 1215 K St. City of Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis owns the business, which fills 900 square feet and serves a variety of coffee beverages and an assortment of pastries. Davis hopes to eventually expand the food menu to include sandwiches, salads and wraps. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Owner/tenant dispute in Old Sacramento could be sign of future - A building owner in Old Sacramento is facing a civil complaint from one of his tenants, who contends a variety of offenses in a bid to force his business out. Ram Gopal and Ravinder Kaur, who own and operate Annabelle's Pizza & Pasta, said in the complaint that building owner Nissim Lanyadoo has removed signs for their business, performed demolition work that barred access and taken several other steps to harm them. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

CREAM Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches – Elk Grove Location Now Open - It sounds simple, but attention to quality ingredients has clearly put CREAM’s sandwiches on the map as one of the area’s most in-demand desserts. Don’t let the line out the door deter you, CREAM is definitely worth the wait. Gabrielle Goyette in Sac Foodies.

Restaurant hiring up, but has its hurdles - Before restaurant veteran Sai Wong opened his Japanese-style pub in midtown Sacramento in October, he spent lots of time interviewing streams of prospective employees in an effort to get the just-right team for his newest venture. Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: When Chef Tuohy Plans to Leave LowBrau, Block Butcher Bar


With much fanfare, Lowbrau and Block Butcher Bar chef Michael Tuohy announced last week that he would be leading the food at the new downtown Kings arena.

The Kings told Cowtown Eats that the gig would be full time, and that he would leave his current positions behind at some point. Tuohy has now given the time line for his departure, in an interview with the Sac Bee's Chris Macias.

At what point will you leave Block and LowBrau to work on the arena full time?

That’s to be determined, but we’re talking about December. It’ll be soon. I’m helping to plan the transition. Those guys (Michael Hargis and Clay Nutting) are near and dear to my heart, and I want them to do well whether I’m here or not.

I’m hoping to have a LowBrau and Block at the arena. A mini version of LowBrau is completely built for a place like that. Block could really fit a need for the VIP program where people have a little more leg room.

Chef Tuohy also revealed which local restaurateur helped him get the job.

When did you get tapped to be part of the downtown arena project?

It was about six months ago. Randy Paragary called me and threw it out there. He had a relationship with Legends, and they asked to put together a short list of restaurateurs and operators. I was on that list. As the conversation evolved, I was asked if I thought of being the chef. And no, I hadn’t. The Legends people started asking as well.

There was a competitive bidding process, and it came down to the 11th hour. Ultimately, the Kings chose Legends and we were ecstatic to hear that. I said, “You still want me to do this, right?” I was holding them to the local sourcing thing. It’s the chance of a lifetime. To think about bringing this task to fruition is exciting.

There are a lot of other newsy tidbits in the Q and A, including his plans for sourcing local food for the arena. Read the entire interview in the Sac Bee.

* Photo via Tuohy's personal Web site, http://michaeltuohy.typepad.com/.

More News:

New Roma Bakery - Donut lovers take note—New Roma Bakery is still a must-stop shop for real brick-oven fresh baked donuts and other baked goods. I recently moved to midtown and was pleased to find that this long-time Sacramento classic is just around the corner from my apartment. I’ll be honest, at first I was thrilled and then grew very concerned—there’s no way my waistline will survive this. Sara Ortega in Sac Foodies.

White Labs, a leading supplier of beer yeasts, to open a retail shop in Davis - Several months ago, while enjoying a beer at Sudwerk Brewing’s terrific Dock Store tasting room, I met a friendly, unassuming man named Chris White. Brewing geeks will immediately recognize the name as one the great innovators of yeast for beer. His White Labs is headquartered in San Diego. Back then, White told me he was poised to open a branch of his business in Davis. Now that time has come. White Labs will hire two people to run the operation and start producing yeast there in November. The location will evolve into a place for yeast sales in the months ahead. For now, the company is selling some of its yeast cultures through the Dock Store. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Tapioca Express: Beyond the bubbles - After several visits, we had no better understanding of what makes a good boba drink or even what Shandong food really is, but none of that really matters. With its tasty Chinese snacks and rice plates, Boba Cafe is a great place to go beyond the bubble tea drink. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

The Homebrewer's Kitchen - The new vision of Costello and his partners includes being a regional brewery that distributes in Northern California and being a destination where people can walk in and try small batches. And, of course, if customers want to get more involved they can create their own beers. “It has the core elements of Brew It Up, but the vision and direction is not the same,” says Costello one early morning while setting up shop. “It’s 15 to 20 years of learning and making mistakes and doing things right and wrong.” Nur Kausar in Submerge Mag.

Three Sonic franchises in Sacramento area close - Three Sonic Drive-In restaurants in the Sacramento area have closed, the latest and perhaps final casualties of the business demise of Roseville developer Abe Alizadeh and his restaurant empire. Alizadeh’s attorney Mir Saied Kashani said Thursday that Alizadeh closed his Sonic restaurants in Roseville, Yuba City and Woodland at the request of the state Board of Equalization, which collects sales tax revenue. Dale Kasler in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Lowbrau, Block Butcher Bar Exec Chef to (Eventually) Leave Post, Join Kings Arena

Michael Tuohy, the current Executive Chef & Tastemaker of Lowbrau Sausage & Bierhall and Block Butcher Bar will leave that post to join the new arena as executive chef before Fall 2016. From their press release:

Chef Michael Tuohy will serve as the ESC’s executive chef. Tuohy is best known as the executive chef and tastemaker at LowBrau Sausage & Beer Hall and Block Butcher Bar. Prior, Tuohy was the founding executive chef of Grange Restaurant at the Citizen Hotel.

Advisory council comprised of Chef Tuohy and esteemed Sacramento restaurateurs Patrick Mulvaney, Randy Paragary and Randall Selland.

Click here for the entire press release.

I asked the Kings PR staff whether the job would be a full time job, or whether Chef Tuohy would be adding this to his current responsibilities. They told me that the job would be full time, and that it would start sometime before the downtown arena opens in Fall 2016.

I used Twitter's direct message function to ask Chef Tuohy about the timing of the change, and he didn't get back to me. We had previously communicated via Twitter's DM function for a previous post.

The Sacramento food community rushed to congratulate Chef Tuohy.

Last season, Sac Bee food critic Blair Anthony Robertson called the food at the current Kings arena the "Great Sleep Train Robbery, a heist without ski masks or weapons but with plenty of hostages - more than 17,000 enthusiastic, possibly dumbfounded fans eager to support the home team at nearly any cost."

I have no doubt that under Chef Tuohy, the new Kings arena will get its consessions in order.

More News:

Kings Arena goes 'farm-to-court' - The upcoming arena will—you guessed it—embrace the city’s farm-to-fork movement. Chef Michael Tuohy of Block Butcher Bar and LowBrau will lead as executive chef, with restaurateurs Patrick Mulvaney, Randy Paragary and Randall Selland in advisory roles. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

VIDEO: Farm to Fork now to be served at Sacramento Kings games - The Sacramento Kings announced their new concession plan that will feature locally raised food. Rob Malcolm on KCRA.

Audio: Farm To Arena To Fork - Michael Tuohy of LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar will serve as the arena's executive chef.  He says there is a lot of work to do in preparation for the  arena's opening night. "The time for me to come on board is really now to start laying the groundwork for designing the kitchen, finalizing the plans for that, laying out the operations for the type of restaurants that are going to be in there, and then really sourcing all the products, which is what I do. I'm local and I know all the local farms and where to find everything. That's what I do... besides cook." On Capitol Public Radio.

Cooking with Chef Rick Mahan on Oct. 30 - Mahan will be teaching a class through the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op on the evening of Oct. 30—offering attendees a unique opportunity to learn some valuable tips about the preparation of two of his most beloved menu items: risotto and gnocchi. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: Beer & Wine Now Served at Cultured & Cured


The Cultured & The Cured, a the cute cheese and cured meats shop in East Sac, got its liquor late last week, it announced on Twitter.

I stopped by on Sunday to see what they were doing with their new license.

Initially, the plan is to serve California wines and beer. The emphasis will be selling alcohol to be consumed on the premises, although they may have a small selection of wine for sale if you're looking to buy some vino to go with the bread and cheese you got to go.

While thier tap wasn't installed yet on Sunday, it should be installed mid-week. They plan to start by serving beer from North Coast Brewery.

Unfortunatly, you'll only be able to partake in alcohol inside the limited seating their store offers and not yet on the patio. One of the reasons is that the government requires that outdoor drinking be done in an enclosed space, and there's no fence surrouding their modest patio yet.

But even without outdoor drinking, it's a good addition to an already awesome little neighborhood store. I only wish they'd open one closer to where I live.

The Cultured & The Cured is located at 3644 J Street and can be found online at http://culturedandcured.com/.

More News:

Patrick Mulvaney Op Ed: Climate change affects restaurant menus today - I worry that extreme weather, like California’s drought, may become the new normal. Our agricultural partners face the greatest risks. Many businesses will experience climate change through limited supply and poor supply-chain quality...Now is the time to continue California’s clean-energy leadership tradition by implementing changes that encourage business leaders to use resources more efficiently. This will help prevent more extreme weather events and make our economy more resilient. Patrick Mulvaney in the Sac Bee.

LowBrau founders bringing new restaurant to West Sacramento riverfront - Michael Hargis, Clay Nutting and chef Michael Tuohy will bring their midtown magic to the riverfront, introducing what Nutting describes as an “urban farm kitchen and beer garden” concept to The Barn. The yet-to-be-named eatery is slated to open with The Barn, itself tentatively scheduled to make its debut as the centerpiece of The Bridge District development along the Sacramento River in spring 2015. S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Mag.

LowBrau owners plan West Sacramento eatery, beer garden - The owners of midtown’s LowBrau are eyeing a project that will bring a new set of food and drink options to West Sacramento’s riverfront. Restaurateurs Clay Nutting and Michael Hargis are overseeing an eatery and beer garden that will be embedded in The Barn, a $5.6 million outdoor venue developed by Fulcrum Property of Sacramento. The two are joined in the venture by Michael Tuohy, the executive chef of LowBrau and its sister restaurant, Block Butcher Bar. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Cool off with some of Ginger Elizabeth's intense ice cream offerings - You have three more chances to try a sundae at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in midtown before ice cream season ends. On the second Saturday of each month from May through October, visitors can order her unique sundaes, and tomorrow is this month’s special day. Saturday’s sundae has raw milk ice cream, salty Marcona almond sherbert, whipped Saint-André cheese, local plum compote, caramelized pie crust, and Chantilly cream. Need I say more? Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

Pizza, pizza - The fusion joint Chicago’s Pizza (4391 Gateway Park Boulevard, Suite 600 in Natomas) is also now open in the former Pannu’s Pizza Palace place. It serves up similar Indian-style pies, such as chicken tikka masala pizza, veggie curry pizza and even a Chicago deep-dish pizza that matches its name. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Pizzeria Urbano to Replace Luigi's Slice


Pizzeria Urbano will move into the MAARS building at J & 20th, replacing Luigi's Slice.

Sac Biz Journal's Mark Anderson has more on the business from an April story:

After a quick three-week remodel, the restaurant space will re-open as a new pizza-by-the-slice restaurant, with a new name and new owners. It will also have a larger menu of salads and paninis.

The name is still being worked on, said Carlos Ulloa, who, with his brother Jose Ulloa, also own Azul Mexican Food and Tequila Bar.

The new pizza place will take up the main room that is now Luigi’s as well as the side room that is a concert venue. Carlos Ulloa said he doesn’t know yet whether the new venue will include shows.

Read the entire story in Sac Biz Journal.

From the looks of the Pizzeria Urbano Facebook Page and the pictures of the staff training they're doing, they'll be open soon. Stay tuned for more details.

Pizzeria Urbano is located at 1050 20th St. and can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/PizzeriaUrbano.

* Picture via Pizzeria Urbano Facebook page.

More News:

Roxie Deli plans new location on R Street - The owners of Roxie Deli in East Sacramento are seeking a beer-and-wine license for a new location in the renovated building at 15th and R streets. The new restaurant, called Roxie Deli and Barbecue, will open later this year, though the owners have yet to set a date. They haven’t yet gotten access to the space to begin tenant improvements, said co-owner Chris Tannous. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

Launching Preservation takes perseverance - Poole imagined that his Preservation & Co. near the corner of 19th and Q streets would open in the summer of 2013. The business is fashioned as a production center for his award-winning Bloody Mary mix, along with a line of pickled vegetables and other preserved goods using Sacramento-grown ingredients. It’s a retail storefront and commercial kitchen that he foresees as a production hub for Sacramento’s culinary scene. But now, this: Poole’s just learned the walk-in cooler that cost him $13,000 might not be compliant with city code. Though he held a grand opening party on June 22 to show off the 3,000-square-foot space, it’s not officially open until the city Powers That Be issue all the proper permits. And with the walk-in issues, Poole’s not exactly sure when Preservation & Co. can open to the public – maybe by the end of July. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Troy Paski on his Hoppy Brewing Co. turning 20 - In a town full of burgeoning breweries, Sacramento’s Hoppy Brewing Co. is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Hoppy’s owner, Troy Paski, has had a front-row seat to the Capital City’s evolving (and now exploding) beer scene, and while the competition has increased, Paski sees the rising tide of craft beer as lifting all breweries. It also helps that Hoppy – as its name indicates – was ahead of the curve when it came to celebrating the ingredient that’s become inseparable from the now-famous “West Coast IPA” style. Will Wright in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: 'Traditional Dishes with New Attention to Detail & Flavor' at Strings Urban Kitchen


The reviews are starting to come in for Strings Urban Kitchen, the newish eatery at the base of Capitol Towers at 7th & O. First up, it's Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review. (Full Disclosure: Strings Urban Kitchen is currently an advertiser on Cowtown Eats.)

At dinner, Strings offers table service. We shared the Bruschetta Rustico, with chunky toasts layered with seasoned cheese, grape tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar. With less garlic than many versions, it’s a delicious and date-friendly choice...

It’s an old tradition that deserves renewed attention. The food at Strings is similar: traditional dishes with new attention to detail and flavor. It’s a nice addition to the downtown grid.

Read the entire article in Sac News & Review.

I've eaten there several times, including during their media preview and later for happy hour on my own dime. I've enjoyed it both times, due to its relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and solid food. On my next visit, I'll be checking out their retail wine store too.

Strings Urban Kitchen is located at 1500 7th Street, can be found online at StringsUrbanKitchen.com.

More News:

LowBrau brunch features signature sausage, drinks - What is less known about them is that they also serve brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays, their deck, shaded by a large tree canopy, is an excellent spot to people watch, sip a shandy, and nosh on sausage-centric brunch food. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

The claim: food trucks are as safe as restaurants - Food trucks are just as safe as restaurants — and, in many cases, safer. That's the conclusion of a new report by the Institute of Justice, a Virginia-based libertarian law firm. The group found that food trucks and carts don't receive any more citations for health-safety violations than restaurants do. In fact, in most of the cities studied, the trucks actually did better. Susannah Locke on Vox.com.

VIDEO: Ice Cream Shops Thrive in Record Heat - It should be no surprise that ice cream shops around the valley are very busy during this spell of triple-digit heat. Staff at Leatherby’s in Elk Grove say they go through 500 to 600 gallons of ice cream on a hot day. Multiply that by three locations, and that number ends up being around 1,500 gallons. Alisa Becerra on FOX 40.

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Dining News: Opening of Federalist Public House Delayed Until End of July


Federalist Public House & Beer Garden has delayed its targeted opening date from late Spring to the end of July, reports Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

Architect and future restaurant owner Marvin Maldonado said the city didn’t approve a plan to use a house at 2009 N St. for the restaurant, so now the focus has shifted to a 2,200-square-foot area behind it where shipping containers will be welded together for a dining area...

Maldonado said he’s expecting building permits from the city within the next week, and building the restaurant would take about six to eight weeks.

Read the entire article in Sac Biz Journal.

Separately, Federalist Public House posted an update on their Facebook Page.


Federalist Public House will be located at 2009 N Street, and can be found online at http://www.federalistpublichouse.com/.

* Photo from late January.

More News:

Lalo's Restaurant: A Decade Later - But, in the restaurant world, even a sure thing can erode into disappointment, which was recently my experience with Lalo’s Restaurant, a Mexican restaurant tucked in the corner of a mini mall near Sacramento City College...Perhaps they were having an off night. And while I may give them another opportunity to impress my palate as they had done all those years ago, I suppose nothing is a sure thing in this world...Perhaps they were having an off night. And while I may give them another opportunity to impress my palate as they had done all those years ago, I suppose nothing is a sure thing in this world. Lovelle Harris in Submerge Mag.

VIDEO: Save Mart Grape Escape - Paul Robins samples bratwurst with housemade mustard and pickles made by Chef Michael Touhy of Block Butcher Bar, and lets us know about the Save Mart Grape Escape. On FOX 40.

VIDEO: Wineries prepare for Sacramento Grape Escape - Dozens of wineries will be serving up their best wine at the 11th annual Grape Escape on Saturday. On KCRA.

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