University of Beer

Dining News: Trail's Restaurant Sold, to Remain a Restaurant


Trail's Restaurant at 21st and Broadway and the land it sits on has been sold, and the new owners say they intend to keep it a restaurant, reports Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

The restaurant and its property went up for sale in the spring for $500,000. Cole Miller, the real estate broker for the restaurant, says a prospective buyer has been found. The space is expected to remain a restaurant, and is currently in a “soft escrow” phase. More details about the buyer and future plans will be revealed, perhaps by next week, as the transaction moves along.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Earlier this week, the owners announced they would close Trail's sometime in September via Reddit.

More News:

University of Beer a fine place to learn about brew, but needs kinks worked out - University of Beer has promise but needs work. The bar and restaurant opened in late July on 16th Street in midtown, and is still working out its kinks. My experience there was a mix of ups and downs, which ultimately left me feeling like I may wait a while to return. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

Cool down with a trio of warm-weather cocktails at Shady Lady - With the weather heating up and Midtown Cocktail Week in full swing, cool down with a new iced drink from Shady Lady Saloon, which was recently named one of the 25 best bars in America by Esquire. The bar makes a splash with these three new summer sippers. Jessica Rine in Sactown Magazine.

New Seafood Eatery in the Works for Natomas - Work on a new restaurant is under way in Natomas. Co-owner Vincent Dang said he is hopeful Asian N’ Cajun will open as soon as late September or October. On Natomas Buzz.

SusieCakes plans to open bakery at Pavilions - A Southern California company thinks people in the Sacramento region still have an appetite for new bakeries. SusieCakes will open its first Sacramento region bakery early next year, according to Jessica Zuk, marketing manager for the company. It will be located in Arden-Arcade's Pavilions shopping center, Zuk said. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Roseville businessman hopes to write comeback story with ASR Restaurant - Longtime Roseville resident Harwinder Bisla, the man who built Bisla’s sports bar near Sacramento State, is investing $3 million to build the upscale ASR Restaurant & Lounge in Roseville. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Trail's Restaurant Sold, to Remain a Restaurant" »

Dining News: The Complicated Birth of Fahrenheit 250


Like many restaurants, going from inception to launch is never easy. But from the sounds of this long-ish profile of the restaurant in Comstocks Mag (that I've had open for weeks on my computer, but not read until now), the origin story of Fahrenheit 250 makes me respect the work they've gone through to open the restaurant even more.

First, a snippet from the profile by Douglas Curley in Comstocks Mag.

The past two years have been remarkably unpredictable for long-time Sacramento chef Jacob Carriker. In 2012 he went from overseeing a kitchen to managing an entire sports bar and nightclub. He participated in the sale of that establishment to buyers with an entirely different vision for the property, and he suffered the shock and anguish of learning that the previous owner, his former boss, had taken his own life. And it all took place in one chapter of the story of an eatery formerly known as Bisla’s...

The original idea was to form a multi-location restaurant partnership with Bob Bisla. His death changed everything...

For his part, Carriker knew a thing or two about kitchens and menus. He began his restaurant career at Club Pheasant in West Sacramento at the age of 15. He had stints as a cook and head chef at Fulton’s Prime Rib in Old Sacramento, the former Bridges on the River and Paesano’s in midtown. After several months of weekly menu presentations to Sardo and Lettini, Carriker made his recommendation.

“Since we had such a small kitchen and ultimately a very large restaurant, I suggested barbecue,” he says.

Read the entire story in Comstocks Mag.

There was also a recent story about Fahrenheit 250 that focuses on the interior design of the place, by Amy Serna in Submerge Mag.

The atmosphere brings a comfortable yet upscale barbecue dining experience. From the décor on the walls to the red mismatched chairs, the majority of the items inside Fahrenheit 250 were upcycled from Fringe, a Sacramento vintage and consignment store. While helping to decorate the interior of the restaurant, Monk kept three ideas very close in mind: “cool, comfortable and classy.”

The walls are lined with various wood panels originally from an old barn in Auburn, the red chairs are tucked into wooden tables that are topped with mason jars for water, the bar back and silverware “cabinet” is an old printing press. There are vintage benches from Harlow’s and large pieces of a metal windmill that hang on a few walls. The décor makes it feel as if you were eating in someone’s old farm house, making it welcoming and cozy.

Read the entire story in Submerge Mag.

In the Comstocks Mag piece, Chef Carriker says it took him about two months to get used to the cooker. I've eaten there twice - once as they opened, and they were good then, but again during the NBA playoffs, probably in mid-May. It was much better. It was clear that they were learning the ins and outs of the smoker and the meat was even more tender and flavorful. I definitely plan to return to get more BBQ.

More News:

Sactown Wings Event - Love hot wings and ice cold beer? Then SacTown Wings is THE event for you! Held August 23 from 2-7PM in Fremont Park, this festival is the first of its kind in Sacramento and will feature not one, not two, but six Sacramento-based hot wing vendors. Rachel Smith on Girls on the Grid.

University of Beer opens in midtown and ups competition - But what about beer bars (and some restaurants that specialize in beer)? When do we reach overkill? This comes into focus more than ever with the recent opening of University of Beer on 16th Street (there is another location in Davis). This sparkling brew pub/sports bar has 100 beers on tap. Beer snobs will scoff and say that’s the carpet-bomb approach to beer. But it looks like University of Beer intends to be a serious player. I visited during its first week and enjoyed a very nice Petrus aged pale ale in a tulip glass. The bar was loaded with TVs and the acoustics were terrible – LowBrau can no longer hold its head in shame as the noisiest, echo-chamber beer joint on the grid. The crowd was also very young. (The doorman called me “sir,” which made me feel entirely non-hipster. Whatevs.) Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Federalist’s funding approach as unique as its shipping-container construction - Federalist Public House will also incorporate Leapset, an app and restaurant operation system from Sysco, to manage ordering and customer flow. Among the features: Once an order is placed at the counter, customers will receive a code that enables them to place additional food and drink orders without having to leave their seats. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: The Complicated Birth of Fahrenheit 250" »

Dining News: Now Open - The University of Beer


University of Beer's midtown location will hold its grand opening on Wednesday, June 22.

The restaurant and bar, whose first location was in Davis, held its soft opening on Tuesday night.

I signed up for their e-mail list off their Facebook page and snagged an invite. They were also letting people who showed up off the street into the restaurant.

After grabbing a round of beer there with a drinking companion, I can tell this place will be very successful. It has a very modern vibe, like a smaller, more neighborhood version of Firestone. It'll be a great sports bar. If they were open during the World Cup, soccer fans and alcoholics others who like to day drink would have been lined up outside the door. I can't wait to watch football on its more than half dozen screens later this year. They have seating for 60 or so inside with another approximately 25 seats on the patio.


University of Beer features an extensive beer list and a modest food menu. With 100 beers on tap, they decided the best way to list all the beers were on a half dozen flat screen TVs on a rotating basis. You can also use your smart phone to check the list online. Honestly, it does the job, but is a little clunky.

The restaurant is bar/counter service, with beer and food orders handled at two registers to the far left when you enter the bar. Drinks, included two free tastings, are provided immediately, and food is delivered to your table. Unfortunately, during the soft opening, not all the beers were available and the prices weren't listed yet. I'm sure they'll fix these items as they get situated.


I had passed by the location in recent weeks and while the physical space looked ready, its opening was delayed by red tape relating to its liquor license. They received their liquor license on Tuesday and opened on Tuesday night.

In addition to University of Beer's two locations, the family that owns the restaurant also owns Ket Mo Ree, a Thai restaurant in Davis. Their bar menu shows many Thai influences. While I love Thai food, I'm not sure their limited menu will be sufficient as the restaurant matures. I hope they continue to expand their menu as they grow into the space.

University of Beer can be found at 1510 16th St. and can be found online at

More News:

VIDEO: Ettore’s Bakery shows off trendy doughnut - Ettore Ravazzolo from Ettore’s European Bakery and Restaurant shows us how he makes a “dougnetto,” a doughnut made with croissant dough. Mae Fesai on KCRA.

VIDEO: Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf - Adam Pechal of Pour House whips up for us a bacon-wrapped meatloaf. Eric Rucker on FOX 40.

VIDEO: Check This Out - Lemon Grass and Star Ginger foods are now available in your grocery’s freezer and Courtney Dempsey couldn’t be more excited. On Good Day Sac.

Continue reading "Dining News: Now Open - The University of Beer" »

Dining News: University of Beer Opening in Late May or Early June


University of Beer, a tap house that will feature 100 beers on tap, will open in the next several weeks, reports Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

“We should be having our grand opening later this month or in early June,” said Jennifer Meyer, who works with the tap house, in an email. “Currently, we are finishing up the construction and then we will just be adding in the rest of the details and getting the final touches perfected...”

“The new Sacramento location will be strong due to the midtown location, the bigger space, and the large fan base that has been already established at the Davis location,” she said.

Read the entire story in the Sac Biz Journal.

Cowtown Eats first reported the arrival of the Davis-based restaurant in January.

The restaurant is owned by the same family that owns KetMoRee, a Thai restaurant in Davis, although different siblings run the different ventures.

More News:

Discussion: The Best Pizza in Sacramento - Furthermore, who says we don’t have amazing Pizza right here in Sac? Well actually, this guy does. Yes, the owner of a new Pizza place, “Trick Pony” – set to open this month in Midtown-hurt our hearts a bit when he said that our town is lacking when it comes to really good Pizza. Eek! We have to respectfully (but like, fully) disagree with that. While we are super excited for his new pizza spot-and will likely be first in line when they open- we can say with complete confidence that Sactown is hardly MIA when it comes to amazing Pizza. (But there is definitely room for more places and we welcome all of them! #NOM) If a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia can win the world’s top margherita pizza, (WTF?) then surely the notion that good pizza only comes from Chicago, Italy, San Francisco, et al. is complete bull. IMG_0414 Ok, enough of the italicized intro. Below, we present to you a list of our favorite existing Pizza joints that you can enjoy right here in Sactown. On Girls on the Grid.

Try It: LowBrau's Poolside - Feeling parched? Dive into LowBrau’s Poolside. This pinkly pleasing house cocktail is a boozy version of limeade, prepared with gin, Luxardo Maraschino (a sour cherry liqueur) and a dash of fresh citrus juice and bitters. The vivacious, brightly flavored tipple is garnished with a deftly swirled lemon peel and a tuft of mint (mix them into the Poolside for extra flavor). Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

On Flavorful Food and Spicy Writing - Overall it was a phoenix-like second trip to Mother, almost every dish a beautiful presentation that held its own in the flavor department. The skill in presentation, preparation, and recipe manipulation showed through. It felt like the consistency from dish to dish was there, but one more return trip in the future might seal the deal on that one. Sac Eats on The Sac Rag.

Continue reading "Dining News: University of Beer Opening in Late May or Early June" »

Dining News - Now Open: Block Butcher Bar


Monday will be Block Butcher Bar's first official day open for business.

The restaurant is by the owners of and adjacent to LowBrau at 20th & Capitol Streets. Instead of trying to distill the concept myself, I'll let Chef Michael Touhy do it in his own words, via his blog.

The menu for block is very "Pork Centric". Artisan Salumi from some of the very best producers in the US, such as La Quercia, Olli, Fra' Mani, Olympic Provisions and Salumeria Biellese. More traditional offerings of Prosciutto di Parma, San Danielle, Jamon Serrano & Iberico round out the selection. Artisan & Farmstead Cheese fit into the mix featuring mostly domestics such as North Valley Farms, Jasper Hill, Rogue River, Pedrozo, Vermont Creamery and more, along with a scattering of Europeans in the mix.

Perhaps one of the most interesting thoughts about the whole concept of Block from a culinary perspective is, there is no real hot kitchen or cooking aparatus. We have a sandwich press and two immersion circulators, 2 slicers and, that's it! Hence the way the menu is layed out between items that are; pickled, cured, fermented & marinated. For me, this is very unique. Having cooked with Wood-burning grills, rotisseries & ovens, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with most commercial kitchens, it forces you to think differently, and stretch your boundaries...

The Bar & Cocktail program has been curated by Bar Manager Dave Steinberg & General Manager Patrick Ramos. Both have been running the show at LowBrau, and have created a brilliant selection of Scotch, Bourbon, & Rye. Of course some select gins, tequilla's and other spirits have a place, the emphasis is clearly on Brown Spirits. We have a well orchestrated and focused Craft Beer selection, Craft Cocktails and a small smart Wine List all designed to complement the menu.

Read his entire post here.

I was tipped off on Friday evening by a loyal reader that Friday night was a soft opening for the place and was able to check it out. I'll post my thoughts about the new restaurant on Monday.

Sactown Mag's S.T. Vanairsdale has a little on the tic toc of how Block Butcher Bar came to be.

The demonstration space has been in the works since before even LowBrau opened in January 2013 in the space formerly occupied by the restaurant and bar Lounge on 20. (Even the cleavers dotting the back of LowBrau’s bar foreshadowed the more intensive developments to come.) The partners were using the vacant 1,100-square-foot space next door for kegs and storage when, last spring, their landlords informed them that they planned to put it on the market.

Later in 2013, Hargis says, word that a national chain had expressed interest in the vacancy “lit a fire under our butts” to fast-track a business plan and rough look for Block. Hargis, who coordinated LowBrau’s design and has a background in architecture, drew the original conceptual sketch on a bar napkin.

Once the landlords signed off, Hargis and Nutting took the plans for Block to their LowBrau investors, who looked at the plans and doubled down on the new venture. “We thought we had something that would really complement what we were doing at Lowbrau,” Nutting explains. “And we decided, instead of doing LowBrau Part Two, to do another brand that really complements what we were hoping to present.”

Read the entire post in Sactown Mag.

Over the weekend, Andrew Blaskovich, owner of food truck Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen tweeted his thoughts about the new restaurant.

Keep up with Block Butcher Bar on Facebook at

More News:

Hot pork - The news came when I was notified via tweet last month: Chando’s Tacos is now serving cochinita pibil tacos. Cochinita pibil is a slow-roasted pork dish of Mayan origin that's traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in the ground—sort of like Hawaii's kalua pig. Jonathan  Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Insight Coffee Roasters plans more stores - A Sacramento coffee company is eyeing expansion, beginning with a Pavilions location expected to open by the end of March. Insight Coffee Roasters will bring a 1,400-square-foot store to the Sacramento shopping center. It’s the first of three new locations the coffee company is planning. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

New food handling law causes an uproar in the restaurant industry - After years of not being required to wear food safety gloves or use tongs, California decided it is now unsanitary for bartenders to touch the lime, lemon or orange slice garnishing many alcoholic beverages. “I wash my hands so many times,”said Elliott Ames, a bartender at Vanguard on 1415 L Street. “I do not have to wear gloves we use tongs and it is not that big of a deal.” Kelly Abercrombie in the Sac State Hornet.

Legado de Ravel leasing faster than expected - University of Beer, which already has an outlet in Davis, was originally supposed to open next month but will miss that target, according to an employee at the Davis location. Ben van der Meer in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News - Now Open: Block Butcher Bar " »

Dining News: University of Beer to Open at 16th & O Streets


University of Beer, a Davis-based tap house, is opening its second location at the Legado de Ravel building on 16th Street.

The restaurant expects to be open in about two months, said Ember, who answered the phone at the Davis location on Wednesday.

The restaurant will serve 88 beers (up from approximately 60 at its first location) and will have a full kitchen. The restaurant is owned by the same family that owns KetMoRee, a Thai restaurant in Davis, although different siblings run the different ventures.

University of Beer first launched in Davis approximately a year ago.

More News:

Savoring 10 great places to grab lunch in ’13 - The checks have been paid and the tables cleared as our adventures in casual dining close for 2013. For dessert, we’re serving this subjective list of the 10 places my lunch pals and I liked most this year, in order of preference. Featuring 36 Handles (El Dorado Hills), Tori's Place (Del Paso Heights), Saffron Grill (Folsom), Krush Burger & others. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Try It: Mama Kim’s King Crab and Spinach Benedict - Feeling adventurous? Mama Kim Eats on Del Paso Boulevard offers a fabulous Benedict on its brunch menu that features big chunks of King crab and silky sautéed spinach atop a crumbly cheddar-chive biscuit, slathered with spicy tomato hollandaise sauce. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: University of Beer to Open at 16th & O Streets" »