By 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the chefs at Selland's Market Cafe were whipping up their third gigantic batch of bacon paella. With each paella pan generating 90 servings, the east Sacramento eatery was well on its way to dishing out 300 orders by the time business wrapped up at 5 p.m.
All of this pigging out was part of Bacon Fest Sacramento 2, which kicked off Jan. 20 at a variety of area restaurants and concludes today.
Along with showcasing bacon-related goodies and filling local bellies, the event has been a boon for local businesses.
According to Bacon Fest organizers, the "Kevin Bacon Tribute Night" at Old Ironsides on Friday, featuring bacon dishes and local bands playing songs from Kevin Bacon movies, reaped the nightclub's highest paid attendance ever.
The Bacon Fest specials Saturday at Shady Lady Saloon made for its busiest ever brunch, said co-owner Jason Boggs.
A chef's competition and bacon-flavored finale that's set for today at Mulvaney's B&L has long been sold out.
"It's been great for local businesses," said Josh Nelson, co-founder of the Selland Family of Restaurants, which operates Selland's Cafe Market. "The event has kind of taken a life of its own. Sacramento loves an event, and this is the perfect food."
Bacon has become more than just a beloved breakfast meat or filling for a BLT sandwich.
This bit of cured pork belly has sizzled through pop culture over the last few years, generating a Discovery channel show called "United States of Bacon" and inspiring numerous bacon festivals around the country.
Search on Google for the "Periodic Table of Awesoments" and you'll see bacon listed as the No. 1 element.
Bacon Fest Sacramento organizers have tapped locally into a tremendous appetite for the smoked pig meat.
The debut of Bacon Fest in 2012 was marked by food sellouts and some eateries, such as Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, posting their best-ever business day.
Brian Guido, a co-founder of Bacon Fest Sacramento, has enjoyed that same bacon fervor this year.
While last year's festival included just five venues, 35 local eateries participated this past week.
"It's been super busy," Guido said. "Supporting local businesses is one of our main concepts. Rather than having one festival in a big hall, it's about exposing people to restaurants where they can get a taste of Sacramento and come back at some time."
For more information, go to www.baconfestsac.com.
IF YOU GO
Bacon Fest Sacramento 2 wraps up today. Pig out at these official Bacon Fest brunches:
Bacon & Butter (1119 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 346-4445): This aptly named midtown restaurant will serve a special Bacon Fest menu starting at 9 a.m.
The Golden Bear (2326 K St., Sacramento; (916) 441-2242): The popular watering hole and eatery has a bacon-themed brunch starting at 10 a.m.
Shady Lady Saloon (1409 R St., Sacramento; (916) 231-9121): Dig in starting at 9 a.m.