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Allen Pierleoni / apierleoni

Breakfast sausage “corn dogs” come with a side of maple syrup for dipping, and fluffy scrambled eggs at breakfast at Fabian’s Italian Bistro in Fair Oaks.

In Fair Oaks, Dad’s Kitchen moves in, Fabian’s breakfast continues

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 - 9:50 am

Diners lost a lot when Maranello Bar & Kitchen in Fair Oaks closed two months ago, such as its imaginative Sunday breakfast-brunch.

In its place, Dad’s Kitchen opened Tuesday night, and we’ll be dropping by soon to take a look and write a “First Impressions” column. The new restaurant is at 8928 Sunset Ave; (916) 241-9365. It’s the sister of Dad’s Kitchen at 2968 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 447-3237,

Dad’s Kitchen specializes in “American-style comfort food,” with a menu of mac ‘n’ cheese, chili, meatloaf, a daily blue plate special and the like.

In contrast, former four-star Maranello chef Gabriel Glasier had constructed a menu of impressive but pricy entrees assembled from first-rate, locally sourced ingredients. In June, the menu went gastropub, with emphasis on bites, small plates, salads and pizzas. Plus, a second bar was added. At the time, co-owner Joe Hensler (with wife Gayle) said, “We're trying to appeal to people who don’t want to spend big bucks on entrees on weeknights.”

When Maranello closed in October, Joe Hensler commented, “Dad’s Kitchen is more casual, and that concept may work better in this location.” Maybe so.

Meanwhile, another fine Sunday breakfast-brunch is still served in Fair Oaks at Fabian’s Italian Bistro, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu shows the likes of frittata, an omelet with Bolognese sauce and risotto with eggs. What caught our attention, though, was the sausage corn dogs.

Forget about the greasy, overbreaded template with ballpark mustard found on the national fair circuit. These start with lightly spiced breakfast sausages dipped in a thin, slightly gritty cornmeal batter, then cooked to a non-oily crisp and served with maple syrup for dipping and a side of fluffy scrambled eggs ($9.95). They’re fun, but don’t mistake them for just a novelty.

Fabian’s Italian Bistro is at 1755 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks; (916) 536-9891, www.fabiansitalianbistro.

While on the subject of restaurants coming and going, Sacramento Bee business columnist Cathie Anderson reports that Zia’s artisanal gelato shop is leaving Placerville to relocate in El Dorado Hills. For details:

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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