An exclusive peek at Empress Tavern’s menu

If all goes to plan, the much anticipated opening of Empress Tavern will occur by the end of May. The restaurant, located in the basement level of the Crest Theatre, is the latest project from Mike Thiemann and the team behind Mother. But unlike its all-vegetarian sister restaurant on the street level next to the Crest, Empress Tavern is geared as a meat-centric spot in a subterranean environment.

Many of the restaurant’s pieces are in place, including its kitchen equipment and furnishings. The final major step will be completing the masonry to create brick arches and more, which will help set the eatery’s rustic tone. Chef/co-owner Mike Thiemann expects the brick work to take about 10 days once the job starts. (The above rendering shows what the finalized restaurant will look like).

Much of the food and beverage program has been finalized, including a gin-focused bar and sizable beer list that includes a “charity tap.” Proceeds from this local beer will be donated to an area charity, the first of which being Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Check The Bee’s Feast section soon for more on the Empress Tavern project. For now, here’s a sneak peek of the food menu. Note that prices are not yet included, but Thiemann says they will be “not the most expensive place on the block.”


Herb Roasted Marys Organic Chicken - roti potatoes, chimichuri, liver pate

Porchetta - kohl rabi slaw, pickles, cracklings

Smoked Prime Rib - horseradish, bone marrow bordelaise

Willie Bird Free Range Turkey - black mole or sage gravy (dark or light)

Saddle of Lamb - caul fat, piperade

Tandoori Spiced Goat - fresh tomato. raita

Turducken - port wine mushrooms, garlic toast

Bee Local Honey Roast Ham - pineapple, watercress

* Whole animal dinners with advanced notice


French Dip - Shaved from Rotisserie on house baked roll with appropriate jus

Prime Rib, Chicken, Turkey, Porchetta

Chicken Pot Pie

Gnocchi ala Romana with seasonal accompaniments

Grilled Salmon/Sturgeon - bearnaise

Empress Patty Melt - double thin American wagyu, pastrami, swiss, caramelized onion, Russian dressing

“Family Dinners” - priced based on 4 people (all served with 2 sides and family style salad bowl)

Rotisserie Blue Plate Special

Empress Hot Fried Chicken - Medium, Hot, or Extra Hot with pickles and white bread

Choucroute Garnie - Face, Belly, Leg and Links. Sour Cabbage, Potatoes, and Honey Mustard

Hay Smoked Cote De Beouf - 32 oz bone in Rib Eye, Marrow, Creamed Cipollini, Steak Fries, Dandelion

Smoked Short Rib - Collards, Lima Bean, Warm Potato Salad


Ale and Cheddar Soup

Steak Tartare - texas toast

Salad Lyonnaise - “bacon scotch egg”, lemon vinaigrette

Living Butter Lettuce Salad - seasonal vegetables, green goddess

Seasonal Chopped Salad- blue cheese vinaigrette

Bone Marrow and Escargot - parsley salad, garlic bread crumbs

-powers whiskey luge-

Rabbit and Foie Terrine

Fried Smelts

Coq au Vin Chicken Wings


Smoked Sturgeon Dip - fresh horseradish, potato chips

Empress Beef Jerky

Chicken Fried Lamb Sweetbreads - hot sauce

Potato Skins - smoked onion yogurt, chive

Beef Chicharrones

Grilled Chicken Hearts - chimichuri

Mustard Fried Trotters - egg salad, frisse, truffle vin


Whipped Potatoes with Turkey Gravy

Collard Greens, Ham Hock, Vinegar

Potato Dauphinoise

Black Eye Peas, Burnt Ends

Buttered Seasonal Vegetables

Steamed and Grilled Cabbage with Bacon Mustard

Wedge Potatoes - smoked salt

Grilled Ratatouille

Dessert Menu


Seasonal/ Weekly with accompanied fruit and house made ginger beer

Market Soufflé

accompanied with creme anglaise. Please order prior to receiving dinner .

Seasonal Fruit Pies

Served hot and table-side with accompanying ice cream.

Plated Desserts

THCO Chocolate semifreddo, Beet, Strawberry, Cherry, Parmesan/ Port ice cream

Carrot & White chocolate Panna Cotta, house made mascarpone, fennel, baking spice

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