Get a sneak peek at the new Burgers & Brewhouse
The likely final installment in Burgers & Brew's mini-empire, a three-story brewery and restaurant with a rooftop bar, is expected to open in midtown within the next two weeks.
Burgers & Brewhouse is targeting a June 24 opening date at 1616 J St. next door to Goldfield Trading Post, co-owner Derar Zawaydeh said. The restaurant will also house Sacrament Brewing Co., Burgers & Brew's in-house beer-making division, which had previously done its brewing at Sudwerk facilities.
Patio seating out front leads into TV-plastered walls, dining tables and a large central bar with a stained glass ceiling similar to the blue-and-gold mural on the building's western facade. Towering brewing tanks poking up from the basement, a metallic kitchen backdrop and faux brick walls give the ground floor a semi-industrial feel.
Reclaimed wood tables and chairs line the basement brewery, which stays 10-15 degrees cooler than the ground floor. Head brewer Brendan Megowan and his staff will work on beers such as Sacrilegious pale ale, Where's My Glasses Hazy IPA and Doggy Pils — made with a rarely-used Barke Pilsner Malt — in plain sight of their customers.
"On a good day when they're brewing here, you can smell all the hops and the malt and everything else," Zawaydeh said. "Literally, you're drinking right out of a tank that you're sitting across from."
About 90 people can fit around a full rooftop bar, Zawaydeh said, and 300 can squeeze into the building's 12,000 total square feet of operating space. The roof is bordered by flames sheathed in transparent glass and has a fire pit near a small lounge area, plus a triangular skylight casting down onto the ground floor.
The first Burgers & Brew opened in Davis in 2007, and others have followed in midtown Sacramento, Chico, Sacramento International Airport and West Sacramento, joining Zawaydeh's Crepeville restaurants and El Toro Bravo. Like the West Sacramento restaurant that opened in December 2016, Burgers & Brewhouse will serve brunch on weekends, add pizzas and tacos to the standard burger-filled menu and possess a full liquor license.
Zawaydeh had hoped Burgers & Brewhouse would have Sacramento's first rooftop bar back when he and his brother Philippe Masoud began planning its construction in 2015. Construction delays and a split with the initial contractor delayed Burgers & Brewhouse's progression, however, and the Kimpton Sawyer opened in October 2017, forcing Zawaydeh to settle for having the first rooftop bar with no cover charge.
When Burgers and Brew first opened in 2007, it stood out for serving Delirium Tremens and Chimay in a landscape full of Budweiser. Sacramento's craft beer scene caught up to Zawaydeh and Megowan before they opened their own brewery, forcing them to put a higher emphasis on quality. A growler fill station greets customers as they walk through the door, but Sacrament Brewing Co. beers probably won't be sold outside the affiliated restaurants because Zawaydeh said he doesn't trust most distributors and re-sellers to keep it stored properly.
"If you have 100 taps, some of these beers like IPAs are going to sit there for two, three months. It's like, what are you tasting? You are killing the beer. I would never sell my beer in a place like that," Zawaydeh said. "For us, we keg it today and it's being served tomorrow. It's so fresh, and you can tell."
Some outside beers currently flowing through the taps at the Burgers and Brews will be discontinued, Zawaydeh said, and Burgers and Brewhouse will serve 16 of its own creations at a time as well as about six from other breweries.
The property at 1616 J St. has housed several businesses in recent years, including Trada's Asian Kitchen and Azukar sushi bar, and was most recently Purgatory Restaurant and Nightclub. A back area currently being used as storage will eventually be developed into four apartment units, a few offices and a small parking lot.
Burgers & Brewhouse's kitchen will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight during the week and until 2 or 3 a.m. on weekends. Weekend brunch will begin around 9 a.m. once service begins.
This could be Zawaydeh's last addition to the Sacramento area's culinary landscape, he said. With his own brewery and nine restaurants between Sacramento, Davis and Chico, his professional goals have pretty much been accomplished.
"This was the plan from when we opened Burgers and Brew (in 2007). This was the grand finale, and we're here," Zawaydeh said. "I'm tired now, so I'm done."
"But you never know. You get a good night's sleep and you get a good deal and it's like 'oh, okay, maybe just one more.'"
The Bee's Benjy Egel is launching a new effort to cover Sacramento's dining and beer scene. Please send tips and story ideas by email at email@example.com, on Twitter @BenjyEgel or by phone at (916) 321-1052.