Magnolia House Casino and its attached restaurant opened this week at 11275 Folsom Blvd., former site of the Sheepherders Inn, in Rancho Cordova.
With 8,500 square feet to work with between the restaurant and card room, owner Tom Sheridan said he isn't trying to compete with full-scale tribal casinos such as Red Hawk or Thunder Valley. He hopes games such as pai gow, baccarat and blackjack make Magnolia House appealing to people moving into eastern Sacramento County's new developments, including 10,000 homes being built south of Highway 50 in Folsom.
"What we’re really looking for is a spot for higher-end players to come and gamble without all the crowds," said Sheridan, an attorney at a Rancho Cordova law firm. "You want something comfortable where you can have a good cocktail, a decent meal and you don’t have to leave the table. We just feel like in that area, there's nothing to compete with that."
The restaurant portion, also operating under the Magnolia House name, is owned by former Fire Rock Grill partner Lucky Sahota and is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Sheepherders Inn steakhouse closed in 2004 after 30 years, and was replaced by the Sheepherders Grill in 2008 and Fire Rock Grill in 2014, which subsequently closed last year.
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Lunch and dinner menus have $10-14 sandwiches, pizzas and flatbreads as well as entrees such as herb-crusted salmon, jambalaya and chicken marsala for less than $17. Typical breakfast items such as pancakes, omelettes and breakfast burritos dominate the early-morning menu.
House cocktails such as a peach jalapeno margarita, raspberry cucumber gimlet and Sheepherders Smash (vodka, lemon juice, strawberries and basil) are $8 each.
California law allows gambling on card games in designated card rooms, which have slightly different rules than Indian casinos, including no craps, roulette or slots and being off-limits to people under 21.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BenjyEgel or by phone at (916) 321-1052.