Restaurant News & Reviews

More than 40 Sacramento restaurants opened since July. Here’s what to know about each

From hotly anticipated big-money projects around the city’s core to humble strip mall haunts, the Sacamento restaurant explosion lost no steam in the second half of 2018. At least 41 restaurants opened within city limits from July through December

The period wasn’t without closures, either. Fixtures in the Sacramento dining scene such as New Canton Restaurant, Muntean’s Sandwiches & Soups and Roberta’s Cocina Mexicana all shut their doors. Bennigan’s couldn’t last at the corner of 10th and K streets, and Cafe Colonial closed before the Blue Lamp’s owners announced their plans to reopen it earlier this month.

These following restaurants with a Sacramento mailing address, including some in Arden Arcade, opened in July 2018 or later. Restaurants with more than one location were only included if opening their first in Sacramento. See this list for all the restaurants that opened in the year’s first six months.


At least fourty restaurants opened in Sacramento in the second half of 2018. Here’s where they are:
Map: Nathaniel Levine • Compiled by Benjy Egel
  1. Ahipoki Bowl (1600 Ethan Way #50): Kids under 10 eat free until the end of the month at this poke chain, which opened its first Sacramento location in the Howe Bout Arden shopping center over the summer.

  2. Aka Japanese Cuisine (8250 Calvine Rd. #A): Quick-service tonkatsu, sushi, ramen and other Japanese dishes in a shopping center near Cosumnes River College.
  3. Asante Fresh Express (5450 Power Inn Rd.): Longtime caterer Brenda Barrett now serves bistro bowls, salads and desserts out of her to-go store near Power Inn’s intersection with Fruitridge Boulevard.

  4. Awafi (1433 Fulton Ave. #G): An Arabic word roughly translated as “health,” Awafi starts diners off with a complimentary cup of soup before they dig into Halal dishes.

  5. Beast + Bounty (1701 R St.): Bee dining critic Kate Washington called the bounty portion of Lowbrau owner Michael Hargis’ restaurant a “fascinating (study) in coaxing the flavor from often-underappreciated vegetables and fruits.”
  6. Brü Co. (902 K St.): The downtown taproom features 22 beer on draft as well as chipotle-lime popcorn, grilled cheese fondue sandwiches and other eclectic bar bites.

  7. Burger Lounge (545 K St.): The Southern California chain’s DoCo location has a tight menu including typical fast food items alongside quinoa and paleo burgers.

  8. Butt3rmilk Cafe (6425 Florin Perkins Rd.): There’s a slight Asian bend including bulgogi wraps, bibimbap and teriyaki bowls to this breakfast-and-burgers diner where Joe’s Burger Cafe used to be.

  9. Cacio (7600 Greenhaven Dr. #23): Jonathan Kerksieck and Katie Kinner-Kerksieck’s low-key Italian eatery earned three stars from Washington, who wrote “everyone seems to be in a good mood, including people who work there.”

  10. California Fish Grill (2100 Arden Way #100): The Southern California-based seafood eatery started selling tacos, grilled fish entrees and Stubborn Soda products in late November.

  11. Camden Spit & Larder (555 Capitol Mall): Oliver Ridgeway’s ritzy British brasserie and gin bar opened 147 steps from Golden 1 Center’s VIP entrance earlier this month.

  12. Co Mai’s Kitchen (501 Broadway): A Vietnamese haunt with dishes such as pho, banh mis and noodle bowls, Co Mai replaced The Viet Kitchen in November.

  13. Coco Goa Indian Cuisine (9677 Folsom Blvd.): Dishes native to the seafood-rich west Indian state of Goa include shrimp masala and fried pomfret, a flat white fish.

  14. Dawa Teriyaki (8484 Florin Rd. #150): A no-frills teriyaki grill with Thai, Korean and Japanese-inspired dishes in a south Sacramento shopping center.

  15. Dubplate Kitchen & Jamaican Cuisine (3419 El Camino Ave.): The sister restaurant to JD’s Bakery & Cafe in Rocklin has several vegan options plus curry goat, jerk chicken and other Jamaican staples.

  16. El Fuego Express Mexican Grill (1225 J St.): This casual eatery in Muntean’s Sandwiches & Soups’ old location caters to Capitol workers on the go with build-your-own Tex-Mex entrees.

  17. The Grid (1000 K St.): Executive chef Kent Souza’s menu is full of his spins on dishes made locally famous by other restaurants in the city core, and the cocktail menu includes drinks such as the Osaka Yeah Margarita, Frank’s Banana Cream and Biba’s Black Lemon Drop.

  18. Hao Bao Dumpling House (6821 Stockton Blvd.): This dim sum eatery draws inspiration from Hong Kong in its gyoza, steamed buns and other bite-sized dishes.

  19. Hoppy’s Railyard Kitchen & Hopgarden (1022 2nd St.): Hoppy owner Troy Paski moved his East Sacramento brewpub into a building nearly twice its size in Old Sacramento, where an expanded menu shifts away from bar food toward entrees such as harissa honey-glazed salmon.

  20. Huckleberry’s (2580 Arena Blvd. #100): “Southern cookin’ with a California twist” is how this restaurant describes breakfast and lunch dishes such as berry-filled beignets and andouille-and-shrimp skillets.

  21. Ike’s Love and Sandwiches (1420 16th St. #100): The quick-stop California chain personalized its midtown Sacramento menu with sandwiches such as the Joan Didion (vegan steak, American cheese and hornet sauce).

  22. Lucky Wok (1853 Watt Ave.): All entrees are less than $10 and come with soup and an egg roll during weekday lunches at this Chinese restaurant in Arden Arcade.

  23. Maya Traditional Mexican Cuisine (455 Bercut Dr.): The family behind Taqueria Maya signed a 25-year lease for their sit-down restaurant off Richards Boulevard.

  24. Mendocino Farms (1610 R St. #125): Don’t let the name fool you: this California chain is based in Los Angeles but began serving sandwiches filled with chimichurri steak or smoked tempeh in the Ice Blocks earlier this month.

  25. Milk Money (1715 R St. #100): This craft doughnut and ice cream shop opened next to Michael Hargis’ other 2018 project, Beast + Bounty, in October.

  26. Origami Asian Grill (4801 Folsom Blvd.): Paragary Restaurant Group alumni Scott Ostrander and Paul DiPierro’s new restaurant — billed as “Asian Chipotle” — offers build-your-own ramen, rice bowls, salads and banh mis.

  27. The Other Side (5090 Folsom Blvd.): Oliver Ridgeway consulted Track 7 Brewing Co.’s owners as they opened this rotisserie restaurant in East Sacramento, then left to focus on Camden Spit & Larder.

  28. The Pizza Press (405 K St. #240): Father-son duo Albert and Nick Romo opened this newspaper-themed pizzeria franchise in DoCo in October, the first of eight they plan to launch in the Sacramento area.

  29. Pho Viet 2 (1589 W. El Camino Ave. #105): This Natomas restaurant is the second iteration of the original Pho Viet in Citrus Heights’ Auburn Plaza shopping center.

  30. Poke Bros (629 J St.): Sacramento natives Brady and Mickey Sisenglath launched the first business in The Bank in November, becoming the first of six planned restaurants to do so.

  31. Poke Don (3571 Truxel Rd. #B1): This fast-casual raw eatery began selling poke bowls and sushi burritos under the name “Pokeway” in July before an October name change.

  32. Popbar (405 K St. #210): One of Downtown Commons’ newest additions specializes in ice pops with flavors such as blood orange, green tea crunch and piña colada.

  33. Takata-ya (1100 R St.): Owners Daniel Takata and Jennifer Joo started their quick-service Asian restaurant where Amaro Bistro & Bar used to be at the R Street Corridor’s entrance to the R Street Corridor.

  34. Tasty Hawaiian BBQ (2309 Northgate Blvd.): Spam musubi, kalua pork, loco moco and other island dishes make up the menu at this Natomas eatery.

  35. Tealicious (5101 Freeport Blvd.): This boba cafe also serves sandwiches, noodles and desserts in a Hollywood Park strip mall.

  36. Tiger (722 K St.): A dim sum-style cart service wheels small bites to table at this two-story restaurant and bar from the team behind The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar.

  37. Top Jalah Ice Cream (1233 J St.): Top Jalah sells frozen treats as well as quick-service burgers, nachos and fries across from the downtown Sheraton.

  38. Village Pizzeria and Grill (3708 Auburn Blvd.): This pizzeria, which has another Citrus Heights location but bears no relation to a similarly-named Davis restaurant, also offers sandwiches, calzones and pasta.

  39. Vuvuzela Seafood and Hot Pot (6835 Stockton Blvd. #450): The name may call to mind South Africa and the 2010 World Cup, but Vuvuzela’s food is Vietnamese and cooked tableside by customers in scorching-hot broth.

  40. Wings City (5555 Sky Pkwy. #243): This South Sacramento chicken shack carries 14 flavors of wings including honey Sriracha, mango habanero and peanut butter and jelly.

  41. Yard House (405 K St. #100): DoCo’s sports bar has 110 beers on tap in Sacramento, the most in Sacramento, plus dishes such as pan-seared ahi, black truffle cheeseburger and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.