Restaurant News & Reviews

Thai, pizza and sushi: These 46 Sacramento restaurants opened in 2019’s first 6 months

Whether it’s a new restaurant or a new brew, be the first to know about the next big thing. Sign up for our Food & Drink newsletter here.

More than 45 newcomers joined the Sacramento restaurant scene from January through June 2019, many from first-time restaurateurs making their first mark on the city’s culinary landscape.

The year’s first six months were short on big-ticket openings but full of Asian restaurants popping up in far-flung corners of the city. Sacramento also said goodbye to 20-year mainstays Esquire Grill and The Bread Store during that time, and more recent additions such as The Grid, brü co. and Skool Japanese Gastropub called it quits as well.

Three pizzerias greeted customers for the first time, and Southern and Brazilian cuisine also saw modest local booms. These 46 restaurants opened their first Sacramento restaurants between Jan. 1 and June 26:


More than 40 restaurants opened in Sacramento in the first half of 2019. Here’s where they are:
Map: Nathaniel Levine • Compiled by Benjy Egel
  1. 520 KTV Cafe (6833 Stockton Blvd. #400): A Florin karaoke lounge that stays open until 2 a.m. seven nights a week, 520 KTV Cafe’s food options include boba, noodles, fried snacks and ice cream.

  2. Aji Dori (1100 R St.): Aji Japanese Bistro owner Russell Okubo helped reopen Takata-ya as a concept based around street food and raw fish.

  3. Beijing Garden (7485 Rush River Dr. #680): This Chinese restaurant in a Pocket shopping center has more than 150 menu items.

  4. Boba Loca (1689 Arden Way #1167): This boba shop in Arden Fair Mall also sells pancakes stuffed with Nutella, red bean paste or other fillings called taiyaki as well as ice cream.

  5. Burger Patch (2301 K St.): The long-awaited, all-vegan burger shack opened its brick-and-mortar location last month after running a stand in Golden 1 Center throughout the Kings’ 2018-19 season.

  6. Cajun Madness (6035 Stockton Blvd.): Diners select a seafood, a sauce, a spice level and a choice of sausage, corn or potatoes.

  7. Casa Tulum (1914 Alhambra Blvd.): Arturo Vargas’ mole negro was featured in The Bee’s biweekly “You Gotta Try This” series earlier this month.

  8. Chao Bay Vietnamese Cuisine (6829 Stockton Blvd. #395): Chao Bay joined several other Vietnamese restaurants in the Stockton Square Plaza shopping center in June.

  9. Chévere (3397 Watt Ave.): A tweet announcing the new Arden Arcade pupuseria was retweeted more than 5,000 times and liked more than 11,000 times.

  10. Cider House (1111 24th St.): Former Dad’s Kitchen owner Julio Peix also sells gluten-free paninis, waffles and dips out of his narrow midtown cider bar.

  11. Costanza’s (2107 L St.): Menu items at this Seinfeld-inspired sports bar include Babu’s Taco Special, Kenny Rogers Wings and the Can’t Stand Ya Platter.

  12. Culinerdy Kitchen (524 12th St.): Keith Breedlove ran the Culinerdy Cruzer food truck for years until selling comfort food out of a permanent spot in downtown Sacramento.

  13. D Best (2315 Northgate Blvd.): This Halal Brazilian restaurant in Natomas serves tropical drinks with flavors such as guava, pineapple mint and cashew fruit.

  14. Don Chuy Birria Estila Tijuana (7900 Fruitridge Rd.): Bee dining critic Kate Washington gave this gas station taqueria four stars for its birria, mulitas and consommé.

  15. Dona Mari Cocinita (4601 Franklin Blvd.): This Mexican food stand is only open Thursday through Sunday from mid-afternoon until around midnight.

  16. Donuts Break (1555 Meadowview Rd. #100): The doughnut shop in a south Sacramento shopping center opens at 5 a.m. seven days a week.

  17. El Balcon Taqueria (5800 Madison Ave. Ste. Q): Customers at the Arden Arcade taqueria rave about the salsa bar, seafood and agua fresca selection on Yelp.

  18. Everest Yogurt (5635 Freeport Blvd. #3): Everest serves Gunther’s ice cream and fruit freezes in addition to nonfat frozen yogurt, with more than 75 toppings for each cup’s summit.

  19. Fogo de Minas (2606 Gateway Oaks Dr. #140): One of the Sacramento area’s few Brazilian steakhouses opened in south Natomas in January.

  20. Foodie Spot (1032 Florin Rd.): This quick-service Chinese restaurant in the Pocket has virtually the same menu as its sit-down predecessor, Panda Garden.

  21. Frosty Queen (7800 Stockton Blvd.): The old-fashioned burger joint in south Sacramento also has locations in Fresno and Madera.

  22. Gaspachos (5385 Franklin Blvd Ste. L): Mexican fruit cups come topped with taijin, chili powder and other spices.

  23. Gen Korean BBQ House (1689 Arden Way #1148): The all-you-can-eat, Los Angeles-based Korean barbecue chain opened its first area location in the Arden Fair Mall.

  24. Happy Lemon (6914 65th St.): The Shanghai-based boba shop also opened two Elk Grove locations in the last year, its first in the region.

  25. Jannoi’s App-Khao Papaya & Noodle Shack (3510 Auburn Blvd. #10): The Arden Arcade restaurant serves Thai classics as well as Lao specialties like khao poon, laap gai and sai gok.

  26. Khao Soy House Thai Restaurant (6519 Savings Pl.): Khao Soy House shares a Florin shopping center with Firehouse Crawfish, all-vegetarian Boddhi Bowl and a Vietnamese restaurant.

  27. Kura Revolving Sushi Bar (1600 Ethan Way #10): The pay-per-dish rotating sushi bar has 11 other California locations, mostly around Los Angeles.

  28. Luchador Coffee (2380 Watt Ave. #135): Victor Khoustekian graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 2017 and opened his lucha libre-inspired coffee shop in Country Club Plaza less than two years later.

  29. Nine-2-Won (921 11th St.): This bar in the Elks Tower has pizzas, salads and sandwiches as well as happy hour from 2-6 p.m. on weekdays.

  30. NKG Cafe and Soul Food (2626 Rio Linda Blvd): Soul food staples like catfish, fried ribs and sweet potato pie appear on the menu at this restaurant off Del Paso Boulevard.

  31. Oak Park Brewing Co. (3614 Broadway): Broderick Roadhouse co-owner Chris Jarosz is the most hands-on investor in Oak Park Brewing Co. 2.0, which serves Southern-inspired pub food as well as beers made by Track 7 co-founder Geoff Scott.

  32. Patong Beach Thai Cuisine (8345 Folsom Blvd. #119): The College Greens restaurant is named after a beach on Phuket’s west coast.

  33. Pizza Supreme Being Slices & Squares (1425 14th St. #C): Former Ella Dining Room & Bar cook Ben Roberts and his wife Pembe Sonmez-Roberts moved their wood-fired pizza oven into Yellowbill Cafe’s former building after years of catering.

  34. Platypus Pizza (629 J St.): This thin-crust pizzeria was one of the first food stands to open inside The Bank dining hall, with pies priced around $15.

  35. Saigon Corner (1589 W. El Camino Ave.): The Natomas restaurant serves eight types of banh mis as well as packaged Asian goods and a long tea menu.

  36. Shoku Ramen Bar (1221 Alhambra Blvd. #107): The soup shop — not to be confused with Shoki Ramen House about 20 blocks away — replaced Cafe Morocco in May.

  37. Simpleton (701 19th St.): The team behind Identity Coffee opened a cafe with breakfast, lunch, coffee, beer and wine in Boulevard Park in mid-June.

  38. Slams BBQ (4581 Mack Rd.): This south Sacramento barbecue joint is one of the few in town to serve smoked lamb, albeit only on the first Friday of the month.

  39. Station 8 Burgers (629 J St.): Station 16, Station 38 and Firehouse Crawfish owners Trinh Le and Minnie Nguyen opened their burger and seafood stand in The Bank in March.

  40. Sushi Z (2580 Alta Arden Expy.): The all-you-can-eat sushi bar formerly known as Mana reopened under new ownership in April.

  41. Taco Moto (629 J St.): Another food stand in The Bank, Taco Moto shares its order counter with Platypus Pizza.

  42. Thai Mango (7837 Stockton Blvd. #700): Thai Mango replaced another southeast Asian restaurant, Thaicoon Authentic Boat Noodles, in a shopping center just south of Mack Road.

  43. The Morning Fork (1111 21st St.): Sacramento natives Keith and Jennifer Swiryn opened their old-school diner in midtown on June 21.

  44. The Neighborhood Pizzeria (5401 H St.): Federalist Public House owners Marvin and Brigette Maldonado’s new East Sacramento pizzeria pulls inspiration from Detroit and New York-style pies.

  45. Tupi Coffee (1610 Arden Way #155): Tupi sells Brazilian treats such as coxinha, brigadeiros and beef esfiha in addition to South American coffee.

  46. Youming Tang Tea House (2380 Watt Ave.): This Country Club Plaza boba shop also sells handmade dumplings.

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.