Eat to the Music: Sacramento Music Festival Dining Guide

By Ed Murrieta

It’s time for the 40th annual Sacramento Music Festival!

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Quick bites between sets. Breakfast to power your day.
Lunch. Dinner. Happy Hour. Late Night. Farm-to-Fork feasting.

With a well-seasoned lineup of blues, rock, country, jazz and swing musicians cooking up a music-filled Memorial Day weekend from Old Sacramento to downtown hotels, you’re sure to work up a hunger and thirst.

Whether you’re rocking out, boogying down or tapping your toes, the Sacramento Music Festival Dining Guide feeds your needs — from family-friendly eateries to fine-dining restaurants in the heart of America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.

V.I.P
High-end restaurants
GENERAL ADMISSION
Mid-range restaurants
ALT-SAC
Local character
BR = Breakfast & Brunch
L = Lunch
D = Dinner
HH = Happy Hour
LN = Late Night
FTF = Farm-to-Fork
OS = Old Sac
CC = Convention Center
$ = $5-$10 per person

$$ = $10-$20 per person

$$$ = $20+ per person * Show your Music Festival badge for discounts at participating restaurants.

BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

V.I.P.

Grange Restaurant & Bar
926 J St.
grangesacramento.com
$$ FTF CC
Sourcing from a who’s-who of local farms, Grange serves eye-opening breakfast inside the Citizen Hotel – from the simple (house-made granola) to the sensational (Benedict with golden-yolk eggs and sunshiney hollandaise). 6:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Also serves L D HH

Restaurant Thir13en
1300 H St.
$$ FTF CC
Thir13en.com
Fresh off an appearance on “The Taste,” the ABC television culinary competition hosted by Anthony Bourdain, chef Adam Pechal is the rock star of this restaurant, serving a farm-to-fork menu in the Victorian boutique Sterling Hotel. The veggie Benny is bright as spring. Candied pancetta tops French toast. And because it stands out at any meal, try Pechal’s rave-review Capitol Burger with house-made pickles in the morning. The dining room is intimate, with a small bar and a communal table. Outside, a brick patio with an urban view beneath a canopy of trees.
Also serves L D HH

Tequila Museo Mayahuel
1200 K St.
tequilamuseo.com
$$ CC
The latest player in Sacramento’s burgeoning brunch scene, Mayahuel’s upscale take on down-home Mexican cuisine will wake you up. What biscuits and gravy do for the American breakfast, chilaquiles do for the morning Mexican meal. Try the soft fried tortilla strips with a simple green sauce, fresh cream and fresh cheese, or go for more gusto with shredded beef and sultry mole topped with onions and coconut. Or start the day with pozole, a traditional chicken-and-hominy soup in tomatillo-cilantro broth. Plus breakfast burritos, breakfast enchiladas, and tamales. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Also serves L D HH

GENERAL ADMISSION

Steamers
101 K St.
Steamersoldsac.com
$ – $$ OS
All the breakfast favorites – cage-free eggs, bacon, pancakes, even breakfast tacos – in a family-friendly corner café. Opens at 8 a.m. daily.
Also serves L

Capitol Garage
1500 K St.
capitolgarage.com
$$ FTF CC
You’ll find vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items on the weekend brunch menu along with the likes of the pastrami melt and jalapeno biscuits and gravy. You may also find people in pajamas. Wear pajamas here between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and wake up with $2 tequila sunrises and $2 Bailey’s and coffee.
Also serving L D HH

Cafe Bernardo
10th and K streets
Paragarys.com
$$ FTF CC
Like a European cafe cooking seasonal ingredients all day long. Breakfast served from 7 am.-11 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekends. Sautéed red onions put the rise and shine in mildly spiced chorizo and scrambled eggs. Brioche French toast is both crackly and creamy. Some lunch items are served after 11 a.m. on weekends, so brunch on a burger — a juicy, meaty mouthful — or a blistery thin-crust pizza.
Also serves L D HH

ALT-SAC

Pilot House
1000 Front St.
deltaking.com
$$ OS
A refined approach to breakfast –- frittata, quiche, crab cake Benedict – in a uniquely Old Sacramento setting: aboard the riverboat hotel and restaurant The Delta King. 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-noon Saturday-Sunday.
Also serves L D

LUNCH

V.I.P.

Lucca Restaurant and Bar
1615 J St.
Luccarestaurnat.com
$$ FTF CC
You can get an all-natural beef patty on the side of almost any salad or entrée on chef Ian McBride’s seasonally driven Italian-style menu. That’s because Lucca owns its own beef-cattle ranch, Lucky Dog. Or try an all-natural Lucky Dog steak. Straight-forward beefy flavor all around.
Also serving D HH

Ten 22
1022 2nd St.
Ten22OldSac.com
$$ FTF OS
In addition to chef Jay Veregge’s spring lunch menu, Ten 22 is serving a special barbecue menu throughout the Music Festival. Choose ribs, hot links or house-cured brisket (or a little of all three) plus potato salad, beans, slaw and corn muffin for $17. Gold miners rushed to Old Sac for oysters and so should you. Barbecued oysters with spicy Creole butter are $2 each, Friday through Monday.

GENERAL ADMISSION

Hock Farm Craft & Provisions
1415 L St.
Paragarys.com
$$ CC FTF
Brand-new from Sacramento’s home-grown Paragary Restaurant Group, Hock Farm serves enticing entrees like duck confit and house-made pork sausage, but an array of bar bites, small plates and wood-fired pizzas invite grazing in a spare, comfortable atmosphere.
Also serving D HH

Market at Vines
1209 L St.
Sacramento.hyatt.com
$$ FTF CC
Not many restaurants pair locally sourced ingredients with a lunch buffet — but that’s what happening inside the Hyatt Regency hotel. Salads, soups, hand-crafted pizzas and more are on the menu, Mondays-Fridays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

ALT-SAC

Old Town Smokehouse
1100 Front St. #140
Oldtownsmokehouse.com
$ FTF OS
Get a taste of the fish that makes Sacramento America’s caviar capital. Those well-marbled hunks of smoked sturgeon in the display case? They’re the flesh of the fish that produce caviar at Sterling Caviar in nearby Elverta. (Sterling’s owner also owns Old Town Smokehouse). Try the hickory-smoked sturgeon in a sandwich — soft roll with cream cheese, capers, tomato and onion –for $8.95 with chips and soft drink. Smoked sturgeon is $7.95 per pound.

Grange Restaurant and Bar
925 J St.
S FTF
Cocktails are locally flavored and support a good cause. Grange’s Harvest Sacramento Cocktails are made from fruits gleaned from backyard trees — Meyer lemons, mandarin oranges, white grapefruit. Proceeds benefit Harvest Sacramento, a project of Sacramento’s Soil Born Farms. Try one for $6 (half price, so think about pairing a cocktail with a couple $2 tacos) from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Monday.

Ella Dining Room & Bar
1131 K St.
$ CC FTF
Steak tartare, served with fresh popovers, tops the $5 happy bar bites. Show your Music Festival badge and get Ella’s craft cocktails (including Ella’s flagship, a refreshing, amber-hued gin and tonic with housemade quinine tonic and organic sucanat syrup) at the $5 happy-hour price, all day Friday and after 5:30 Saturday.

GENERAL ADMISSION

Blackbird Kitchen + Bar
1015 9th St.
Blackbird-kitchen.com
$ FTF
$1 oysters on the half shell and $1 tequila shooters. 3 P.M.-6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Other seafood and savory bar bites in the $5 range.

Restaurant Thir13en
1300 H St.
$$ FTF CC
Thir13en.com
There’s no set menu for the $5 bar bites — so you simply put your snacking appetite in chef Adam Pechal’s whimsical hands. Beneath the Victorian Sterling Hotel. Thir13en’s bar and dining room offer a cool, dark wine-cellar atmosphere. The tree-canopied patio is the place to enjoy the afternoon.
Also serving B L D

DINNER

V.I.P.

The Firehouse
1112 2nd St.
Firehouseoldsac.com
$$$ FTF OS
Gold Rush opulence meets fine-dining elegance – with a fantastic wine list to match and brick courtyard that can’t be beat -– in Old Sacramento.
Also serving L HH

Esquire Grill
1231 K St.
Paragarys.com
$$-$$$ FTF CC
Elegant and comforting steak-house-style food in an elegant and moody atmosphere. The menu (same for lunch and dinner) doesn’t skimp on the salads (steak, wedge, Cobb, Dungeness crab Louie) and packs on the meat, from a half-pound house-ground angus burger to all an all-natural pork chop served with local vegetables.
Also serving L HH

Ella Dining Room & Bar
1131 K St.
Elladiningroomandbar.com
$$ CC FTF
Enjoy old-school classics like Waldorf salad, steak Diane, steak tartare and other elegant American cuisine in a contemporary farmhouse-chic atmosphere. Open only on Friday and Saturday during the Music Festival weekend. Show your Music Festival badge any time Friday or Saturday and get Ella’s craft cocktails (including Ella’s flagship, a refreshing, amber-hued gin and tonic with house-made quinine tonic and organic sucanat syrup) at the $5 happy-hour price.

Lucca Restaurant and Bar
1615 J St.
Luccarestaurnat.com
$$ FTF CC
Not just a farm-to-fork restaurant, Lucca is a ranch-to-fork restaurant, serving beef from its own Lucky Dog Ranch near Davis. That beef, along with local produce, stars in Lucca’s three-course farm-to-fork Sunday dinners, starting at 4 p.m. $25 or $35 with wine pairings.
Also serving L HH

Frank Fat’s
806 L St.
$$-$$$
Honored this year with the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award by the James Beard Foundation, 74-year-old Frank Fat’s serves posh Peking, Szechuan, Cantonese and Shanghai cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. A longtime favorite of the Capitol’s powerbrokers and almost as famous for its banana cream pie, Frank Fat’s is located midway between music venues in Old Sacramento and Hyatt and Sheraton hotels.
Also serving L HH

GENERAL ADMISSION

Ten 22
1022 2nd St.
Ten22OldSac.com
$$ OS FTF
In addition to chef Jay Veregge’s local, organic dinner menu, Ten 22 is serving a special barbecue menu throughout the Music Festival. Choose ribs, hot links or house-cured brisket (or a little of all three) plus potato salad, beans, slaw and corn muffin for $22. Barbecued oysters with spicy Creole butter are $2 each. The Knockouts, an eclectic jazz-pop-country trio from Sacramento, perform Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and on Sunday from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Arriving in Sacramento early or staying in town all week? A three-course farm-to-fork menu is $25 per person on Thursdays.
Also serving L HH

Trio
826 J St.
Triosac.com
$$ FTF CC
Trio is a dynamic restaurant, humble bakery and epicurean market rolled into one. Chef-owner Gonul Blum’s cuisine — seasonally driven by herbs and vegetables from her own garden — is inspired by her Turkish roots and Sacramento’s Mediterranean climate. Dishes to satisfy meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Take home the chef’s blend of tea, herb-infused olive oil and other foodie sundries.
Also serving L HH

Blackbird Kitchen + Bar
1015 9th St.
Blackbird-kitchen.com
$$ FTF CC
From creative raw-bar preparations to locally raised sturgeon poached in milk, seafood and fish the highest here, but you’ll also enjoy a grass-fed burger and roasted pheasant with spring blossom griddlecakes in this dark, intimate and lounge-like bar and restaurant.
Also serving L HH

ALT-SAC

Mezcaleria Taco Bar at
Mayahuel Tequila Museo and Restaurant
1200 K St.
tequilamuseo.com
$ CC
After 6 p.m., 12 seats in the back of this upscale Mexican restaurant and tequila lounge transform into Sacramento’s first and only mezcal and taco bar. Cocktails feature the smoky distilled spirits of the maguey plant, including the $5 Curado that’s mixed with cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberry, and garnished with edible flowers and a thin layer of froth. Choose from six $3 tacos — not street tacos, but sit-down tacos plump with dusky chicken mole, sweet citrus-roasted pork, braised beef tongue or carne asada, served in stainless steel molds to make taco-eating easier.
Also serving BR L HH

LATE NIGHT

V.I.P

Oishii Sushi & Karaoke Bar
1000 K St., Suite 200
oishiisushikaraoke.com
$$, CC
Serving a full menu of sushi, grilled meats and udon noodle soups until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 2 a.m. on Sunday in a club-like setting. In the mood to stage your own concert after a day at the Music Festival? Private karaoke rooms start at $25 an hour for up to 10 people. Show your Music Festival badge and save 10 percent off your food tab.
Also serving L D HH

GENERAL ADMISSION

Pizza Rock
1020 K St.
Pizzarocksacramento.com
$-$$ CC
Well-crafted pies to please all flavors of pizza snobs – thin-crusters, bready-crusters, lovers of traditional toppings and lovers of over-the-top toppings. Served until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Also serving B, L D HH

ALT-SAC
Gogi Korean BBQ
1431 L St.
$ CC
A walk-up window attached to the Park Ultra Lounge, Gogi serves cross-cultural creations like kalbi short-rib tacos, burrito bowls and Vietnamese sandwiches from 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Also serving L