Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Lucca Celebrates 10 Years

The staff at Lucca Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Sacramento will be all smiles on April 1, but not because of pranks and practical jokes. The Sacramento farm-to-fork restaurant will be celebrating 10 years in business and kicking off a month of special events to give back to the community.
Lucky Dog Ranch beef
From the outset, Lucca was built with the farm-to-fork movement in mind, said Marketing Director Joy Culley. Lucca chefs sourced all of their products locally, but owners Ron and Terri Gilliland wanted to take full control of their beef supply. So, in 2005 they opened Lucky Dog Ranch.

“It’s undeniably farm-to-fork,” Culley said. “We’re the only people in Northern California ranching beef for our restaurant.”

To celebrate 10 years in business, Lucca will host a series of events benefiting local charities and celebrating farm-fresh food. All events will feature locally sourced food in prix-fixe menus and be complemented by a dish that, when ordered at any time throughout the week, will have half the proceeds benefit that week’s charity.
Lucca Restaurant
An April 1 event will benefit the Verge Center for the Arts, with dishes inspired by Sacramento artists such as Wayne Thiebaud and Gregory Kondos. An April 8 benefit for Mustard Seed Spin will be bicycle-themed. The Sacramento Children’s Home will be the beneficiary for the April 17 event, which features a fashion show composed of clothes found in thrift stores. Finally, on April 24, there will ba a farmers market-themed event benefiting the farm-to-fork initiative. Outdoor tables will be set up like farmrs market stalls, and each will serve as an appetizer station made from ingredients from local farms.

Lucky Dog Ranch is named after a puppy Ron found stranded alongside a road with a broken leg on St. Patrick’s Day around the time the ranch opened. He rescued the dog, named her Lucky, and she’s now an undeniable part of life on the ranch, recently giving birth to a litter of puppies.

Cows raised at the ranch are grass-fed until the last 90 days, when they are fed high-quality grains. They’re born in the pasture, roam free and are treated humanely. They’re never given antibiotics, and Culley said it’s important that they’re treated well both from an ethical standpoint and from a taste perspective.

“You can taste a difference in the meat when a cow has been stressed and when it hasn’t,” she said.

All meats are dry-aged 21-28 days, and they’re not only used n Lucca and the Gillilands’ other restaurant, Roxy, but sold at farmers markets and to other restaurants throughout Sacramento and into the Bay Area. Lucky Dog Ranch is located just 20 minutes from Sacramento in Dixon near Davis.

Running an all-natural cattle ranch was a logical choice for Ron, who grew up in Ireland where that is still the practice today. When he and Terri, who grew up in Colorado, moved to Sacramento, they were struck by how rich the land is.

“It’s unbelievably wonderful,” Terri said. “I have always felt that living here — in this part of the country and this part of the world — we have the best of everything within 100 miles. We have the best sustainable fish, nuts, cheeses, produce and meat. It’s incredible. California lends itself to this with all the sunshine, and we have enough agricultural land and farmers who take care of it.”