Author: Hillary Louise Johnson

Hot New Hoods

It’s no secret that Sacramento is at a tipping point. Amidst all the construction dust, however, there are a few areas, such as R Street, Oak Park and West Sacramento, that are ready for their close-ups right now, and they are where you should be heading this weekend if you want a taste or a sip of the buzziest neighborhoods in the region (a flaming Sex Panther cocktail, anyone?). Consider the next 18 pages your insider’s guide to these hot hubs, where new restaurants, bars, boutiques and one-of-a-kind urban experiences await your arrival. Ready, set, go out!

The Place Maker

If you felt the pulse of the city quickening the last time you spent an evening out dining, shopping or gallery hopping in midtown, Oak Park or the R Street Corridor, Ron Vrilakas likely had a hand in that. With an uncanny ability to transform historic structures into modern gathering spaces, and to create new buildings that blend seamlessly into their surroundings, he has helped define the look and experience of our most exciting—and most livable—neighborhoods. Meet Sacramento’s busiest architect and its scrappiest developer, whose goal is to turn our city into an urban paradise, one innovative project at a time.

Amaro Amore

The team behind Shady Lady has crossed R Street to open Amaro, serving up classic Italian fare inside a playfully elegant dining room. Its name may mean “bitter,” but for foodies, the new restaurant hits the sweet spot.

Actor Keith Powers

Sacramento native Keith Powers boasts a half-million swooning Instagram followers, thanks to his roles in two critically acclaimed musical biopics, Straight Outta Compton and The New Edition Story. Now the 24-year-old actor is romancing Bella Thorne in the new television drama Famous in Love, which premieres April 18 on Freeform (formerly ABC Family). He shares a few choice anecdotes, like how he learned to bust a move from Ronnie DeVoe and that awkward moment when he met Dr. Dre.

Best Western

The modern steakhouse fare at Meadowlands restaurant makes this former stagecoach stop in Sloughhouse worth hitching up the buggy for a ride

Morning Glory

Breakfast-for-lunch becomes an instant everyday tradition at Pushkin’s Restaurant, the new midtown offshoot of Olga and Danny Turner’s popular gluten-free bakery

Raw Talent

When Kru moved from a pocket-sized midtown locale to an expansive space in East Sacramento, chef-owner Billy Ngo responded to the sophistication of his Japanese restaurant’s splashy new digs by upping his already elevated sushi game and creating an even more seaworthy dining experience.