Prominent Bay Area restaurateur to open new local craft cocktail bar this summer

Who says you can’t go home again? Land Park-raised Bay Area restaurateur Tom Schnetz is returning to his hometown to open a craft cocktail bar called The Cinders in North Highlands with his childhood best friend, real estate executive Jess Tochterman.

“Tom’s places in Oakland are ground zero for the craft cocktail movement,” Tochterman, senior VP of Intero Sacramento, says about his business partner, who has made a name for himself with his art deco craft cocktail hot spots Flora and Fauna across the street from Oakland’s Fox Theater. (Schnetz also owns neighboring restaurant Xolo, Telegraph Avenue’s hip Mexican eatery Dona Tomas, and the bustling Berkeley taqueria Tacubaya.) The Cinders will be using that expertise in its cocktail menu, and Schnetz will be bringing in lead bartenders at his Oakland locations to train his new Sacramento bar’s staff.

A third childhood friend, John Mikacich, who runs the Limelight Cardroom in East Sacramento, owns the building that houses Cinders. The bar’s name is a nod to the site’s colorful history, which included a topless bar called Embers, as well as the fact that it will boast two fireplaces.

The Cinders will also have 12 taps, and half of them will be devoted to a rotating list of local suds. The owners have been talking to breweries like Ruhstaller, Oak Park Brewing Company, Bike Dog and New Helvetia to potentially bring them on board. Tochterman also says The Cinders may also welcome food trucks to set up camp in the large parking lot outside on certain nights.

With plans to open on Wednesday, July 15, The Cinders will feature an outdoors vibe (think mounted animals and photos of mountain streams and bears on the walls), with a refined style. Layers of wood siding and wallpaper were pulled off to reveal cinder blocks, which the restaurant’s crew painted to add a geometric style to the space.

“I think there’s a little bit of a trend of people who grew up in Sacramento, went to the Bay Area and are now moving back here to open cool restaurants and bars,” Tochterman says. “We’re excited for this.”

Stay tuned to for future details.

The Cinders. 5340 Auburn Blvd. Sacramento