Sactown’s Most Popular Stories of 2020

Final 2
Clockwise from top left: Photos by Curtis Yee, courtesy of Michelle Marra, by Hannah Ross, and by Anna Wick

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Our rearview mirror may not be rose-colored, but many of the standout discoveries that emerged from the pre-vaccine blur are still proving relevant now that 2021 is underway. Without further ado—drumroll, please—we present Sactown’s 10 most popular stories from the last year.

10. Put a spring in your step at these 6 regional nature spots blanketed with wildflowers right now

Eager to beat early-onset pandemic cabin fever, Sacramentans in need of fresh air rushed to the great outdoors during nature’s annual wildflower show. From the poppies and lupines springing up at Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve to the hyacinth blooming at the Mather Regional Park Vernal Pools, you can thankfully see the same flowers in the same places at the same time this year.

Img 7511 768x1024

Our state flower, the California poppy, blooms at Hidden Falls Regional Park. (Photo by Rachel Alvarez)

9. A new playground for dogs and their pet humans to open in Sacramento

In June, a canine nirvana opened, just in time for the dog days of summer. The Local Bark Park is the region’s first membership-based pet recreation area, decked out with a doggy pool, jungle gym and an outdoor bar—that one’s just for the humans—serving suds from local breweries like Sudwerk, Device and New Glory.

Dogpark 6

Man’s best friend takes a jaunt past the Local Bark Park’s doggy playground. (Photo by Curtis Yee)

8. Hotly anticipated Majka Pizzeria & Bakery gets set to open

Chutharat Sae Tong and Alex Sherry, married bakers and alumni of Berkeley’s Cheese Board Collective, opened their long-awaited vegetarian pizza shop in midtown in June, replete with a pandemic-friendly pickup window. Featuring pies heaped with farm-fresh produce and bottle pairings that show off local natural wines, Majka’s menu showcases our region’s decadent bounty. Don’t forget to put chocolate chunk cookies made with house-fermented miso in your takeout cart.


All of Majka pies feature seasonal, local produce atop a whole-grain sourdough crust. (Photo by Anna Wick)

7. New plant-based eatery to offer veganified versions of comfort food classics like fried chicken and mac and cheese

In February, East Sacramento’s Pure Soul Plant-Based Eats started serving approachable vegan dishes like juicy Beyond Meat burgers and Cajun-style Atlas Monroe fried “chicken” for folks looking to turn over a healthy new leaf, then and now—the restaurant’s all-vegan menu is currently available for takeout and delivery.

Atlasmonroe Friedchickensandwich Vegan Sacramento Staceydoylephotography 56 R 1024x684

A vegan fried chicken sandwich—made with SF-based Atlas Monroe’s wheat-based fried “chicken”—from Pure Soul (Photo by @staceydoylephotography)

6. A popular Woodland coffee shop to open a cozy, contemporary second location in Sacramento

Woodland coffee shop Morgan’s Mill opened its downtown Sacramento outpost in June, offering a to-go menu of coffee, beer, house-made Belgian waffles and one very cool selfie hot spot—a “Sacramento” mural made from old, rolled-up copies of The Sacramento Bee. The cafe temporarily closed its doors on Dec. 12, and hopes to reopen when the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Morgansmillcy 4

The city-centric mural at Morgan’s Mill (Photo by Curtis Yee)

5. Cider House owner to open a new smokehouse and bar

Last January we announced the opening of Lefty’s Eatery & Taproom from local restaurateur Julio Piex. The new East Sacramento beer hall and barbecue joint opened to great neighborhood fanfare in early March, less than two weeks before the state’s first stay-at-home order. Luckily, Lefty’s is currently offering takeout from Thursday through Saturday, which means you can still leave the 12-hour almond wood-smoked brisket to the experts.

Leftysroof 1024x683

Lefty’s Eatery & Taproom opened its doors just weeks before the state’s first stay-at-home order. (Photo by Curtis Yee)

4. A 65-foot Ferris wheel rolls into Old Sacramento

As November rolled around, so did the city’s latest public attraction. Straight from the midway came a Ferris wheel that has given locals new views of the Sacramento River, Tower Bridge and the city skyline from open-air, quarantine-crew-sized, four-seater cabs. The wheel is currently closed, but is expected to reopen once the region’s stay-at-home order has ended.

Waterfront Wheel Night 1024x683

A golden-hour view from the Ferris wheel in Old Sacramento (Photo by Hannah Ross)

3. A drive-thru art festival brings a taste of Burning Man to Rancho Cordova

In July, Sac Valley Spark, a community-focused arts nonprofit that abides by Burning Man principles, put on a two-day, drive-thru (read: socially distanced) art festival complete with fire dancers and eccentric sculptures that only Burners could forge, like a 15-foot-long honey bee statue made of Styrofoam, concrete and 35,000 glass marbles.


A 15-foot-long honey bee statue was featured at the Sacramento Spark drive-thru event in July. (Photo courtesy of Sacramento Valley Spark)

2. Keep calm and cover up with these locally made face masks

Before mass mask production began, face coverings were in short supply. In April 2020, we highlighted a handful of makers from across the region who stitched their way into our hearts, one mask at a time.

Mask 1

A mask made by Roseville-based All Things Mish (Photo courtesy of Michelle Marra)

1. Is takeout safe? A UC Davis virologist shares how to stay healthy and support local restaurants

At the onset of the pandemic, we were trying to figure out how to support our local restaurants safely amid the first statewide shelter-in-place mandate, issued on March 19. In our most-clicked story of 2020, UC Davis virologist Dr. Erin DiCaprio weighed the health risks of ordering takeout. And with many restaurants still struggling to keep their doors open (the most recent quarantine order took effect on Dec. 3), her insights on handling food in the time of Covid are as relevant as ever.

90283529 3101695369841459 8262424476478603264 O

Chef James Akiyama at Kru gloves up to prepare takeout nigiri. (Photo courtesy of Kru)

You Might Also Like
Sactown’s Year in Food: A look back at 2018’s tastiest dining news around town
Sactown’s 10 Most Popular Stories of 2017
Sactown’s 10 Most Popular Stories of 2016