Taste: The region's latest food, drink & restaurant news for Dec. 21

Photo courtesy of Backbone Café
Sacramento artist Irubiel Moreno's mural adds intrigue to the new Backbone Café in downtown Sacramento.

In this week's food news, a health-conscious cafe opens in downtown Sacramento, a local coffee shop launches a blossoming roasting company, an Indian food truck takes to the streets, and a new sports bar takes over The Distillery's space in midtown. Plus, Tahoe Park beer enthusiasts have a new watering hole, and an IPA fest readies to celebrate the hazy brews of winter. 

Backbone Café

This new health-conscious counter service restaurant with gluten-free and vegan options soft-opened on Dec. 11, with a grand opening slated for February. Backbone Café is owned by brothers Joey and Tomas Woolston along with their parents, Matt and Yvette, who run the Supper Club cafe inside the Crocker Art Museum and Matteo’s Pizza & Bistro in Carmichael. Patrons of the new dining spot can expect organic breakfast and lunchtime fare, like avocado toast topped with fried garlic, cilantro and chili flakes, as well as a signature burger with grass-fed beef, goat cheddar cheese, grilled onions and a house-made chimichurri aioli. Healthful libations include a foamed butter coffee with coconut oil that guests can sip in leather lounge chairs amid the bohemian décor, which includes a sprawling indoor mural of vines and mushrooms by Sacramento artist Irubiel Moreno. 729 J St. 970-5545. backbonecafe.com

Backbone Café opened in downtown Sacramento with healthy eats like the free-range chicken curry and vegan cauliflower "wings" pictured here. (Photo courtesy of Backbone Café)

Bouquet Coffee Roasters

On Dec. 7, husband-and-wife duo Nick and Ilah Rose Cookston-Minton, co-owners of midtown’s The Mill, launched their own roasting company offering a small selection of whole bean coffee in 12-ounce bags. They source the beans—which come packaged in brown parchment with labels showcasing watercolor flowers (Ilah Rose’s own handiwork)—from countries like Colombia and Nicaragua. Bouquet Coffee Roasters’ inaugural collection includes a Guatemalan coffee with Caturra and Pache beans that exudes hints of toasted almond and green apple, as well as a signature blend with beans from the Guji Zone of Ethiopia and Cauca in Colombia—all of which coffee lovers can purchase at The Mill, online, or through weekly shipments to their doorsteps. The Mill. 1827 I St. 469-9683. bouquetcoffeeroasters.com

The Bouquet Blend from the new Bouquet Coffee Roasters (Photo courtesy of Bouquet Coffee Roasters)


Local real estate agent Gabriel Owens, who bartended at Iron Steaks from 2009 to 2011, has purchased the building that housed The Distillery on L Street in midtown for over 50 years, with plans to reopen it by late February as Costanza's, a new sports bar and restaurant. The Distillery’s dive bar atmosphere and late-night karaoke will remain, but Owens says patrons to Costanza’s can expect an expansion of the dog-friendly front patio, a new self-serve beer wall with 20 taps, and flat screens showing local and major sporting events. Costanza's will also offer free shuttle service to Sacramento Kings, Republic FC and potentially River Cats games, and a revamped menu created by Pedro Hernandez, The Distillery's chef of 15 years, which will feature farm-to-fork-inspired plates using smoked meat and produce from regional purveyors. 2107 L St. 838-0697. facebook.com/costanzasbar

Hazy IPA Fest

Beer enthusiasts: Mark your calendars for Jan. 26, when Beers In Sac will host its first festival celebrating New England IPAs, known as “hazy” for their unfiltered brewing process and appearance. Fifteen local breweries, including Claimstake from Rancho Cordova, Land Park’s New Helvetia and Woodland-based Blue Note, will pour hazy suds inside Old Sacramento’s California Automobile Museum (folks who purchase pre-sale tickets before Jan. 26 will receive two complimentary servings in a 14-ounce souvenir teku glass). Sacramento DJ My Cousin Vinny will spin house and electronic dance tracks and food trucks like Burgess Brothers BBQ and Cousins Maine Lobster will be parked in front of the museum for hungry festivalgoers. Jan. 26. $12-$20. 5-10 p.m. California Automobile Museum. 2200 Front Street. 229-8681. facebook.com/HazySacramentoHazyIPAFest

The India Jones food truck launched in Sacramento Dec. 3. (Photo courtesy of India Jones)

India Jones

On Dec. 3, this food truck, which previously roamed the streets of New York and Los Angeles, found a new home along the streets of Sacramento, serving up gourmet Indian cuisine like tangy curries, butter chicken and veggie samosas. Owner Vinay Lall—who has over 40 years of restaurant experience under his belt and previously owned Newport Beach’s Far Pavilion Indian Cuisine—says India Jones caters to a variety of palates and spice tolerances. Popular dishes include the loaded chaat masala French fries with a garlicky ketchup, or the Mexican-Indian fusion Taco Chaat with deep-fried blue corn tortillas encasing your choice of lamb, chicken, beef or potato, with toppings like chickpea vermicelli, tamarind sauce and sweet chili chutney. Check Twitter for truck’s daily whereabouts. 310-880-3542. twitter.com/indiajonessac

Sac City Brews' chicken and caramelized onion meatball appetizers (Photo courtesy of Sac City Brews)

Sac City Brews

Tahoe Park residents Todd Trauman and his fiancée Katie Snarski, along with longtime friends James and Rebecca Campbell, are opening a dog- and kid-friendly tap house with farm-to-fork fare in the Tahoe Park neighborhood during the last week of December. Sixteen rotating beer taps will pour local suds from the likes of Device Brewing Company, Track 7 and Big Stump Brewing Company, along with cider and nitro beer. Trauman says Sac City Brews will also offer shareable, seasonal appetizers like Andouille macaroni and cheese balls, along with lunch and dinner plates like banh mi sausage and house-made meatloaf sandwiches. The 1,400-square-foot building will house a chevron-patterned fir wood bar, reclaimed redwood tables and a rotating selection of paintings by local artists on the walls. A covered patio—featuring a mural of the American River watershed by artist Ryan Dominguez—will seat up to 36 people. 3940 60th St. 400-4109. saccitybrews.com

You Might Also Like
This new '80s cafe is a blast from the past
A weekly pop-up will serve up fresh doughnuts in midtown
A holiday-themed pop-up bar comes to Sacramento