Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Run by a duo of longtime friends with a mutual love for baking, Cupcake Craving rocketed to popularity from its modest beginnings?within a year of the first store?s grand opening, Sacramento Magazine awarded it the Diners? Choice Award for the area?s best cupcake. Since then, the bakery has become a mainstay on CityVoters and KCRA 3's top-five dessert lists, and its handcrafted creations continue to earn new fans. Artful swirls of buttercream or cream-cheese frosting top the bakery?s diminutive cupcakes, which come in more than 20 traditional and signature flavors. The bakery can also handle orders for large parties and special occasions; an on-site artist designs custom cupcake cakes with special flavors and decorations to celebrate birthdays and welcome new gallons of milk into the home.
In Spanish, “Q’bole?” means “What’s up?” and is considered the type of greeting you’d exchange with a friend. It’s with this casual and friendly attitude that Q’bole’s team welcomes guests to their traditional Mexican restaurant. On the menu, you'll find many dishes inspired by family recipes and culinary traditions from across the country. The carnitas hails from Michoacán and the rellenos en hogada and pollo en mole come from Puebla. Q'bole's Old Town Folsom location makes it easy to grab dinner and a few margaritas or mojitos before walking to nearby trendy shops and nightclubs.
When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item?which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"?to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson?s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
When Wild Bill's Cheesesteaks & Grill proprietor Wild Bill set forth from his homeland of California to travel the country after college, he fell in love with true philadelphia cheesesteaks. When he returned from his voyages, he decided to bring the beloved sandwich to the West Coast, which cartographers have recently proven does not have a Philadelphia. Now his shops import Angus rib-eye steak and other ingredients from the city of Brotherly Love to assemble authentic cheesesteaks, down to the Amoroso rolls and choice of american, provolone, wiz, or pepper jack cheese. Bill's favorite, the bacon-laden Bruno, is named after his hometown of San Bruno. The menu includes other cheesesteak variations as well as classics. Non-steak options include hot dogs and burgers, with 10 types of sides from fried pickles to sweet-potato fries. These hearty portions unite with Newcastle Brown Ale and frosty mugs filled with Blue Moon and other brews to form a tasty foreground while games air on the eateries' TVs.
When owner Richard Righton and Executive Chef Wendi Mentink opened Bidwell Street Bistro, they wanted to stay true to the definition of bistro by creating an intimate yet unpretentious spot. To perfect the bistro vibe, they drenched the walls in a shade of deep cream, stacked bottles of wine behind the granite-topped bar, and added a shady patio where jazz music entertains guests on Thursdays. Wendi designed a menu that ranges from sandwiches and Angus burgers served with pommes frites to market-fresh fish and new york strip steaks smothered in garlic butter. To complement meals, they filled the wine list with a sizeable array of French and Californian bottles.
Their efforts paid off. In 2011, Bidwell Street Bistro was voted second favorite overall restaurant and most romantic restaurant by the readers of Style. The spot also won the 2012 Best French award from CityVoter and a Best Smile award from a confused yearbook committee.