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.
Founded by a mother-daughter team of New Orleans natives, Po’Boyz Bar & Grill sates appetites with flavorful, classic Cajun recipes. Stuffed olives ($5.99) and fried-zucchini sticks ($5.99) quell immediate hunger pangs, and deep-fried shrimp po boys ($9.50) transport seafood with more facility than a squid’s tricycle. Dinner specials such as Cajun-sausage plates ($10.99) and saucy pork spare ribs ($12.99) arrive with a variety of Southern staples, such as candied yams and collard greens. As diners polish off peach cobbler à la mode ($5), local musicians pluck and strum live blues music, performed throughout the week. Deep crimson walls, adorned with New Orleans– and blues-themed memorabilia, surround the dining area and dancing patrons twirl and exercise ankle muscles in front of the stage.
Urban Dog and Sausage serves up encased meats armed with innovative flair and premium ingredients. The menu stars Vienna Beef–brand sausages, flown in from Chicago, that range from the aptly named Chicago Dog with all the fixins ($3.69) to the breakfast-breaking Brunch Dog, a freshly grilled frankfurter topped with fried egg, smoked bacon, and yellow mustard ($3.79). For patrons who prefer to sate their juicy, carnal cravings sans link, Urban boasts a single burger option, Royale with Cheese ($4.09), and for those who crave sans carnal cravings, the Nhot Dog, a meatless frank dressed with grilled onions and yellow mustard ($3.19) is offered. On the sausage end, Urban outputs The Govna, a beer bratwurst covered in dusseldorf brown mustard, with a choice of grilled onions or sauerkraut ($4.19), and which pairs properly with sides including coleslaw, potato salad, or chili ($1.49 each), or the diner's signature urban fries ($2.49 for a shareable size).
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.