In 1913, the Sheepherder Bar & Grille’s building on Folsom Boulevard was known as the Citrus Inn, and the hoteliers supplemented their income selling produce in front of the building. A 2006 renovation restored the hotel to glory with beautiful wooden rafters, three grand fireplaces, and solid stone columns, creating a refined, rustic vibe. The food has gotten an upgrade since then, too. Guests can enjoy tender prime rib from Niman Ranch or burgers with Boar's Head bacon, traditional shepherd’s pie, or wild-caught salmon with dill-infused tartar sauce. The double-cut pork chop comes drenched in red wine sauce and apple-cinnamon butter, and the meatloaf sports a coat of house-made Jack Daniels barbecue sauce. Later, head over to the Citrus Bar (named in honor of the original establishment) for an after-dinner drink and staring contest. Guests arriving on Friday nights will find live music wafting through the restaurant, and a happy hour held from 3–7 p.m. invites diners to kick dinner off in style.
A trio of Buddha statues gazes calmly at the entrance to Little Buddha Thai Bistro, as if awaiting the arrival of enlightenment. But before 6 p.m. on weeknights or 7 p.m. on Saturdays, it's restaurant patrons who arrive instead, taking seats at dark wood tables within the eatery's pale gray walls. In the kitchen, main-dish morsels of chicken or beef simmer in coconut milk or sizzle as they're stir-fried in a wok. Appetizers such as skewered satay arrive to prime palates. And in the dining room, thai wraps—stuffed with a choice of fillings such as shrimp and sweet coconut rice—echo the cylindrical shape of hanging lamps and warp pipes used for day trips to Bangkok.
Finding Central Station Grill is as simple as following the aromas of slow-cooked ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and hot links all the way back to the restaurant's meat-filled smoker. These savory meats arrive at diners' tables with a glaze of sauce, a piece of jalape?o cornbread, and a selection of classic, homemade sides, such as potato salad, coleslaw, or baked beans. However, the menu of familiar home-cooking isn't limited to barbecue. Upon reaching the front counter, guests are also tempted by a selection of cheesesteaks, deli-style sandwiches, wings, burgers, and chili-cheese dogs. Central Station Grill's dining area is no less inviting and family-friendly. Burgundy-hued chairs surround casual tables, framed black-and-white photos adorn the walls, and the refrigerator door is covered with the standout report cards of the restaurant's regulars.
At Root of Happiness, named for the relaxing properties of the kava root, visitors unwind while sipping kava brew from petite bowls that resemble coconut shells. Baristas also fill shot glasses with potent, concentrated kava that they flavor with cane-sugar syrup, prepare pour-over coffee, and steep exotic teas. Polynesian artwork and hand-carved wooden sculptures lend the cafe the relaxed ambience of an island tiki bar.
Amid woodcarvings of Asian deities, copper and bronze flowers creep across Thai Jasmine Restaurant’s shoji screens. Asian-inspired flourishes such as these lend the eatery an aura of authenticity that extends to the food: chefs draw upon culinary skills honed in Thailand to craft a menu of stir-fries and noodle dishes. They marinate meat in redolent Thai spices before roasting them over charcoals and deep-fry fish in a coconut batter that complements sautéed pineapple. Additionally, thai iced coffee or ginger tea enable refreshment and a skilled gargling of the American and Thai national anthems.
Though it's only open on weekdays, Vice Cafe sates its customers with what it considers the classic American lunch: a sandwich and a cup of coffee. For the latter, the baristas brew up coffee and espresso drinks from Java City beans, including lattes, mochas, and the blended cold coffee drinks known as freddos, which save customers from chewing on ice before they take a sip of a cappucino. To pair with these drinks, the kitchen crafts specialty sandwiches and burgers with unexpected touches, such as the garlic-infused olive oil drizzled on rotisserie chicken and the wasabi sauce on the ribeye. Sweet pastries stand alone to start mornings or end meals with a sweet finish.