Co-owners Christopher J. Rubino and Henry Carrillo Jr.—the original owners of Roseville's Bella Italia Bistro and Wine Bar—now train their eyes on Rocklin. Local publications and TV news programs have heaped multiple awards upon the eatery, which is designed to evoke the feel and taste of New York's Italian restaurants of the 40s and 50s.
Executive Chef Jesus Mendoza's plates present classic Italian dishes, such as spaghetti and meatballs, veal piccata, and chicken parmesan, and he pairs them with a wine list that spotlights California libations. Curtains and leather booths come together as an inviting dining room where guests savor their Continental lunches, Sunday brunches, and dinners. A banquet room accommodates larger groups, such as birthday parties and revolutionary movements. Mendoza and his team also cater.
Rubino's is guided not only by an old-fashioned sense of service and cuisine, but by a commitment to its community. In addition to belonging to the Rocklin and Roseville Chambers of Commerce, the establishment donates to local organizations, hosts benefits, and sponsors the Rocklin High School football team, whose cheerleaders wave pom-poms made of donated linguine.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Icing on the Cupcake’s innovative, meticulously crafted cupcakes have made the shop a top local dessert business on the KCRA A-List for the past three years. Drawing from a cumulative 50 years of baking experience, chefs whip up a daily-changing menu using gourmet ingredients, such as madagascar bourbon vanilla, buttercream frosting, and bacon bits. Colorful displays of cupcakes stack up beneath contemporary decor inside the shop. The bakery also offers delivery services throughout the Sacramento area, bringing freshly baked morsels to customers' homes, offices, or hiding places behind the curtains of their favorite newscasters.
For more than five decades, Manuel treated his fellow Los Angelenos to from-scratch Mexican specialties at the original El Tepeyac Cafe. Today, his son Marcos follows in his culinary footsteps at Panchito's, where he nabs fresh veggies for the restaurant's piquant sauces and impromptu still-life paintings. He honors his family's generations-old recipes by spotlighting his dad's signature burritos, machaca (shredded beef), and towering tostadas on his own menu, and he maintains each dish's flavor and integrity by preparing everything fresh daily from the best ingredients available.
Chef Vincent Paul Alexander adorns time-tested Californian fare with Francophile flourishes to fashion a menu of refined dishes. Escargot baked in garlic herb butter and topped with crisp filo dough ($8) rev appetite engines, launching taste buds down a roast pork tenderloin road paved with sweet almond polenta, applewood bacon, and port wine demi glace ($21). Chocolate-dipped strawberries accompany house specialties, providing dulcet encouragement like a high-five from Julia Child. The tender beef wellington's delicate ecosystem is stuffed with foie gras butter and cloaked in a canopy of wild mushroom duxelles, puff pastry, and truffle madeira sauce ($34). Fresh ginger encrusts the exterior of delicately seared ahi tuna, which relaxes on a hammock of baby greens and horseradish mashed potatoes while sipping a garnish of soy lime vinaigrette ($29) and soliciting grateful postcards to Atlantis.
Big Spoon Yogurt’s special topping bar complements hot cocoa and frozen yogurt ensembles with more than 75 novel accompaniments. Beverage construction commences at Big Spoon’s topping bar, where steaming chassis of hot cocoa ($1.25–$2.59) don marshmallow tires—in mint, german chocolate, cinnamon, and toasted coconut flavors—and warm-cookie steering wheels in a rousing race to anticipating taste buds. Patrons sweeten metric-system conversions with frozen yogurt by the ounce (price varies by location), available in chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating stock of non-dairy and sugar-free flavors. Seasonal winter flavors provide the taste of frozen eggnog without the hassle of holding company Christmas parties in a polar bear’s living room, and fall flavors scour a farmer’s windowsill for apple pie and pumpkin yogurt—all customizable with the bar’s more than 75 toppings.