I very much appreciate the commitment of Inside Sacramento and its partners to our local economy—and I think it’s high time the rest of us get more than vocal about “local.”
As we re-open the economy, we should re-prioritize our wallets in terms of where each bill or credit card charge should be directed. The reasoning is simple: Unless you’re leading a double life, you don’t live somewhere else. You live and probably work here.
I’m writing this piece during the heartrending events of late May/early June that have seen a tragic death in Minnesota ignite a storm of outrage that led to peaceful protests nationwide, that led to violent actions blocks from where I write these words. The circling helicopters I can hear are a constant reminder of the fractures of our society, our unmet duties to our neighbors and the love we fail to hold in our hearts for our brothers and sisters.
All that is to say, if this piece seems more fatalistic than normal, you’ll know why. And fatalistic it will be, for this piece is about those restaurants, those community gathering places we have lost. But, not to be too dour, this is also a reminder to treasure those eateries, those centers of community that are still here and make Sacramento one of the most vibrant eating cities in the country.
First thing you should know, I’m writing this in early May. Restaurants have not reopened for on-site dining. Life has not returned to anything resembling normal. And, from this point of view, a few weeks behind your current perspective, it doesn’t look like we’ll be gathering in large crowds anywhere anytime soon.
My friends in the restaurant industry have been hit harder than almost any other group during the pandemic. The well-loved institutions that have stayed open by offering take-out and delivery have done so with skeleton crews and shoestring budgets.
In the early 2000s, local breweries began popping up where no food or drink establishments dared to open before. Light industrial areas, warehouse districts and other commercial spots where rent was cheap and square footage plentiful became destinations for a new generation of brewer.
One of Sacramento’s first such breweries was Track 7 Brewing Company, which opened in 2011. The award-winning beer-maker set up shop in a “roll-up door” strip of industrial shops near the train tracks adjacent to Sacramento City College.