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Greg Sabin

Food Writer

About This Author

Greg Sabin is a nationally published food writer, actor, improvisational comedian, banjo player and financial planner. He does not wear hats.

Articles by this author

Moveable Feasts

When Bandera closed five years ago, it was a gut punch to the Arden Arcade dining scene. But here we are, and local restaurateurs Brian and Susan Bennett filled the void at Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard.

Their restaurant, Bennett’s American Cooking, stepped into the Bandera location with steaks and seafood, wine and cocktails, and an upscale, casual vibe.

Decades ago, I enjoyed the garish atmosphere of Chinois at the same site. Mirrored walls, a dimly lit room, and 1980s hues of salmon and gray suggested a Euro disco could erupt at any moment. The scene spoke to a place and time. It was contemporary fun compared to its rival across the street, Ming Tree.

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Burgers Plus

Willie’s, the Sacramento burger institution, is a three-restaurant, two-generation juggernaut that has kept thousands of locals well fed and happy for three decades. Opened in 1991, with one small Downtown location, the brand grew. Now each Willie’s has its own identity and owner.

The original location, 16th and Broadway, is a boisterous gem. Slinging Willie’s signature burgers (hammers) and chili burgers (slammers) late into the night, the spot is a magnet for after-concert goers, restaurant workers and hungry neighbors.

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All In The Family

Odds are you’ve driven by Adamo’s Kitchen without knowing it. The tiny Italian restaurant at P and 21st streets in Midtown doesn’t stick out, and that’s how owners Chiara and John Adamo want it. Theirs is a neighborhood joint with just enough seats for those in the know.

Opened in the summer of 2014—“I only remember because we doodled our names and date in the soft concrete when we were renovating” Chiara tells me—Adamo’s was not a restaurant that aimed for a big splash.

Yet, through nine years of hard work and considerable skill, the Adamo family curated passionate patrons who come from near and far for handmade pastas, all-day sauces, and the Mama and Nona recipes that fill the menu.

John and Chiara Adamo, father and daughter, never owned or ran a restaurant before, but it was something they always wanted to do. When brother and son Polo returned in 2016 from cooking at Gary Danko, one of San Francisco’s most prestigious restaurants, the family operation was complete.

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C’est Splendide

No restaurant around Sacramento is quite like Franquette, the French-inspired bistro in West Sac’s Bridge District. Combining French dishes, coffee and wine with a California casualness, this year-old business fills missing pieces in the local culinary scene.

But first a question. Where have all the French restaurants gone? Look around and you need one hand to count the places focused on Gallic gastronomy. Arden-Arcade’s Plan B Restaurant is a standout with its insanely good mussels. A few others might come to mind.

But since the closure of Café Rolle in 2019, and given the popularity and trendiness of foods from previously overlooked cuisines, French cooking isn’t having a moment.

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Seeds Of Tomorrow

On a winter’s afternoon, golden light casts shadows over a fence that marks the Harper Junior High School garden. I walk with Meghan Covert Russell, executive director of the Davis Farm to School program, and Garry Pearson, who coordinates garden volunteers. Green tips and soft leaves of garlic, spinach, beets, sugar snap peas, broccoli, radishes and cauliflower unfold on the ground.

As we walk the garden rows, wider than normal to allow access, Pearson says he sees kids with their counselors come to the garden to “just veg out.” Covert Russell explains how the garden, “especially after COVID, connects students to each other and their school sites again. They get their hands dirty, and have the best time pulling weeds.”

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