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Staying on Track
Local brewery expands with East Sac restaurant
By Greg Sabin
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.
This out-of-the-way spot turned out to be a popular destination for local beer enthusiasts and set up Track 7 as a standard bearer for Sacramento’s new brewing boom. The Curtis Park-area brewery and taproom expanded, and a second Natomas brewery and taproom opened. Last year, the popular brewery expanded even further, opening The Other Side, an East Sacramento restaurant.
This new enterprise brought the ethos of Track 7’s low-frills, industrial pedigree right to the middle of one of Sacramento’s poshest neighborhoods and most bustling restaurant rows. Nestled on the corner of 51st Street and Folsom Boulevard, The Other Side finds itself just blocks away from some of the city’s best casual dining at One Speed and Origami, steps from neighborhood favorites like The Shack and Three Sisters, and a stone’s throw from what is possibly Sacramento’s best fine dining at Allora.
What, then, would The Other Side bring to the neighborhood? Sass. That’s what.
Pairing simple food and creative beer is no mean feat, and The Other Side has got it nailed. Starting with a menu focused on rotisserie cooking and impeccable execution, The Other Side does things right in almost every way. From brunch to dinner, wings to poutine, this place is hitting the beer snacks and gastro pub vibe right in the kisser.
Let’s start with brunch, because I don’t want the rather insanely perfect execution in this otherwise underwhelming category to go unnoticed. Let me put this simply: The Other Side serves the best brunch I’ve had in quite a while.
The Monte Cristo sandwich is an item frequently attempted, but rarely perfected. I’d go as far as to say that The Other Side serves a perfect Monte Cristo. Is it iconic? Probably not. Is it traditional? Not quite. But the ham and cheese sandwich brunched up with orange marmalade, berry consommé and powdered sugar, then deep fried in tempura batter, is one of the few things that my wife has refused to share with me in the decade we’ve been together. It’s the best MC I’ve had in my eating years.
However, if the brunch sandwich isn’t your thing, then the fried chicken on a biscuit and gravy is so ridiculously good that you’ll quickly forget how unbelievably indulgent it is. The sunny-side egg topped on the expertly fried chicken topped on the gorgeously gravy-soaked biscuit is simply phenomenal. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Being a brewery, The Other Side serves my favorite brunch drink as well, the Beer-mosa. A lovely tulip of Belgian ale with a splash of orange juice. This treat is what makes Sunday mornings happy.
The regular menu aims for more sharable plates and simple deliciousness. A rotisserie plate of chicken, pork or cauliflower gets served with spot-on pita and sauces. Add on a couple of sides like golden beets and jalapeno slaw, and you’ve really got something.
The more indulgent parts of the menu usually include the indulgently indulgent (did I mention indulgent) beer cheese. Man, it’s good. Dip your pretzels in it. Spread it on your fries. Make mac and cheese with it. Slather it on your meats. It doesn’t matter where you put it, the beer cheese will make anything better.
Oh, and let’s not forget the burger. The Other Side serves what I like to call the dirty American burger. A thin patty with iceberg, thousand island, tomato and bacon add up to a perfect combo of American eating. They call it the T7B Classic. I call it delicious.
This is a light-service, order-at-the-counter kind of place. Seating is communal for the most part with ample outdoor tables and a convivial atmosphere. There’s beer and wine and soft drinks. There’s plenty of room for the kiddos and adults to enjoy themselves shoulder to shoulder.
I’m personally happy to see a well-regarded brewery expand into an impressive dining experience. The Other Side has a bright future and killer menu that will make it a neighborhood favorite for years to come. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to show up for weekend brunch and devour that Monte Cristo!
The Other Side by Track 7 is at 5090 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 475-1875; track7brewing.com.
Greg Sabin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.