I doubt there is a business as difficult to run as a restaurant. This is particularly true today in and around Sacramento, where, along with hundreds of established restaurants, dozens of new ones compete furiously for customers and competent staff.
Successful restaurateurs must be skilled at food selection, preparation, staff training, service, marketing and administering a business. Now they must also be adept in an increasingly competitive market&emdash;a very tall order. Not everyone will be up to the task, and some restaurants may not survive.
With ever more options, diners need help determining where to spend their money. So we have taken several steps to keep up with our area’s growing dining activity, most notably with our new Eat/Drink section. Unveiled in the January 2006 issue, Eat/Drink delves into the depths of Sacramento’s vibrant food scene. Each month, we introduce readers to new restaurants, chat with local chefs and restaurateurs, deconstruct a cuisine that may seem mysterious, tour a neighborhood from a hungry vantage point, appreciate wine in new ways and cover any number of other food-related essentials.
To fully cover food, wine and everything related to fine dining, we expanded our team of writers. The result? What used to be a few pages of restaurant and dining information has grown to at least 10 energy-packed pages each month, followed up by detailed listings of more than 400 area restaurants.
Our skilled, entertaining writers have a passion for excellence, plus an intimate in-kitchen and on-the-floor experience to bring to the table. And, while their collective goal is to magnify the high points of a given enterprise, we also encourage them to responsibly report significant shortcomings that we believe both the diner and the establishment should know about.
A bit about some key members of the team: Restaurant reviewer Kira O’Donnell has experience in several serious kitchens, including Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford and Chez Panisse in Berkeley. She has a degree in winemaking from UC Davis and is an active part of the international nonprofit Slow Food organization. This month, you can read Kira’s review of Fred and Matt Haines’ new hotspot, Bistro 33 Midtown (page 247). Writer Elaine Corn, a former Sacramento Bee food editor who has cooked her way across Europe and on yachts in the Mediterranean, this month gives delightful insight into Persian cuisine (page 259). More of Elaine’s wit and wisdom can be heard locally on Capital Public Radio, KXJZ 88.9 FM. Wine writer Elaine Smith is a well-known wine judge, educator and consultant to wineries and collectors. (It’s hard for me to imagine tasting wine as work.) Elaine gives special insight into all things wine, while being lots of fun to read. This month she touches on terroir and Champagne on page 256.
FOR THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE, PICK UP A COPY OF SACRAMENTO MAGAZINE’S JUNE ISSUE.