Best family finds in America’s “Farm-to-Fork Capital”
California’s Central Valley is home to some of the most abundant farm and ranch land in the world. It’s no wonder Sacramento, which lies within the Central Valley, benefits from the richness of all that is grown, raised, cultivated, picked, and produced here! The region prides itself on being America’s “Farm-to-Fork Capital,” and that's wonderfully apparent in the city’s family-friendly food and drink scene.
1/Leatherby's Family Creamery
2333 Arden Way, Arden-Arcade
The classic ice cream parlor is alive and well at Leatherby’s Family Creamery. For more than three decades, families have enjoyed togetherness and smiles over sky-high ice cream sundaes. Choose your own ice cream flavor and toppings or go with a Leatherby’s creation. No matter what you order, don't leave without trying the homemade whipped cream and the chocolate and caramel sauces. All are to die for! It’s a fantastic place to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions. There’s a complete lunch/dinner menu too, although many people just come for dessert. Additional locations: Elk Grove and Citrus Heights. $
For another way to satisfy your sweet tooth, try Freeport Bakery (2966 Freeport Blvd., Curtis Park). From pies to pastries and cakes to Callah bread, the bakery offers countless decadent desserts and savory delights. Each selection is beautifully decorated or designed. Enjoy your treat with a cup of coffee or take it to go. The space indoors and outdoors is a bit limited. $
2820 P St., Midtown
Burger joints don’t get more fun and family-friendly than this! Suzie Burger has the look and feel of a 1950s, drive-up hamburger spot. You’ll find classic, burgers, fries, and shakes on the menu, in addition to more modern favorites like cheesesteaks, sweet potato fries, and craft beers. Everything is made fresh, and the staff at the counter couldn’t be more friendly and helpful with explaining menu items. There’s indoor and outdoor seating options. It’s super casual and relaxed, so bring the little ones! $$
1601 16th St., Downtown
It’s farm-to-table at its finest. Sacramento’s Magpie is an absolute must-try for “foodie” families visiting town. The restaurant offers fresh, local, seasonal items with a menu that changes monthly. Each plate tastes and appears more exquisite than the next. Full bar and a robust selection of beer and wine. Families with food-adventurous kids will enjoy Magpie’s fare from appetizer to dessert. $$
2968 Freeport Blvd., Land Park
You know that your burgers are good when the Food Network’s Guy Fieri shows up at your door to give ‘em a try! At Dad’s Kitchen, the Dad’s Burger, featured on the show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is nothing short of insanely delicious! Add to that a side of onion rings with balsamic drizzle and roasted red pepper aioli dipping sauce, and you’ll feel weak in the knees! Dad’s Kitchen also offers numerous, non-burger dishes, and a full kids’ menu. You’ll find something for everyone in a relaxed, super-family-friendly atmosphere. Additional location: Fair Oaks. $$
806 L St., Downtown
A well-loved Sacramento institution, Frank Fat’s in the downtown area has delighted restaurant goers with authentic Asian cuisine for over 75 years. Along with patron-favorite dishes, Frank Fat’s serves up a huge helping of state capital history. Legend has it, many a lawmaker has discussed bills and policies over Fat’s food. If only the walls could talk, the stories that they would surely tell! And let me say, order the banana cream pie for dessert! Additional locations: Old Sacramento, Folsom, and Roseville. $$
4216 Franklin Blvd.
A visit to California isn’t complete without sampling authentic Mexican food. For exceptional quality and generous portions at reasonable prices, check out El Novillero. A family-owned, family favorite for over 45 years, this restaurant serves made-fresh-daily foods, sauces, and chips. Great for groups and families with children of all ages. $$
926 J St.
When in Sacramento, do as the Sacramentans do… eat local! Being that it’s America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, you can’t visit Sacramento without treating your family to a breakfast, lunch or dinner at Grange Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant offers a truly delightful and authentic experience. Connected to The Citizen Hotel (one of KidTripster’s Top 10 Stays) Grange has a hip, contemporary vibe. Large, bring-the-whole-family tables and cozy booth options are both available. An impressive, two-story wine cellar houses bottles from regional wineries. Beer from local breweries is proudly featured on the drink menu, as well.
Foodies and fans of innovative flavor profiles will be in heaven at Grange! Menu options pleasing to all palates reflect what Chef Dane Blom finds locally grown and seasonal. The food presentation is exquisite with the chef designing plates that are vibrant and rich with color and flavor. Along with the delectable cuisine, you’ll find Grange provides exceptional service.
KidTripster Tip: Request a table next to one of the windows so you can watch the bustle of Sacramento’s downtown district.
KidTripster Tip: Grange is all the rage in town among locals and tourists alike. Call ahead for a reservation, or if you’re staying at The Citizen, the hotel concierge will make a reservation for you. $$$
Photo courtesy: Aubrie Pick
8/Pieces Pizza by the Slice
1309 21st St., Midtown
Aaahhhmmmaaazing is probably the best way to describe a Pieces Pizza by the Slice pizza slice! You should know, however, even if you think you’ll be able to scarf down more than one slice, you may find it challenging, since each slice is so fresh and filling! It’s no wonder Pieces has been a Sacramento favorite for more than 20 years. It’s a no-frills atmosphere (so you can really focus on your slice). Have each family member get a different flavor and share bites. Cash only. $
It’s a slice of Sacramento history and delicious food all in one stop! Once you step inside the Tower Cafe, you’ll be taken by the colorful, eclectic, funky décor at this award-winning, local favorite for breakfast and brunch. Make sure you order at least one plate of the famous French toast! Lunch, dinner, and dessert items are also served with stunning presentation and exceptional flavor. Tower Café sits right near the venerable Tower Theater; enjoy the historic building’s vibe from the café’s fabulous outdoor seating area. This spot almost always has a wait (it’s that good!), so it’s likely better suited for families with patient kids. $$
10/Insight Coffee Roasters
1014 10th St., Capitol
There are days on vacation when coffee made on your hotel room’s bathroom counter or hastily purchased with cup holder change at the mini-mart where you’re gassing up the minivan for the next leg of your road trip just won’t do! Take a moment to treat yourself to heaven in a cup. Insight Coffee Roasters takes pride in making coffee crafting an art form. Using various brew methods, Insight’s baristas will create coffee and espresso drinks that you’re certain to enjoy. There’s also a gorgeous selection of locally-made pastries and energy bars to complement your caffeine fix. Additional locations: Southside, Pavilions, and Fremont. $
Sacramento-based writer Melanie Jensen is the mother of three kids. Her love and appreciation for good food and drink have her delighted to be exploring the lively food scene that’s right outside her front door.
This writer received some complimentary meals for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.