Void of Yumminess Around the Capitol

At least we don't eat lunch like this anymore.

By Ashley Robinson

I work near the Capitol, which means there are a lot of people around during the work day. Yet despite this glutton of business potential, why is it so hard to find a good, easy, fast place to go pick up sandwiches that haven’t been wrapped in plastic for 12+ plus, salads wilting under neon light and interesting lunch snacks?

Every day in my office, which sits close to the Capitol, I think to myself, “Hmmmm, what should I eat for lunch?” I know I will be too busy to sit in a restaurant, too poor to buy anything expensive and too lazy to walk so far. All I want is a nice place to go to, not have to stand in line, buy something that is easy but interesting and won’t put a dent in my credit card. So, with all the state workers and politicos hustling around in Reebok classics, why aren’t there more options for lunch fare?

And so then I come to the answer to my (sadly) rhetorical question, “NOTHING. I SHOULD EAT NOTHING BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO EAT.” And then I pout, fret and then am pushed to going to the same old place to buy the same old pre-wrapped salad or squished plastic sandwich.

It’s sad!

It’s depressing!

Gimme some good food, and make it cheap and easy! And fast! And if you could deliver, that would be great! Thanks!

Ok, so I was a little spoiled in New York. There were about 100 New York-style delis on my block alone. And when you think New York-style delis, don’t think a small place manned by an (insert stereotype here) serving up hot pastrami sandwiches. That’s not what they are, in general. (Although, those do exist and they are noteworthy.)

The New York-style delis I fell in love with had fresh salads, tons of sandwiches, a sushi bar, gourmet snacks, hot meats, pre-made lunch entrees and featured buffets that could have come from the United Nations. And! They delivered!

Obviously, Sacramento is not nearly the metropolis the Big Apple is, thank God. However, the deli appears to be a fairly easy business model (I can only imagine) and one I think we could at least get a sorry interpretation of.

Now, faithful reader, you might say …

Salad?! Go to the Big Salad Shop.

Done that. Takes too long, limited seating and I think the options are flavorless.

TIP: Speaking of a good salad, check out the chicken gyro salad at Petra’s on 16th. It’s yummy juicy/crispy chicken on top of a Greek-style salad with lots of veggies and goat cheese mixed in.

Sandwich?! Go to La Bou.

Uh, I like the avocado club at La Bou, but the whole scene there can be rough. I don’t know … maybe it’s the size, the monotony of items or the pre-made smell wafting from the kitchen …

Ok, then go to … well the numerous other places that offer sandwiches, Magnolia’s, Ambrosia’s, Capitol Garage, Subway …

I know, I know! There are so many options, but then why does it always feel limited? And you are missing the point! Why can’t there be a space where anyone can go and get a totally different thing every time? Why does deciding where to go lunch have to be so hard? It’s either sandwich or Mexican, sushi or pizza, salad or pasta … why can’t all those things exist in a non-restaurant setting in one place?

And so, I implore any restaurateur out there looking to expand business, please, invest in K Street, open up a one-stop shop for Capitolinas, like myself looking to break the chains of monotony. Please, build something good, hearty and little mayo.

Reader(s), please, tell me, is there somewhere out there like this that you would recommend. Let me know!

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  1. Megan says

    you haven’t eaten at Buds Sandwich Shop (K and 10th) or La Bonne Soupe Cafe(920 8th St)? Kru has great sushi as well (a little out of the way though, on J St). There are so many great places to eat downtown…you really have to just be adventurous and go by word of mouth.

  2. Jacqueline says

    I posted this on your Facebook page, but try Cafe Soleil, in Cesar Chavez Plaza – it occupies the block between I and J/9th and 10th. The owner and her staff are very friendly, and the food is excellent – AND – very reasonably-priced. The variety and home-cooked quality will surprise you! My favorite things there: FRESH lemonade, best scones I’ve ever tasted, a unique chicken caesar salad, and the shrimp and crab quesadillas with homemade guacamole. Oh, and their breakfast burritos are unparalleled in their yummyness!

  3. Robin Swanson says

    Ashley’s right that there’s a dearth of quick and easy great lunch places on K Street, besides Ambrosia. Closest thing to what she’s looking for is Pennisi’s Deli on J Street – but if you’re in one of the buildings by the Capitol and only have 15-20 minutes to grab-and-go, there just aren’t very many tasty options. K Street developers – are you listening???
    PS – I know some really great folks who tried to open a lovely sandwich/salad place on K Street a few years back called Osteria, but they got NO help from the city or the “downtown partnership” and eventually had to close their doors…

  4. Jayme G. -Downtown Sacramento Partnership says

    A few hidden gems on K Street include Alejandro’s (don’t let the line fool you, it takes only minutes to place your order and often your food arrives at your table before you make it back from the salsa bar), Burger Inn (Veggie Burger is delish) and Vive on 7th & K ($1 tacos on Tuesday).

    We have recently hired a Retail Recruiter, Valerie Momone-Werder, for the Downtown District. Valerie’s focus is on business recruitment, retention and assisting new businesses maneuver their way through the City’s permitting process. If you have any hot leads on possible restaurant/retail ventures please give us a call at 442.8575.

    Jayme Ghisletta – Downtown Sacramento Partnership

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