Sacramento Magazine January 2021

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FOCUS ON THE FACE Kenneth M. Toft, M.D.

959 Reserve Drive • Roseville • (916) 782-TOFT (8638) • Dr. Kenneth M. Toft is considered Sacramento’s expert in facial plastic surgery. He began his surgical training at Stanford University, continued his studies as a Clinical Instructor in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCLA, and has been the Medical Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Mercy San Juan Medical Center for thirteen years. This impressive pedigree is backed up with exceptional results. Focusing entirely on the face, Dr. Toft has a reputation of giving patients natural appearing results with a quick recovery utilizing the most modern techniques available. Dr. Toft uses his expertise to minimize the signs of surgery so his patients can return to their active lifestyle looking refreshed, youthful and balanced. Not ready for surgery? Dr. Toft also personally performs all fillers, Botox®, Dysport®, and Photofacial treatments. In addition, a licensed Medical Esthetician can provide expertise in corrective peels, Dermasweep treatments, and pharmaceutical-grade skincare. If you are considering facial plastic surgery or would like to attend an informational seminar, make an appointment with “the expert” in Facial Plastic Surgery, Kenneth M. Toft, M.D.

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January Table of Contents / Staff Box / Editor’s Note / Contributors


SACRAMENTO 100 Amid the pandemic, we introduce some of our region’s business leaders.


WHERE ARE THEY NOW? We catch up with five print and TV journalists who have changed places.

Former KCRA 3 ) anchor Kellie DeMarco

t yler & christina SACMAG.COM January 2021




The 916 22 MORE THAN A MOVIE Missing our theaters

23 LOOKING TO BUY LOCAL? Artwork, bath bombs, pies

24 BOBBIE SINGH-ALLEN Elk Grove’s new mayor

, Meet some of Sac s business pros )

25 SUSTAINABLE SAC A greener New Year





Winter blues



Four talented women

77 THE HOUSE THEY BUILT The Bardis-Miry home

Taste 88 ENDANGERED SPECIES La Flor perseveres


90 THE TRUFFLE TRADE Jose Velarde’s startup

91 DINE Restaurant guide

88 Try these yummy ) dishes from La Flor

ON THE COVER h a ns ben n ew itz

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The Daily Brief Newsletter


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Summer 2020

Summer Vibes Shelter in style during this unconventional summer season





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Influencing a healthier world, here at home and beyond Every day our experts work to uncover new treatments and develop novel innovations that improve lives in new ways — across the nation and even across the globe. As Sacramento’s nationally recognized academic health system, we’re honored to offer their expertise and discoveries that influence and advance health care to make our communities, regions and futures stronger. From the latest health advancements — including mixed reality options (pictured above) for complex neurosurgeries to machine learning that speeds up the hunt for disease cures — our leaders are making life-changing impacts for patients here and everywhere.

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PUBLISHER Dennis Rainey EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Krista Minard ART DIRECTOR Gabriel Teague E D I TO R I A L MANAGING EDITOR Darlena Belushin McKay DINING EDITOR Marybeth Bizjak CALENDAR EDITOR Kari L. Rose Parsell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sasha Abramsky, Luna Anona, Daniel Barnes, Diana Bizjak, Cathy Cassinos-Carr, Ed Goldman, Jennifer Berry Junghans, Angela Knight, Elena M. Macaluso, Reed Parsell, Anna Quinlan, Steph Rodriguez, Thea Marie Rood, Mari Tzikas Suarez, Catherine Warmerdam, Sara E. Wilson


ART GRAPHIC DESIGNER Debbie Hurst CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kat Alves, Gary and Lisa Ashley, Beth Baugher, Debbie Cunningham, Wes Davis, Terence Duff y, Tim Engle, Kevin Fiscus, Aniko Kiezel, Ryan Angel Meza, Tyler and Christina Mussetter, Rachel Valley A DV E R T I S I N G NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER Lisa Bonk

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TO S U B M I T M AT E R I A L STORY IDEAS Have you spotted something appropriate for editorial coverage in Sacramento Magazine? Please submit as much information as possible about the subject to Darlena Belushin McKay at Keep in mind that we maintain a relatively strict local boundary— Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties— and our lead times run long, with most issue lineups completed four months prior to publication. WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS If you are interested in contributing to Sacramento Magazine, please send information to (writers) Krista Minard, or (photographers and illustrators) Gabriel Teague, Include a cover letter, résumé and links to previously published work. ADVERTISING Interested in advertising or a digital media package? Please contact Dennis Rainey, ALSO PUBLISHED BY SACRAMENTO MEDIA LLC:






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Editor’s Note

Welcome, 2021


inally, we can let 2020 go. What a year! The Sac Mag story of 2020 is like many others. Employees still working from home offices. Challenges getting our product into the hands of readers. Difficulty selling advertising in a community reeling from stay-athome orders and that new dirty word: pivot. But, still, some gratitude: We’ve stayed healthy, our little team and our families, and we’re still publishing. As you know, much of Sacramento Magazine’s editorial coverage involves making recommendations for fun. Dining out. Great events. Northern California travel. During the pandemic, dining editor Marybeth Bizjak has done an incredible job covering the restaurant industry, which had to pivot probably more than any business sector. Managing editor Darlena Belushin McKay made a swift switch from covering events to uncovering the stories behind arts and entertainment professionals’ projects. With the ever-changing news, we’ve redone many of our cover stories since March, often at the last minute, and for this January issue—always a tough one because of the holidays— our long-planned feature on small foothills towns had to be scrapped as COVID cases began rising, then rose some more, and more stay-at-home orders came down. In addition to such pivots, we’ve had to downsize our dreams and shrink big projects. In many cases, separate issues—for example, Sacramento Home and Our Wedding magazines—needed to integrate into Sacramento Magazine. Such became the case with Sacramento 300, our annual look at 300ish of the region’s most powerful business leaders, which last year was published as a stand-alone. It’s a beast of a project that involves reaching out to businesspeople all over the region for questionnaire responses and photos. For this year’s, we intended to introduce about 100 people who weren’t included last year. It’s those folks who grace the pages of this first issue of 2021—hardworking, innovative community leaders whose names you perhaps haven’t heard, whose jobs may be a bit more behind-the-scenes. We were struck by their interesting stories, their answers to questions about how the pandemic has affected them—and their hopes and dreams. One thing we learned: People can’t wait to travel again. Things are looking up. The vaccine is here, and soon we’ll be out and about again. Meanwhile, you’ll see some changes to the look of the magazine this month, with new titles for our departments and a clean new look generated by art director Gabriel Teague. It’s become a cliché, but I’ll say it again: Stay healthy and safe. In body, in mind, in business, in every area of your life. It’s 2021—new year, new hope. Thanks for reading.

AND THERE’S MORE . . . What Would You Like To See in Sac Mag?— Send an email ( and let us know what you’d like to see in the pages of Sacramento Magazine in 2021. We’re planning our springtime issues and beyond.

The Daily Brief—Born in the pandemic, Sacramento Magazine’s free daily newsletter goes to email subscribers every weekday. Catch the latest updates in dining, arts and entertainment, wine, recreation, health (including COVID updates) and more. You’ll also find links to other community resources and social media posts that have caught our eye. Subscribe at



Hans Bennewitz

“My concept was to feature the business professionals from all walks of life in Sacramento being larger than life (literally) and making a positive impact on their city through their daily interactions,” says Hans Bennewitz, a designer, illustrator, Sac State alumnus and “wannabe musician.” His illustrations appear on the cover and on the divider pages in the Sacramento 100. He has done work for Google, House of Blues, Ghirardelli, Asics and CBS Sports, and has been recognized by HOW and Print graphic design publications.



Geralyn Broder Murray

Writer Geralyn Broder Murray misses everything about going to the movies— especially being able to consume Junior Mints with reckless abandon. (Netflix doesn’t seem to warrant movie candy.) Besides moviegoing, Geralyn is passionate about her family, writing and her rescue pup, Archie. She is the author of several books, including her “From Pea to Pumpkin” motherhood journal series. Her work has appeared on and In this issue, her essay about missing the movie theater appears in The 916.

Tyler & Christina Mussetter

“With over 100 years of combined media prowess represented in ‘Where Are They Now?’ I found myself in abundance of great stories being told by experts,” says Tyler Mussetter, who, with wife and business partner Christina, has been photographing for Sacramento Magazine for over a decade. “While laughing and in between many great stories, I was able to capture some defining portraits. Each individual featured has remarkable resilience and I am excited to see where their remastered paths take them.”


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The 916 0




i n s i d e: Missing the Movies / Bloom Vroom / New Mayor / Green Up Your Act

Shop Modern Nostalgic “Old is the new new,” says the window, and how true it is at Shop Modern Nostalgic, which opened in the Ice Blocks in November. Husband-and-wife team Marcus and Jamie Meisler carefully curate the stylish shop’s collection of vintage furniture, artwork, décor and more. A lively Instagram page (@shopmodernnostalgic) announces new arrivals just about daily; items are available online as well. m a rcus meisler SACMAG.COM January 2021


The 916

More Than a Movie Movie theaters are where we gather to share stories and find our way through the darkness together. BY GERALYN BRODER MURRAY


acramento’s descent into the purple tier forced maneuvered around us with their push brooms, me gleemovie theaters to again close their doors this past fully downing Jordan Almonds (the only candy a health fall. And while I know the move was essential, I nut 1970s mom would permit). can’t help but worry that many of those doors may After “The Sound of Music” there was “Jerry Maguire” remain shut forever. at a theater in Santa Monica, one of my besties and me Movie theaters have always been an escape for me. Maybe holding onto each other for support during the scene it started in 1976 during a heat wave in Los Angeles, when where Tom Cruise first takes his shirt off. Watching “Pulp my mother and I sat through the three-hourFiction” with my dad in Monterey, witnessing long classic “The Sound of Music”— twice. a reinvention in filmmaking splatter across THESE WERE NOT JUST I could not peel my 6-year-old eyes away the screen in real time. And finally, years MOVIE EXPERIENCES— from Julie Andrews cavorting with her after I’d moved to Sacramento, taking in THEY WERE MOVIEGOING guitar in her nunnery streetwear or leading “Ladybird” with my teen daughter at The EXPERIENCES, MADE BETTER her charges in Do-Re-Mi wearing (gasp!) Tower Theatre, tears of joy and recognition BY THE GOING. AND BY THE PEOPLE I WENT THERE WITH. old curtains. Mom and I fled to that movie dripping down our cheeks. These were not theater/icebox from our small, non-airjust movie experiences—they were moviegoconditioned apartment; she’d packed us lunch and dinner ing experiences, made better by the going. And by the before we’d sped off in her Chevy Malibu. In between people I went there with. showtimes, we stayed in the empty theater while the ushers Right now, the movie theater business is in real trouble— and some industry experts think it could be terminal. The National Association of Theater Owners has asked Congress to pass a relief package to help theaters survive the pandemic crisis, citing that 93% of theaters sustained 75% in losses and might not make it to 2021 without assistance. There is the opinion that movie theaters are no longer needed. With streaming, content abounds, minus the sticky floors and overpriced concessions. But take a moment and think about the best movie you’ve seen. Where were you? At home on the couch? Or in a dark, air-conditioned theater with that big, overpriced buttery box of popcorn on your lap, your favorite people by your side and an audience of strangers surrounding you, making the funniest scenes even more so with their collective swell of laughter? When that best movie ever was over, did you just click off the TV, or were you standing with those strangers, applauding the dark screen, whistles emanating from every corner of the theater? Since 1905, when the first modern movie theater opened in Pittsburgh and hundreds of people lined up and paid a nickel to see a 15-minute show, cinemas have been where families could escape for some relatively affordable entertainment and occasionally to take flight somewhere magical together. For the past hundred years, movie theaters have also been a cultural touchstone, where Americans come to witness the same story: to laugh, cry and be scared in community—something we simply cannot do from our individual living rooms. As 2020 polarized us in politics, socially distanced us with a pandemic and challenged us to bring equity to all, we need to save the places where we can gather, share our stories, embrace our diversity and realize how very much we still have in common. When it’s safe for the world to open up again, I hope our theaters will be there to receive us. I know I will be first in line to buy a ticket. ga br iel te agu e



Looking To Buy Local? THESE THREE SACRAMENTANS USED THEIR SKILLS AND CREATIVITY TO START THEIR OWN COTTAGE INDUSTRIES. THE PIE WITCH Amber Wyatt was laid off from her job with the River Cats at the beginning of the pandemic and, after spending a few months bored at home, decided making and selling pies was her next move. Her business, The Pie Witch, started out small—she only sold to friends and family—but grew week by week. The name came from her boyfriend, who jokingly called her a “witch” for making him enjoy pies, which he’d never liked before. How does she do this? She adds flair to each pie by tweaking traditional recipes with unique ingredients. A few of her specialties: lemon meringue, lavender crème brûlée, la leche lemon and “after-hours” pecan pie with bourbon. Each season, she drops a new menu, which includes fresh (never frozen) seasonal fruits. This winter, the menu features favorites such as ricotta lemon-thyme and chocolate chess. To order, fill out a request form on thepiewitch. com. Within 24 hours, Wyatt will reach out and confirm your order. Pies, which run $24–$30, will be available for pickup from her Elk Grove location approximately two days later.

Bloomwagen: Sarah Lily Photography / Pie and bath bombs: Gabriel Teague

SPLATTER ART BY GILL Gillian Balbierz, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate and St. Francis High School alum, has combined her design talent and passion for sports to establish a unique painting business. She began creating paintings for roommates and friends—and began selling her products as well. Her business has grown in recent months to include splatter and dot paintings and customized cornhole sets and beer die tables. (With the shutdown of public gathering destinations, Balbierz reports that sales of her cornhole sets have spiked, perhaps because people have been hosting functions in their own backyards.) Prices and the time it takes to complete orders vary depending on the items requested and complexity of the logo. A standard customized cornhole set, for example, starts at $275. Each piece is custom-made and painted with detail and care. While Balbierz specializes in sport-related items and themes, she can execute just about any design on any product. To order, message Balbierz on Instagram ( TOTAL BODY RECOVERY Ramon Black was working construction and remodeling hotels—and getting back into personal training—when he decided to try his hand making specialty bath bombs. He started his company, Total Body Recovery, and makes CBD-and-creatine bath bombs. As an athlete, Black chose to combine two recovery products he regularly used for muscle recovery into one. He ran a short trial of his own product and was pleased with the results. TBR’s bath bombs come in three scents and several colors. Lavender can be made in red, black or blue; citrus comes in yellow and pink; peppermint is green. Customers can also request customized colors. Order through Instagram (@mytotalbodyrecovery) or Etsy. Bath bombs are $10 each ($12 on Etsy) or three for $25.

Creativity Blooms With a love for fresh-cut flowers and a knack for creative gatherings, mother-daughter duo Heather Kelley and Tori Bonzell started Bloomwagen Flower Truck as a way to bring local flowers to the community. They launched the family-run business in August after nearly two years of dreaming and planning.

“Bloomwagen Flower Truck brings flowers ‘to the people’ in a really fun way,” says Kelley. “We want to let people step into their creative side and build something that says, ‘this makes me happy!’ Flowers do just that.” Run out of a 1969 Volkswagen Transporter double cab bus that was renovated by Kelley’s boyfriend, Bloomwagen Flower Truck is a one-stop pop-up shop for seasonal fresh-cut flower arrangements handmade by customers themselves. “It’s all about creativity and having fun,” says Kelley. “Flowers are so happy and can be a creative outlet. We love popping up at places around town that we’ve never experienced and to just add to the local community support.” Not feeling very creative? Arrangements can also be hand-selected by the Bloomwagen team for those who prefer a florist’s professional touch. Bloomwagen curates its selection of flowers from mostly local farms in surrounding counties. The flowers aren’t your run-of-the-mill grocery store varieties; they include peonies, wax grasses, strawflowers, snapdragons, David Austin garden roses and more. Arrangements are budget-friendly and priced per stem, starting at around $20–$25 for an original bouquet. Visit Bloomwagen Flower Truck at pop-ups across greater Sacramento on most weekends at local businesses, boutiques and coffee shops. The bus is also available for photo shoots and private events and, when inventory allows, for delivery. Follow on Instagram and Facebook at @BloomwagenFlowerTruck or online at —Cherise Henry

—Alejandra Garcia SACMAG.COM January 2021



A Greener New Year BY REED PARSELL


fter an outrageously mean 2020, we get a clean start in 2021. Perhaps the No. 1 New Year’s resolution for civilization in general is to wean ourselves of COVID-19. Most of us also can strive to go more green. The planet is crying out for us to do so. A quick scan of the internet yields many suggestions on specific things we can do to lighten our load on the environment. The Center for EcoTechnology, a 40-year-old nonprofit organization, lists six “impactful” resolutions that include unplugging devices that use energy when they are not in use. “Energy vampires can add up to nearly 10 percent of a household’s monthly electric bill,” the CET reports. “By using smart power strips you can save money and energy!” Like the CET, encourages resolution makers to transition to a plant-based diet. It also urges everyone to “stop buying crap.” Here are five ideas to green up our act in the Sacramento region.


The pandemic prompted the temporary closure of most donation sites and many collection services, but not all of them. The Salvation Army, for example, in November was still accepting gently used household items, clothing and toys at a drop-off site behind its store at 10309 Folsom Blvd. in “ENERGY VAMPIRES CAN ADD Rancho Cordova. Local citizens UP TO NEARLY 10 PERCENT could still drop off hazardous mateOF A HOUSEHOLD’S MONTHLY rials and unwanted chemicals at the ELECTRIC BILL,” THE CET Waste Management Sacramento REPORTS. “BY USING SMART Recycling & Transfer center, at 8491 POWER STRIPS YOU CAN SAVE Fruitridge Road. MONEY AND ENERGY!” For the latest information about donation and drop-off sites, try calling The Salvation Army at (916) 563-3700, Goodwill at (916) 395-9000, WEAVE at (916) 448-2321 or Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services at (916) 456-1980, among others.

SACMAG.COM January 2021



Support your neighborhood stores and, if they’re open for takeout, restaurants by walking or riding your bike to fetch your goodies. Also consider taking buses or lightrail trains—the Sacramento Regional Transit District has taken a severe hit from the pandemic and could use your support. Sac RT works hard to disinfectant surfaces and protect its riders, and masks are required. GET TO KNOW OUR NEIGHBORHOODS

Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, the Cosumnes River Preserve in Galt or some other nearby bucolic spot. ENGAGE IN SHADY ACTIVITY

Most of us also can strive to go more green. The planet is crying out for us to do so.

One of Sacramento’s virtues is its proximity to San Francisco (about 90 minutes), the Pacific Ocean and Lake Tahoe (two hours) and Yosemite National Park (three hours). However, getting to those places not only costs money and gobbles up (in most cases) fossil fuels but, during COVID-19’s evil reign, can stoke anxieties, too. So for a safe change of pace, consider donning comfortable footwear and unhurriedly strolling about the region’s varied and often distinctive neighborhoods, or taking short hikes at Effie

The Sacramento Tree Foundation, partnered with local utilities agency SMUD, has since 1990 provided local landowners with more than 600,000 free trees. Recently, the program began offering more types of trees, and allowing up to 10 free trees per customer. “Trees not only cool our homes naturally and beautify our neighborhoods,” the program’s webpage explains, “but they provide additional benefits such as producing oxygen to clean the air we breathe and storing carbon.” TURN OFF THE TV AND READ

Local booksellers and the Sacramento Public Library system stand ready to help give you enlightening breaks from backlit screens. Feel guilty about printed books’ reliance on wood pulp and processing? Free audiobook services abound; TCK Publishing lists 29 possible sources.


Rediger Labor Law LLP Rediger Labor Law LLP is a family-owned law firm that advises and represents employers in labor and employment-related matters. Our clients range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, many of which we have advised and represented for decades. The attorneys of our firm have successfully represented companies in: • countering union organizing campaigns, NLRB selections, and unfair labor practice proceedings, • multi-employer collective bargaining negotiations with various unions, • class actions and representative PAGA actions alleging violations of wage and hour laws, • discrimination proceedings involving the DFEH, and in federal court against the EEOC, • jury trials to verdict, and appeals. We continue to be peer rated “AV” by MartindaleHubbell, its highest ratings for legal ability and ethics, and included in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in the category of Labor and Employment Law. We enjoy the highest Client Rating of 5.0 on 555 Capitol Mall, Suite 1240, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 442-0033 Pictured: Candice K. Hanratty, Justin Rediger, Robert L. Rediger and Arielle M. Rediger.



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7 Things To Know About SAD The foggy Sacramento winter is prime time for seasonal affective disorder. BY CATHY CASSINOS-CARR

Photo of woman: Icons8


or Rocklin resident Linda Blackmarr, it happens every year like clockwork. Literally. “Every year I dread the time change—that’s when I start getting anxious,” she says. Thus begins the cycle: Each fall, when daylight saving time ends and we turn the clocks back an hour, Blackmarr begins anticipating winter weather and another season of SAD. SAD could not be a more perfect acronym for seasonal affective disorder, which brings an annual cloak of sadness (think Sacramento fog) to about 5% of adults in the United States, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, as a type of depression (major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern), SAD typically takes hold during the fall and winter months, when there is less sunlight, and reverses itself with the arrival of spring. Symptoms (in addition to sadness) commonly include lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, changes in sleep and appetite, loss of energy, and debbi e h u r st

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difficulty focusing or making decisions. At its most severe, SAD can even lead to thoughts of death or suicide. But wait! Here’s the sunny lining: SAD is treatable—and often easily so, with such cool gadgets as a light box or just a good pair of sneakers. (Exercise really helps.) As with all things, knowledge is power. Here are seven things to know about SAD.


MANY AS IN, SAY, SEATTLE). In a super-sunny city like Sacramento, how many people actually suffer from SAD? “We don’t

really know,” says Mark Servis, M.D., a professor of clinical psychiatry at UC Davis who has a special interest in SAD and has treated patients for the condition. “But we have a lower rate here than many places, comparatively.” What we do know, says Servis, is this: The farther north you go and the less sunlight in the environment, the higher the incidence of SAD. So, yes, Seattle. (And Alaska.) Still, Sacramentans are not immune—and the drearier and SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Wellness drippier the winter, the more susceptible we are, says Servis. Fog, too, can be a factor. “The foggy, dreary winters can have a dampening effect,” he says. “I’ve seen it be part of the challenge for patients here in Sacramento who are vulnerable to SAD.” Most SAD patients are women, he notes, with a ratio of about 4 to 1 (women to men). 2 THIS YEAR MAY BE DOUBLE TROUl

BLE. Although Sacramento is not traditionally a hot spot for SAD, mental health experts worry there may be a spike this year for an obvious reason: COVID -19. A survey study recently published in the JAMA Network Open found that symptoms of depression among U.S. adults were more than three times higher during the pandemic than prior to it, suggesting that the number of individuals experiencing SAD this winter may also increase. “With COVID, people are stuck at home more and aren’t getting out as much as they normally would, and we could see an increase in SAD this year as a result,” says Servis. Maria Koshy, M.D., chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento, agrees. “This year there’s an added variable with the pre-existing stresses that have been going on since last year, including staying socially isolated and shifting indoors,” she says. “People who already have a susceptibility to SAD need to be extra-vigilant this winter.” How so? Koshy’s recommendations for people with SAD are the same as those who are isolated at home: Stay physically active and spend some time in sunlight (direct or indirect) every day. “Try early mornings or evenings, when there’s a shift in light,” she suggests.


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Why do some people get SAD while others don’t? Science is still trying to find answers. But research suggests the “tonins”— serotonin and melatonin—are likely suspects. It’s a double whammy: Serotonin, the “feel good” brain chemical (neurotransmitter), can be reduced when there’s less sunlight. In addition, the body’s melatonin levels can be disrupted by the change in season, affecting sleep patterns and mood. Reduced sunlight can also throw off the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, leading to feelings of depression. Genetics and environment also come into play, “like with any disease process,” says Kaiser’s Koshy. “There’s a lot of individual variation in the genes.”

Blackmarr offers a simpler explanation. “I’m solar-powered,” she says. “I have to have the sun.” In spring and summer, the 70-year-old retiree finds joy in the great outdoors, walking, hiking and bicycling. But when winter hits, “I hardly do those things, because I can’t make myself leave the house,” she says. “When the sun starts going away at 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon, it’s like I’m done. I put on my comfy clothes and just want to stay in and hibernate. I’m not a complete hermit or anything, but it’s a struggle.” 4 SAD IS DIFFERENT FROM “REGULAR” l

DEPRESSION. But many of the symptoms

are the same. So how do you know which is which? Primarily, it’s all about timing: Whereas SAD happens at specific times of year, regular depression is an equalopportunity condition, not bound to any season. But there are other telltale differences, too. Instead of sleeping and eating too little, which commonly happens with classic depression, people with winter-onset SAD tend to do just the opposite, notes Servis. “Those are the two areas where the symptomology tends to be different, which helps me when I’m diagnosing it,” he says. “People with normal depression typically have trouble getting sleep and have no appetite; they might drop 15 to 20 pounds. But if you’re sleeping all the time and gaining weight, and your depressions happen in the winter months, that tells me it’s likely to be SAD.” Blackmarr, who is self-diagnosed, fits that profile. “I usually gain 10 or 15 pounds in the winter. I call it my winter coat,” she says with a laugh. “There’s boredom eating, baking, all those things that go with winter. I turn on the movie, I become sedentary, which I would not normally do in the summer. So that’s the contrast right there. I try to take off the weight in the spring.” 5 THERE’S ALSO “SUMMER SAD.” In l

this sun-worshipping society, it may be hard to believe, but not everyone loves sun


If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at (800) 273-TALK (8255). Their website,, offers additional resources and information, including a Lifeline Chat. You can also reach a crisis counselor via the Crisis Text Line ( at 741741. All services are available 24/7.


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and heat. For some, it can even result in you’re thinking about ending your life, you summer-pattern or “reverse” SAD, also need to seek help,” advises Koshy. Light therapy has been the cornerstone known as summer depression. Though far of treatment for SAD since the 1980s, and less common than winter SAD, it can pack with good reason: It works. Typically, an equally depressive punch, though the symptomology is somewhat different: Un- treatment involves sitting in front of a very bright light box (10,000 lux is stanlike their winter counterparts, who tend dard) at a 16- to 24-inch disto oversleep and overeat, sumONLINE THERAPY, tance for at least 20 minutes a mer SAD sufferers are more WHICH HAS BOOMED day, usually in the early mornlikely to sleep and eat too little, DURING THE COVID ing. While you can buy a light and may also experience restPANDEMIC, MAY MAKE box without a prescription, lessness and agitation, accordIT MORE CONVENIENT experts advise making sure it’s ing to the National Institute of FOR MANY TO GET Mental Health. THE HELP THEY NEED. bright enough and that it filters out harmful UV (ultraviolet) Whether SAD happens in winter or summer, the depressive episodes rays. Though generally safe, light boxes must occur for at least two consecutive can cause side effects for some, so check years for a diagnosis to be made, accord- with your doctor. Other treatment options used indepening to DSM-5 criteria. dently or in conjunction with light thera6 HELP IS AVAILABLE. When should you py include antidepressant medications ● seek professional help? Ask yourself this: (most commonly SSRIs, or selective seroHow much is the disorder affecting your tonin reuptake inhibitors) and psychofunctioning? “If you are withdrawing from therapy. Online therapy, which has relationships, if you notice your ability to boomed during the COVID pandemic, also may make it more convenient for many to function at work and/or at home is decreasget the help they need. Of the various ing, if you’re noticing changes in your eatforms of therapy, cognitive behavioral ing and sleeping patterns, and obviously if

therapy is especially beneficial in treating SAD, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” has also been studied as a possible treatment option for SAD, but so far the jury’s out. Still, it may be worth trying since it has been helpful for some. 7 SELF-CARE MEASURES. Not everyone ●

with SAD requires professional help. Basic self-care—healthy eating, regular exercise, getting enough sleep and staying connected (more challenging during a pandemic, perhaps, but still possible)—can go a long way toward alleviating or even preventing SAD symptoms. “For many people, the solution is right out the front door,” says Servis. “For normal depression, we recommend people get outside and exercise as a part of improving their wellbeing, and I believe part of the benefit might be the light people get by being outdoors. Light boxes are amazingly bright, but outside it’s tenfold brighter in a normal day. We sometimes don’t appreciate the profound benefit of being outside.”

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Illustrations by HANS BENNEWITZ Photography by RYAN ANGEL MEZA



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Nis aliasi omnisciae pro maio volo mosandi restem quia volupta tintibus nosande reptatecte verio moAsluptate we head 2021, it’s with a sense of cautious optimism that life may finally eosinto ario. Lacepud igenien ecuptiur ad magnatu sdaeriora nihicipit esere consed quia non perro volupreturn to normal in the coming months. Or should we call it the New Normal? tur aut resci re prat est, tem sit erum, volupta tiorem There is no doubt that 2020—the year of the pandemic—was brutal. As excersperum qui doluptata diosam, cuptatem cuptatur COVID-19 battered the economy, business owners fought heroically to keep sitatem. Ut perum id eroit’s eum ipist fugitofandeliqui As we head into 2021, with a sense cautious volooptitheir doorsatis open and their companies viable, while civic leaders and influencers rimism cores ma voluptatius velecum faciam et doluptatthat life may finally return to normal in the coming stepped forward help the region survive the crisis. Now, with the arrival of enis eatet labo. to Faceari onsectasit fugiamu scimaximet months. Or should we call it the New Normal? There is no faccabhighly il eumeffective as quiatibustem in niet ellaborro anta better year in 2021, several vaccines that provide hopeesfor doubt that 2020—the year of the pandemic—was brutal. offic totam volupturitio comnitatur? it seems like a good time to recognize some of the people who have helped keep As COVID-19 battered the economy, business owners Ga. Inus explit la ditium dolupta tionsequis alicia dero Sacramento runningtoinkeep difficult theirtimes. doors openreand their exfought endit,heroically sed estotatur, optatib ustisquae corehenis companies viable,re while leaders and inflrspedit uencersaut ipsumet facessum iumcivic quodica tempore steppedrrumquis forward toexcernat help theestrum region survive the crisis. volorpo que peraecearis eum aut quae dolent quamet magnati onseniet adis Now, with the arrival of several highly effective vaccines eiumet rerorrunt ium in quiae velit aliquae that provide hopeessitempora for a better year 2021, it seems like a eos mil mos maximolliqui corum faccum aut por good time to recognize some of the people who have reiunt facipsa voluptatat explique pos et rerupis adi helped keep Sacramento running in difficult times. quae odit aut faciisquis recerum faciis asperum illorent fugiaspic temperibus iusciae rem id quas endicte nit, nos exceatem dusdaeces inum a nus experum dolo cus, ad quia velenis magni que venditi dolupti busam, ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Albertson: UC Regents/UC Davis Health • Emilyearitae Baime Michaels: Ashley Cook quam fugit quam evel inciam quiaepe reperum Edie Baker: Callista Polhemus • Janine Bera: Gerry McIntyre Photography que con placeat molorit, sit dolupta eventio. Ut venimo Leslie Bosserman: Courtney Carlmark Photography • Alex Brown: Tim Engle conetur? Francisco Castillo: Tia Gemmell • Brenda Granucci Forman: Merlot Marketing Untem sum alitate sunducimi, idit ulparupta cupici N’Gina Guyton: Jeffrey LaTour • Patrick Harbison: Chantel Elder • Christopher Holt: Eleakis & Elder commolut dolupti busaes am, ipsam res si aria sitae Talia Shani Kaufman: Chantel Elder • Donald Kendrick: Ronnie Johnson nobisi di nihillorias quaspictas et incitati consenit, to Giuliano Kornberg: Charles Vincent McDonald • Tara L. Lampkins: Excel School Photographers debisciis esti dolupta corita conseque occusci Brendan Leonard: Tim beaqui Engle • Jake Mossawir: Arrows Digital Media corpore prorepe rspelig enihillore volo ipsam, apicia Nicole Serres: Beth Baugher, True Love Photo


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Arts, Sports + Entertainment



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Vice Chair Sacramento Arts, Culture & Creative Economy Commission Maya Wallace is an advocate for healthy communities, government accountability and transparency, and empowering people through arts and culture. She has helped lead the city’s efforts to advance cultural equity, arts education and the creative economy and was voted best arts advocate by Sacramento News & Review readers in 2019. Wallace currently co-organizes the local policy discussion group Wonk Wednesday. She is a senior fellow of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program and a founding board member of Black Artists Fund and the Sacramento State Hornets Policy and Politics Alumni Chapter.

FIRST JOB: Cashier at Carl’s Jr. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones LESSON LEARNED: How people feel is just as important as getting work done. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: To make government reflective of and responsive to the people who pay for it ADVICE FOR MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF: Buy a house the first chance you get. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I appreciate the small day-to-day interactions I have with friends, colleagues and businesses in my neighborhood so much more in their absence. The regular hustle and bustle of the community really contributed to my sense of well-being. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Watching friends, businesses, artists and neighbors struggle with financial issues, mental health and the uncertainty of when we can start to rebuild. BUCKET LIST: Getting my passport and traveling to Mexico City! SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Arts, Sports + Entertainment


Sacramento Poet Laureate Founder, Zero Forbidden Goals


Vice President, Groups, Premium Hospitality and Event Sales Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center


Music Director Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra


Andru Defeye is a poet and performer who has shared stages across the nation with legendary Beat poets and hip-hop emcees. In 2014, he founded Zero Forbidden Goals, a “support system” for creatives devoted to innovating arts equity experiences and education. He helped popularize street and pop-up performances in Sacramento and elsewhere, changing lives along the way. He is the youngest person to be named the city’s poet laureate. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Rick Rubin TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: I was born without stomach muscles due to a rare condition known as prune belly syndrome. Prayer works and manifestation is real. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Poetry and the arts saved my life and gave it meaning. I hope to do that for others. HIDDEN TALENT: I only hide it because y’all aren’t ready.

Lisa Feigenbaum oversees strategy for group sales and nearly 100 premium suites, lofts and balcony boxes for the city’s premier sports and entertainment venue. During her tenure, she implemented a career advancement program focused on staff growth and has presented to the NBA on best practices, data and analytics related to ticket sales. Feigenbaum created the Women Sports Network for the Kings to promote empowerment and camaraderie. FIRST JOB: IHOP server TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being a gay female in a male-dominated industry HIDDEN TALENT: Fluent in Pig Latin. My twin sister and I liked having our own language our parents couldn’t understand. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has saved my life. Its unfortunate impacts on so many break my heart, but it’s forced me to slow down and re-evaluate what really matters. I choose life while still being a boss.

In 1996, Donald Kendrick became the founding conductor of the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra, which presents concerts throughout Sacramento, has produced several professionally mastered CDs and has represented Sacramento as international choral ambassadors with performances in Munich, Prague, Vienna, Rome, Paris, London and Beijing. Kendrick has twice conducted performances at Carnegie Hall. HOMETOWN: Calgary, Alberta, Canada TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Keeping our choral society and orchestra alive for 25 years FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I ran away from home to join the Ice Capades. FAVORITE BOOK: Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Be kind always. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: Singing and playing together in large numbers will not be allowed for some time.


General Manager Sacramento River Cats


Chief Development Officer Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera


President/Chief Operating Officer Sacramento Republic FC

Illinois native Chip Maxson joined the River Cats in 2012, focusing on leadership development, the creation of a positive sales culture, the development of new premium and social spaces and strong community involvement. During his tenure, Maxson helped the River Cats transition their affiliation to the San Francisco Giants and move food and beverage operations in house. He was the 2019 Pacific Coast League’s Executive of the Year. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Growing up in a single-parent family on welfare WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I love baseball, and when I realized my playing days would be ending quickly, I thought working at a ballpark would be awesome—and it is! PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: We will go at least 18 months without revenue, so we must look at our business in new ways.

Giuliano Kornberg, an avid supporter of the arts and classical music ambassador for the region, oversees fundraising activities for the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera. He serves on the board of the Sacramento Stanford Alumni Association, the Council for Giving, First Tee of Sacramento and Metro Edge. Kornberg is an active Rotarian. He was a recent finalist for Social Venture Partner’s Fast Pitch competition. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I’ve always loved listening to and playing classical music. Having the ability to spread the joy of music … is incredibly rewarding and enriching. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I play over a dozen instruments, but my favorite is the marimba. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has helped me see what my true priorities should be and given me the time to be more thoughtful in how I approach life.

Sacramento native Ben Gumpert oversees Republic FC’s operations and leads the effort to bring Major League Soccer to Sacramento. Previously, he was the chief marketing officer for the Sacramento Kings and Golden 1 Center and played a key executive role in the design and construction of the downtown arena. He joined the Kings after five years with the NBA, most recently serving as vice president of team marketing and business operations. EDUCATION: UCLA, Stanford Graduate School of Business WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Find great people to work for and stick with them, regardless of industry and location. They will push you, stretch you and help you grow faster than you could ever imagine. FAVORITE SACRAMENTO PLACE TO VISIT: American River Parkway WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: High school math teacher BUCKET LIST: World Cup Final


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General Manager Thunder Valley Casino Resort


Appraiser/Market Analyst Lundquist Appraisal Company


President Rolling Stock, Siemens Mobility, Inc.


Dawn Clayton, who started her career as a craps dealer for the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, has worked in the gaming and hospitality industry for nearly 40 years. She has received numerous awards for her achievements in business and leadership. Clayton is the 2020 board chair for Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center and serves on the boards of the Placer SPCA and PRIDE Industries. FIRST JOB: Picking and packaging blueberries on a farm in New Jersey MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Anyone who shows compassion for the less fortunate and makes a difference in their lives FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I competed in women’s bodybuilding competitions. FAVORITE BOOK: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Worrying about the health and safety of our team members and their families, our guests and the community

Ryan Lundquist is a certified residential appraiser who runs the Sacramento Appraisal Blog, one of the top-ranked appraisal blogs in the nation. He is regularly quoted in the media about local real estate trends. Lundquist teaches continuing education classes for appraisers and is a regular speaker at regional real estate events. He is the winner of the 2014 Affiliate of the Year award from the Sacramento Association of REALTORS®. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Robert Paylor, a local young man who became a quadriplegic due to a rugby accident TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: All of my clients went out of business during the previous housing crash, so I had to reinvent myself entirely. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love woodworking. WHAT I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF: Buy stock in Apple, Amazon and Google.

Dublin, Ireland, native Michael Cahill has led the rolling stock business for Siemens Mobility in North America since 2011. While with Siemens, he has worked in various engineering and management capacities in Italy, South Korea, Australia and the United States. Cahill oversees a vertical business with nearly 2,000 employees and with his team has grown the business fivefold over the past 10 years.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Planning is great, but you also need to be ready to react to unforeseeable situations. HIDDEN TALENT: There’s not too much that’s hidden. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Initially, it offered a great opportunity to travel, then it became about the purpose. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Be curious! Life and your career are all about discovery. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Provided more family time and great opportunity to think


Manager, Development Anthem United/ Anthem Properties


Associate General Manager, Site DirectorSacramento Facility The Jackson Laboratory, JAX Mice Clinical and Research Services


Regional Sales Manager Fidelity National Title Company

Chicago native Brendan Leonard is development manager, project manager and land acquisition/disposition manager for multifamily, land development and homebuilding projects based in the Sacramento region. He is a planning commissioner for the city of West Sacramento and was vice chair of the city’s Environment and Utilities Commission. Leonard attended the United States Air Force Academy and Saint Mary’s College. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Meditate TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Mastery of self. The lessons learned are endless. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Coming from the streets and seeing dilapidated neighborhoods growing up, the experience of place always fascinated me. I thought I would be a city planner but realized I wanted to build places instead of watching other people do it. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: The collective erosion of people’s mental health

Kathy Vandegrift is a results-driven biopharma executive who executes scientific research, complex technical processes, experimental methods and discovery strategies at The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit biomedical research institution. She is known for her ability to implement large-scale capital projects and robust operational solutions. Vandegrift embraces new technologies that lead to groundbreaking research in labs worldwide. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: There are always new discoveries to improve human health. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I had an amazing field hockey coach in high school from whom I learned leadership skills that are a fundamental part of my fabric. BUCKET LIST: I’m passionate about improving research experiments to factor microbiome, age and gender into models. I’m hoping I can contribute to moving science in this direction.

Colin Roe brings more than 15 years’ experience to his role at Fidelity National Title Company, where he delivers cutting-edge tools and technology to builders, real estate agents, lenders and investors. He oversees a sales region that encompasses 14 counties spanning from Benicia to the California-Oregon border to the Tahoe region. Roe has served on city and county commissions and on the boards of several community organizations, including HomeAid Sacramento. FIRST JOB: Busser at Bunz Sports Bar TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Growing as a leader FAVORITE BOOK: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. It’s an annual read for me and a great reminder to be steady with the small things personally and professionally. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has slowed me down and focused me on doing less, but doing it much better.


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Regional Manager/Vice President Tri Counties Bank Yuba City native Bindu Jaduram began her banking career as a teller in 1998. In 2010, she was named regional manager for Tri Counties Bank, where she has partnered with community leaders and local businesses to rapidly expand the bank’s brand and footprint. Jaduram serves on the boards of CCHAT Center (Children’s Choice for Hearing & Talking), University Enterprises at Sacramento State, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento. A daughter of immigrants from India, she is proud to have been the first woman in her family to graduate from a university. FIRST JOB: Video store MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My parents: Work hard, never give up and follow your dreams. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: The ability to help people achieve their financial goals WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Find a mentor or coach who will help you progressively realize your full potential. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has allowed me to have meaningful interactions with family, such as hiking and cooking together. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Dealing with the unknown, not knowing when school will resume in person and balancing the kids’ starting distance learning BUCKET LIST: Fiji and Australia

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Nicole Serres started her career as a receptionist at a local staffing firm. At Star Staffing, which she joined in 2009, she has helped grow the firm from three to seven offices and increased revenue 800 percent. Serres is the author of the book From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work. She has written about business and career advice for Forbes, The Washington Post and Entrepreneur.

President Star Staffing

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: You’ll never get to second base with your foot still on first. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Sara Blakely WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Originally it was to have an office role and feel professional. Now I choose it because of the positive impact we make every day in people’s lives and the community. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I have 14 goats!


Chief Executive Officer Genovese Burford & Brothers


CEO/Founder Precision Medical Products


Under Alex Brown’s leadership, Genovese Burford & Brothers has grown from about $500 million in assets to nearly $3.5 billion. He led the design, implementation and adoption of trading, client reporting, financial planning and investment research technologies. Brown is the board chair for the James B. McClatchy Foundation and a board member of the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce. He is both a certified financial planner and a CPA. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: The 2008 financial crisis. It was hard not to feel the emotional burden clients were experiencing. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I enjoy numbers and helping people. As a financial adviser, I get to enjoy both. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not being able to be in the same room together. At our firm we believe we are better together, and we look forward to having the team together again.

Jeremy Perkins left a lucrative job to start his own medical device company, risking everything (including his life savings) to start a company out of his garage. After three years, his startup was the No. 1 fastest growing company in the Sacramento region, producing a blood clot prevention device that helps more than 150,000 patients annually. Today, Precision employs 250 employees in 41 states.

MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Tyler Smith, CEO of Sky Slope PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Taught me the importance of time with my family PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: We saw a 47% decline in sales in the second quarter of 2020. TOUGHEST ASPECT OF PANDEMIC: Funding got tighter. BUCKET LIST: Backpack Italy


CEO Syphax Strategic Solutions


CEO/President First Corporate Solutions, Inc.


Chief Community Banking Officer Tri Counties Bank

Scott Syphax heads Syphax Strategic Solutions, a management consulting company focused on health care, real estate and financial services. He is chairman of the Nehemiah Community Foundation and sponsor and founder of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program. During Syphax’s tenure as CEO, his work has been studied by the Milken Institute and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He is a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Making sure that my daily calendar reflects who and what I say I value in my life. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Nothing matches helping others achieve their version of the American Dream. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: My speaking style was inspired by seeing Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments when I was a child.

Hong Kong native Samuel Hon has more than 15 years’ experience in organizational culture change, strategic planning and marketing management. Apart from his CEO role, he provides executive coaching and leadership program facilitation to help leaders and teams unlock their potential. Hon served two terms as president of the American Advertising Federation–Sacramento and has won more than a dozen marketing and design awards. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Practice self-care so that you can take care of others. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: Being the first in my family to attend college, I saved up to pay for my younger brother’s college tuition in my late 20s. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Focusing more on what really matters in life PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not being able to travel and see family and friends overseas

Scott Robertson oversees a network of Tri Counties Bank branches throughout Northern and Central California, as well as the 24/7 call center, direct banking sales group, home mortgage sales team, and Tri Counties Advisors investment services. Since he joined the bank, the company has more than doubled in size and now has more than $7 billion in assets, making it the largest community-based bank in the region. EDUCATION: Sacramento State University, University of Virginia HOBBIES: Announcing high school football games; golf MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My wife, Michelle, has shown me what it means to truly serve others and put the needs of others first. BUCKET LIST: As a family, we have a goal to visit all 30 major league baseball ballparks. We have 10 more to go.


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Owner/Private Wealth Advisor WGG Wealth Partners


CEO Green Day Power

Chrysa Tsakopoulos Demos was named president and CEO of AKT Investments in 2018, having served for a decade as vice president of the firm, overseeing financial analysis for major projects, acquiring requisite permits and entitlements, managing contracts and guiding the company’s strategic planning process. She guides much of the family business’ philanthropic activity, including the naming gift for the Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts, a performing arts venue in Sacramento. EDUCATION: Georgetown University, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania FIRST JOB: Answering phones and filing maps at AKT MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My grandmother, whose name I share. She raised three daughters as a single mother in the 1960s in San Francisco. She overcame challenges and faced life with grit, integrity and aplomb. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I play the harp. MOTIVATION: My family

Stephen Westlake leads one of the largest wealth management firms in the greater Sacramento area with 40 employees and assets under management in excess of $1 billion. He serves on the boards of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council and Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance. Westlake volunteers with Global Habitat for Humanity, helping build homes in Malawi, Bolivia and Argentina.

WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: To help people live to meet their financial future with confidence FEW PEOPLE KNOW: Saltwater coral enthusiast FAVORITE TV SHOW: Game of Thrones PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: We shifted to all virtual client meetings and staff working remotely. WGG was committed to no layoffs, and our team pulled together to provide clients with the exceptional service they have come to expect and deserve from our firm.

Sacramento native Seth Devey grew up around construction sites, building homes with his father. His business, Green Day Power, offers installation of solar panels, roofing, HVAC systems, windows and doors and home backup generators. “I built Green Day Power from the ground up,” says Devey. “My goal is to build it to a $100 million business within the next three years.

FIRST JOB: Digging trenches for my dad’s construction company BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your clients. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I love renewable energy and I am a big believer in having a healthy planet. HIDDEN TALENT: I am a pretty good golfer! PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Permitting restrictions have been tough. BUCKET LIST: A trip with my wife to Bora Bora


President The Niello Company


President/CEO SAFE Credit Union

SHAWNA CHRISMAN Founder/CEO Destination Aesthetics Medical Spa

In 1998, Rick Niello became president of The Niello Company, a fourth-generation family business that he has worked for since 1972. Today, The Niello Company is the Sacramento region’s only privately held dealership group, with products spanning 14 of the world’s finest automobile manufacturers. Niello supports a variety of community organizations; last year, his company donated to more than 40 charities and nonprofit organizations. EDUCATION: Menlo College School of Business Administration BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: My mother: “Remember who you are and who you represent.” HIDDEN TALENT: Photography HOBBIES: Sailing and skiing FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS: Carmel, Tahoe and Europe WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Work hard and go to bed early! WHAT MOTIVATES ME: My family, my business and the very special region we live in

Dave Roughton began his tenure at SAFE Credit Union in 1999, holding the positions of vice president, CFO, executive vice president and COO before assuming the role of president and CEO in 2016. A not-for-profit, cooperative, community-chartered financial institution, SAFE employs more than 600 people in the Sacramento region. SAFE Credit Union is the naming sponsor of downtown Sacramento’s convention center complex project. EDUCATION: University of New Hampshire, UC Davis AWARDS: California Advocate of the Year Award for 2019 from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues; 2019 Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year LEADERSHIP: Member of the boards of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Align Capital Region and The First Tee of Greater Sacramento

Shawna Chrisman combined her passion for medicine, entrepreneurship and aesthetics when she founded Destination Aesthetics Medical Spa in 2011 and developed it into one of the fastest growing medical spas in the country. She was named one of the top 100 aesthetic injectors in the United States in 2018 and serves on the advisory council for the American Medical Spa Association.

WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: We are practicing medicine with our hands in a nontraditional way. We are not just treating wrinkles but rather igniting empowerment and confidence. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love old rap music and know the lyrics to many classics. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Hustle and heart will set you apart. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: No one can truly digest how this has affected us yet because we are still in the midst of it.

SACMAG.COM January 2021





Founder/CEO DaVinci Research, LLC

George Grinzewitsch Jr. owns the Von Housen Automotive Group, which operates Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento, Rocklin and El Dorado Hills. Founded in 1958 by Grinzewitsch’s father, it has grown into one of Sacramento’s largest privately held, family-owned brands, with annual sales exceeding $301 million. Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento won the Best of the Best Dealer Award from Mercedes-Benz of North America in 2017. FIRST JOB: I worked at BAP Auto Parts at age 12 over summer vacation. I dismantled used VW engines to sell parts as cores for refurbishing. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: “Change the belief and the performance will follow.”—Lou Tice LESSON LEARNED: Keep business and personal relationships separate. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I have a daily meditation practice. WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: Architecture and design

Born in Armenia, Rose Khalatyan moved to the United States at age 13, obtaining her medical assistant and phlebotomy certification while in high school. The company she founded, DaVinci Research, works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies worldwide to bring cutting-edge treatments to people suffering from unresolved medical conditions. Khalatyan has managed more than 50 clinical trials in the last 12 years. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: No matter how big a problem, it’s still an opportunity. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Learning the English language PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: In two words: worried and disoriented. In life there is so much we can’t control. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: When a person dies from coronavirus, he/she dies alone. I’m thankful for the compassionate health care workers who sit alongside the person as they take their last breath.


President Hard Rock Hotel Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain


Senior Managing Director CBRE

Born and raised in India, Raja Krishnan moved to America in 1996. Since 2003, he has served as president of Agile Global Solutions, a Folsom-based IT services company with offices in India, Singapore and across the United States. In 2017, Agile acquired a Pittsburgh-based IT services provider, dramatically increasing the company’s footprint on the East Coast.

RAJA KRISHNAN President Agile Global Solutions



FIRST JOB: Selling computers and peripherals TOUGHEST CHALLENGE FACED: Leaving a nice-paying job to start a business. The timing was especially tough, but with calculated risks and careful planning, I took the dive and never looked back. FAVORITE MOVIE: Ip Man FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Hawaii BUCKET LIST: Skydiving

Managing Partner AgreeYa Solutions

Veteran gaming and hospitality executive Mark Birtha oversaw the development, construction, opening and operations of the $450 million Hard Rock Hotel Casino, which opened in 2019. He manages the relationship between the Enterprise Rancheria Tribe (owner) and the Seminole Tribe of Florida (partner/owner of Hard Rock International) as well as future expansion and development related to the property’s 900-acre sports and entertainment zone. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: The toughest challenge was also the pinnacle of my career thus far. Being the first person on the ground for Hard Rock in Sacramento and overseeing the development of a half-billion-dollar resort was exhilarating. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I am passionate about hospitality. I love the fact that it is not only a career that has taken me around the world but a lifestyle that I can enjoy even when not at work.

Piedmont native David Brennan oversees all aspects of CBRE’s business throughout the Central Valley and Northern Nevada markets in addition to leading the Northwest Industrial Network, which includes Seattle, Portland and Hawaii. He oversees all lines of the company’s business in the region, including brokerage services, valuation and advisory services, asset services, project management, and debt and equity finance. EDUCATION: Sacramento State University HOBBY: Sports WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Because it is competitive and commission based. FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Hawaii

Ajay Kaul was pivotal to the growth and progress of AgreeYa Solutions, a leading software, services and solutions company that serves more than 500 clients worldwide. As the managing partner of a 1,700-member team, Kaul guided AgreeYa to become the fifth fastest-growing company in the Sacramento region. Earlier in his career, he worked with technology industry leaders like Deloitte Consulting, iGATE Mastech and Tata Infotech. EDUCATION: Delhi University, University of Bombay FIRST JOB: Selling printers and writing POS software for a retailer MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Mother Teresa TOUGHEST CHALLENGE FACED: Learning how to find work/life balance HIDDEN TALENT: I enjoy karaoke. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Follow your passion and consistently work hard. FAVORITE SACRAMENTO PLACE TO VISIT: Top Golf


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Founding Director Laser & Skin Surgery Medical Group, Inc.


President/CEO Dignity Health Mercy General Hospital & Woodland Memorial Hospital


Chair, Department of Internal Medicine UC Davis Health


Dr. Suzanne L. Kilmer was a principal investigator in the original trials for laser skin resurfacing, laser hair removal and other groundbreaking areas of dermatology. She is a clinical professor at UC Davis and past president of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. A former faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Kilmer lectures at national and international dermatology meetings and directs several laser courses. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Rox Anderson, M.D., my mentor at Harvard. He let me explore the world of lasers to the fullest and supported my research. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: The loss of my son, Jenner. But by being grateful for all the great times I had with him and searching for the good in everything, you can make it through the toughest times. Empathy is critical. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not getting to be close with so many friends

Texas native Edmundo Castañeda first assumed the role of hospital CEO at the age of 34. He led the 2014 opening of Mercy General’s Spanos Heart and Vascular Center. Prior to Dignity Health, he served as CEO at a hospital in El Paso. Castañeda serves on the board of Valley Vision, is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and is chair elect of the board of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California. LESSON LEARNED: Leadership is an art, not an exact science. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I played point guard on my college basketball team. FAVORITE MOVIE: A Few Good Men PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It can be all-consuming, leading to emotional and mental fatigue. Caring for COVID patients while leading “normal operations” in our hospitals and care sites has been extremely challenging. BUCKET LIST: Travel to Canada, the UK and Spain

Dr. Timothy Albertson leads the largest clinical team at UC Davis Health, composed of more than 500 physicians, researchers and medical trainees. Albertson previously served as chief of the UC Davis Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. A member of the California Army National Guard for 20 years, he was awarded a Combat Medical Badge for service in Iraq, senior flight surgeon wings and the Legion of Merit. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Go to college. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: General Omar Bradley TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Learning to fly a helicopter and being a battalion surgeon in Iraq PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has given me even more pride in the amazing team of specialists who have worked tirelessly to treat COVID-19 patients. BUCKET LIST: To refurbish my MGB and drive it to the World Series when the A’s or Dodgers are playing


Chief Medical Officer WellSpace Health


Dean, School of Medicine; Professor, Department of Neurology UC Davis


President/CEO Health Net of California & California Health & Wellness

Dr. Janine Bera is the chief medical officer for WellSpace Health, a nonprofit community health center with 31 locations in Sacramento, Placer and Amador counties. She leads a vast clinical practice serving the area’s most vulnerable residents. She is past president of the Sacramento Tree Foundation and serves on the board of Crocker Art Museum, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Wide Open Walls and the American Heart Association. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My great-aunt Gertrude Dewey, an African-American woman who owned a fashion business, owned a home and other properties, and traveled the world in the 1950s–70s, when most women could not even have a credit card in their own names. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Surviving altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro HIDDEN TALENT: My personal record for deadlifting is 300 pounds FAVORITE FILM: Pulp Fiction

Dr. Allison Brashear is the lead investigator in the discovery of ATP1A3-related diseases, which cause several rare neurological disorders. This discovery is now known as Rapid-Onset Dystonia-Parkinsonism. Prior to her tenure at UC Davis, Brashear was the neurology chair of the Wake Forest Department of Neurology for 14 years. She is a champion of the advancement of women leaders in medicine and a supporter of philanthropy for women. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mother, who with two friends raised seed money for the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, now a multimillion-dollar endowment. She also took my friend and me to the Equal Rights Amendment debates in the Indiana legislature. The comments made about women “staying in their place” have stayed with me forever. TOUGHEST LESSON: Some things in life are not based on merit.

Brian Ternan leads Health Net, one of the largest care plans managed by Medi-Cal. Health Net serves nearly 1 in 12 Californians. Ternan has more than 30 years’ experience as a senior health care executive. Prior to his tenure at Health Net, Ternan served in leadership roles at Anthem Blue Cross of California and Aetna Inc. He is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he studied agricultural business management. FIRST JOB: In 1981, I was the first employee hired at a Burger King on Mace Boulevard in Davis. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Events affecting our members and associates are most difficult: 9/11, wildfires, Borderline shooting, COVID-19. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I am a huge Jimmy Buffet fan. I met him once and thanked him. FAVORITE BOOK: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving


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Trustee Los Rios Community College District Board Pam Haynes has served on the Los Rios governing board since 1999, providing direction to a community college system that serves 75,000 students at four colleges. In 2020, she was elected president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. A graduate of Harvard University and UCLA, Haynes advocates for equity and inclusion for marginalized students in higher education. She has worked in the California legislature, serving as staff for three Assembly speakers. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: The young people who went to the streets to give voice to and demand redress, reform and restitution. They inspire me and fill me with hope that I don’t have to howl at the moon because no one is listening. Someone was listening, someone saw and heard what I saw and heard. A lot of someones were enraged enough to use their power to assemble in civil disobedience and active resistance. FAVORITE TV SHOWS: Star Trek (all of them!) and The West Wing PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: Many of our students have lost jobs, are food and housing insecure and have limited access to personal computers and Wi-Fi. We continue to work tirelessly to get resources to our students. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: The feeling that we don’t have a sense of our collective responsibility to protect each other, especially the stranger BUCKET LIST: A long-awaited trip to my ancestral homeland, Nigeria

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Education + Health Care


Chancellor Los Rios Community College District

CHRISTOPHER R. HOFFMAN Superintendent Elk Grove Unified School District


Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Endowed Chair in Fragile X Syndrome Research MIND Institute and UC Davis Medical Center


Since his appointment as chancellor of Los Rios in 2012, Brian King has overseen the opening of two educational outreach centers and the establishment of a program to remove financial barriers for students. He is chair of the Valley Vision board of directors and a member of the board of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. King was previously a Fulbright Fellow to Russia with a group of national community college leaders. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mother, a tremendous first-grade teacher and educator TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being diagnosed with cancer at age 28 WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Education is the key to prosperity and social justice in our country. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Be open to listening to and learning from people who have views different from yours. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I’ve had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with my college-age children.

Christopher Hoffman leads the fifth-largest school district in the state. He is the first superintendent in district history to have received elementary and secondary education in district schools. A former teacher, Hoffman was superintendent at El Dorado Union High School District prior to his current position. He was named 2018 Superintendent of the Year for Region III by the Association of California School Administrators. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Listen more than you speak. WHY THIS FIELD OF WORK: Staff members at my high school invested and believed in me. I chose to be an educator so I can pay it forward. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: It has made us re-examine everything we do. I believe we will be a better organization for students and staff, but it is going to be very challenging in the meantime.

Dr. Randi Jenssen Hagerman is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician who has studied patients with fragile X syndrome, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She co-founded the National Fragile X Foundation in 1984 and has written more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and several books on fragile X and autism. Her clinical and research work focuses on developing better treatments for fragile X syndrome and premutation disorders. EDUCATION: UC Davis, Stanford Medical School FIRST JOB: Laboratory dishwasher MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Eleanor Roosevelt WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I love children and like to make their problems better. FAVORITE FILM: Ghostbusters PANDEMIC’S PERSONAL EFFECT: It stopped my international lectures. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: The deaths BUCKET LIST: To cure FXTAS and fragile X syndrome


Superintendent of Schools San Juan Unified School District


Division Vice President, Mission Integration CommonSpirit Health


Principal Pacific Elementary School

Kent Kern began his career as a middle school teacher and high school basketball coach. During his tenure as a principal, he was known for infusing technology into instruction and promoting the use of data in decision making. As superintendent, Kern created and expanded the equity office, promoted student input, increased access to advanced placement courses and achieved a positive certified budget every year under his leadership. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: The students I work with who are overcoming challenges to succeed TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Battling cancer as a 15-year-old FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I have a huge LEGO collection that continues to grow. FAVORITE MOVIE: The Sandlot WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Stick it out through the tough times, as they are often followed by good times. BUCKET LIST: Seeing a game at every major league baseball park

Michael Cox has been a leader with Dignity Health (now CommonSpirit Health) since 2013. He previously served as an executive leader in the fields of mission integration, spirituality, ethics, ministry leadership formation, and community health and outreach at Providence Health and Services and Ascension Health. During his career, he has been a certified nursing assistant and hospital chaplain.

HOMETOWN: Spokane, Wash. EDUCATION: Carroll College, Aquinas Institute of Theology FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I have a private pilot certificate. FAVORITE BOOK: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has made me even more grateful for the day-to-day personal connections we make in the workplace. BUCKET LIST: Celebrate completing my Ph.D. with hiking the entirety of the John Muir Trail

Tara Lampkins leads a 700-student elementary school in Sacramento City Unified School District serving students represented by 10 ethnicities and speaking more than 20 languages. She has served as a board member for youth sports organizations and Oak Park Preschool. Lampkins is active in the Sacramento National Pan-Hellenic Council. A native of Kentucky, she was bestowed with the commonwealth’s highest title of honor, Kentucky Colonel. FIRST JOB: Dunk-a-Witch at the Nut Tree pumpkin patch TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Multiple sclerosis diagnosis WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Education allows you to touch and influence the future today. FAVORITE BOOK: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: I miss the daily interaction with students, families and colleagues. I miss the opportunity to give or receive a needed hug or smile. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I collect Barbies.


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President VSP Vision Care


President/CEO Marshall Medical Center


Chief Academic Officer Sacramento City Unified School District

Kate Renwick-Espinosa leads the nation’s largest not-for-profit vision benefits and services company, serving nearly 90 million members through a network of 40,000 doctors. Under her leadership, VSP has attained record growth in domestic membership and developed a corporate social responsibility and charity program that has delivered free eye care and eyewear to millions of people in need around the world. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: You never learn anything by talking. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: My mother was an HR leader and my father was a public health educator and physician. This sparked my interest in health benefits and community health care. FAVORITE BOOK: Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt. I’m fascinated by the human side of economics.

Siri Nelson began her career in health care accounting and finance for rural hospitals in Northern California. She previously served as CFO and interim CEO at Sutter Amador hospital in Jackson; CAO at Sutter Lakeside in Lakeport; and CEO at South Meadows Medical Center in Reno. While at Sutter Lakeside, Nelson earned the President’s Award for highest clinical quality and patient experience for a small hospital. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My kids—I learn from them every day. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I’m a CPA by trade and fell in love with the complexity of health care. I can’t take care of patients, but I can make it easier for people who do. FAVORITE BOOK: I enjoy all genres, from historical fiction to murder mysteries to autobiographies.

Christine Baeta works to improve educational and social-emotional outcomes for more than 40,000 students at 77 schools in Sacramento. Prior to her tenure with SCUSD, Baeta spent 20 years serving students in Elk Grove Unified School District. She has worked as a classroom teacher, site administrator and instructional assistant superintendent, always with an eye on disrupting systemic inequities that hold students back. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My parents, who did not get to go to college but worked to be sure their children did WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: As a mom of four, including a daughter with severe cerebral palsy, I was confronted with the inequities in our school system. I became a teacher to disrupt the inequities that defined our experience. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I ran the very first California International Marathon in 1983 and am still running!


Superintendent of Schools Sacramento County Office of Education


Professor and Air Quality Specialist UC Davis


President/CEO St. HOPE

David Gordon oversees the entity that is responsible for delivering quality education to more than 240,000 students in 13 school districts in Sacramento County. He previously served as superintendent of Elk Grove Unified School District, where he helped pioneer preschool programs and early-intervention programs for at-risk children. Gordon serves on the board of the Sierra Health Foundation and the Sacramento First 5 Commission. HOMETOWN: New York City EDUCATION: Brandeis University, Harvard University FIRST JOB: Pushing a delivery cart in the New York City Garment Center MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My grandfather—a judge, community leader and NYC mayoral candidate in 1945 HIDDEN TALENT: People tell me I’m a good cook! BUCKET LIST: Take all 12 members of my family to Hawaii as soon as we are able to travel safely

Dr. Frank Mitloehner is a professor and air quality specialist in cooperative extension in the department of animal science at UC Davis. His emphasis is on understanding and mitigating air emissions from livestock operations, and studying their impact on the health of farm workers and communities. He is director of the CLEAR Center at UC Davis, which examines the intersection of animal agriculture and the environment. HOMETOWN: Viersen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: The most important challenge of our lifetime is feeding a growing population without depleting our resources. I wanted to find solutions to this challenge by learning how we can produce animal-sourced food with the lowest possible environmental impact. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: The terrible divide in our country with people politicizing the pandemic

Jake Mossawir led the St. HOPE organization to financial stability for the first time in 30 years, in part by reducing overhead by 30% and driving 40% growth in the real estate portfolio. He was the founding executive director of City Year Sacramento. Mossawir is a graduate of Leadership Sacramento and the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program and is an American Leadership Forum senior fellow.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Just because it is the style doesn’t mean you look good in it. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Pat Tillman TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: As a leader, being comfortable being misunderstood FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I can’t stand a fixed menu at a restaurant. FAVORITE MOVIE: The Wood WHAT I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF:: You’re not going to end up with your high school girlfriend. Make decisions accordingly. BUCKET LIST: Live abroad

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Education + Health Care


President and CEO Eskaton


CEO/Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences UC Davis Health


CEO California Medical Association


A leader in the aging-services industry for nearly four decades, Todd Murch started working at Eskaton in 1981 and was named CEO in 2005. The Carmichael-based nonprofit operates 23 residential facilities and memory-care sites, serving nearly 12,000 senior citizens in the Greater Sacramento area. Eskaton was named a 2019 Top 50 “Best Workplaces for Aging Services” by Great Place to Work and Fortune Magazine. EDUCATION: Sacramento State University, Stanford University’s Executive Program LEADERSHIP: Past chair, LeadingAge California; past president/ board chair, The Institute for Senior Living EXPERIENCE: At Eskaton, served as accounting manager, divisional controller for skilled nursing, corporate controller, executive director of operational support services, chief financial officer and chief operating officer

Dr. David Lubarsky oversees UC Davis Health’s academic, research and clinical programs, including the School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the 1,000-member physician practice group and UC Davis Medical Center. UC Davis Health has roughly 10,000 employees, 800 students and an operating budget of $1.9 billion, and it handles 1 million outpatient visits per year. He joined UC Davis Health in 2018. HOMETOWN: Bronx, N.Y. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I became a doctor because my best friend’s grandfather made house calls. He made me feel so much better by giving me warm Coke when I had the flu. He was such an amazing role model, I decided I wanted to be a doctor when I was 12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Game of Thrones

In 1998, Dustin Corcoran started working at the California Medical Association, a nonprofit organization of more than 44,000 physicians, as the membership coordinator for the political action committee. He then became a staff lobbyist. He has been the CEO since 2010. For the past 10 years, Corcoran has been listed as one of Capitol Weekly’s top 100 power brokers in the state.

HOMETOWN: Los Alamitos, Calif. EDUCATION: American University, University of Southern California FAVORITE HOBBY: Snowboarding FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Wherever the best European football match is FAVORITE SACRAMENTO PLACE TO VISIT: Taylor’s Market WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: Run Kirkwood ski resort


Regional Development Director St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Senior Vice President/ Area Manager Kaiser Permanente Roseville


President/CEO Sutter Health

Elizabeth Culp is responsible for expanding several St. Jude efforts in the region, including the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. She previously served as the development director for the Crocker Art Museum and for the Society for the Blind, where she helped expand the organization’s services and teaching facility. Early in her career, Culp launched an award-winning marketing and communications agency serving credit unions. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: After recently enduring a bilateral renal infarction, I learned I have a rare condition called fibromuscular dysplasia, which has changed my life forever. It has taught me the depth of my resilience and the prominence of my family as a compass of strength. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I was a coxswain for the rowing team in college and a practice cox for the women’s quad team that represented the U.S. in the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Kim Menzel has worked in all aspects of Kaiser Permanente’s operations, including leading Roseville Medical Center’s COVID-19 response. She began her nursing career in 1990, later earning a master’s in health care administration. Menzel has brought innovation and creativity to several high-priority projects for Kaiser, including Care Without Delay, which ensures patients get the care they need when they need it.

FIRST JOB: At 14, I worked with my dad, who was a chef at Milk Farm Restaurant. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Corwin Harper, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente in the Central Valley. His skill of connecting with people is something I admire and have tried to emulate. FAVORITE BOOK: Dare to Lead by Brené Brown FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I am very connected to my Spanish heritage. Also, I am an awesome cook. I make a really yummy paella.

As president and CEO of Sutter Health, a not-forprofit health system that cares for 3 million patients, Krevans oversees 24 hospitals, 53,000 employees and 14,000 clinicians, as well as outpatient services, research facilities and home health and hospice care. Previously, Krevans was Sutter Health’s chief operating officer and held executive positions at Kaiser Permanente and Maine’s Bureau of Medical Services. Modern Healthcare named her one of the Top 25 Women Leaders. FIRST JOB: See’s Candies in Berkeley FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Family home in Maine WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: At school, I took small jobs at hospitals and was disenchanted with the health care system, particularly the way it treated the elderly and mentally ill. This inspired me to change my plan of becoming a doctor and instead pursue a career in health policy and administration to help fix the system.


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Food + Agriculture

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Food + Agriculture

JOANY TITHERINGTON Market Manager Oak Park Farmers Market


Head Brewer Mraz Brewing Company


Secretary California Department of Food and Agriculture


Joany Titherington has a long history of community leadership in Sacramento, including helping launch the award-winning Oak Park Farmers Market, which provides access to healthy food for Oak Park and surrounding neighborhoods. She is past president of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association and a former board member of the California Small Farm Conference. The California Endowment recognized Titherington in 2016 for her contributions to building healthy communities. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: The women in my family. Strong, thoughtful, determined, resilient, dedicated and loving. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: It chose me. Life’s circumstances brought it to my doorstep and unwittingly opened the door to new opportunities. FAVORITE FILM: Anything Star Wars PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: I have to think about our customers and their well-being in a whole new way.

Alabama native Lauren Price was proud to be the brewer at El Dorado Hills-based Mraz Brewing when the company was voted Best Brewery in the state at the 2018 California State Fair. She is a graduate of the UC Davis Master Brewers Program and holds an undergraduate degree in industrial distribution from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

FIRST JOB: Cook at a catfish restaurant BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: If you’re going to do it or be it, live the part. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I get to create liquid love. FAVORITE BOOK: The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Your thoughts create your reality. Think interesting thoughts. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I’ve had to concentrate on being really present and not worrying about what the future holds.

At CDFA, Karen Ross’ accomplishments include initiating programs to provide opportunities for farmers and ranchers to engage in sustainable environmental stewardship practices. She created the Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation. Ross, a Nebraska native, previously served as chief of staff to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Start every day with gratitude. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Growing up on a farm, I thought for sure I would do anything else, until I realized my heart, my values and my passion are all in agriculture. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Tremendous uncertainty and the anxiety it causes and not having a cohesive national plan BUCKET LIST: A graceful retirement, with time to give back to my community


Restaurateur South


Owner Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters


Executive Director Davis Farmers Market

N’Gina Guyton was born in New Orleans and raised in Sacramento, where she founded South, one of BuzzFeed’s Top 30 Black-Owned Restaurants in America. She has worked for Paragary Restaurant Group, the Starwood Hotel and Resort Family and Selland Family Restaurants. In 2019, Guyton launched The Verity Project, providing subsidized therapy for hospitality workers. She is currently focused on South’s private farm, Of Soil and Water, which provides produce for the restaurant. FIRST JOB: Busser at Fuddruckers BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Surrender to divine timing and live in the present. HIDDEN TALENT: I’m an artist. I paint, draw and sculpt. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Law & Order, baby! PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: We have been challenged to be more creative to stay on top and relevant.

Former nurse Edie Baker loves to create new things and take on new challenges. She and her husband founded their company in 2008, growing it to three coffeehouse locations in Sacramento. Baker created the Sacramento Public Latte Art Tournament in 2013 and co-created Sacramento Specialty Coffee Week in 2014. In 2017, Chocolate Fish won second overall in the largest coffee-roasting competition in North America, besting 900 competitors. FIRST JOB: Baskin-Robbins BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Shut up and listen. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: To accept myself the way I am, good and not so good FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I worked on fishing boats in Alaska for five summers. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: It made us resourceful and happy we are diverse in our offerings and income streams. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not knowing when it will end BUCKET LIST: I want to do everything.

New York native Randii MacNear has nearly four decades of experience in the farmers market industry. In addition to overseeing the acclaimed Davis Farmers Market, she is also responsible for the markets at Sutter Davis Hospital, UC Davis and Sutter Sacramento Medical Center. The Davis farmers market was the Davis Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2013 and has been featured in Sunset magazine and on National Public Radio. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Never make eye contact with the squirrels. LESSON LEARNED: You never know what is going on with someone, so try to be inspiring at all times. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: It combines good healthy food and being able to further agriculture and community building. HIDDEN TALENT: I am a ballroom dancer. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: To develop focused patience PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Isolation and anti-maskers


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ELISE BAUER Founder Simply Recipes

Blogging pioneer Elise Bauer founded Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to archive her family’s recipes. She eventually built the site into one of the most popular online cooking destinations in the world, serving millions of visitors monthly. Bauer, a graduate of Stanford University, was a marketing executive in Silicon Valley prior to starting Simply Recipes, which was purchased by Fexy Media in 2016. FIRST JOB: Snack bar attendant at a drive-in movie theater BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Praise publicly, criticize privately. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being sick with debilitating chronic fatigue for almost a decade while building Simply Recipes took every ounce of energy I had. I learned to focus on the light, on the positive. HIDDEN TALENT: I’m a third-degree black belt in Aikido, a Japanese martial art, and spend most of my evenings training. FAVORITE BOOK: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It is a comic masterpiece on par with Don Quixote. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Food is about love, nourishment, art, chemistry, biology, history and culture. It is endlessly interesting. BUCKET LIST: I’m studying Japanese and looking forward to the time when I can go back to visit Japan.

SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Food + Agriculture


CEO/Co-Owner Taylor’s Market


Owner/ Creative Director Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates


Chef/Owner Mulvaney’s B&L


Butcher Danny Johnson, a graduate of the Oregon Meat Cutting School, has had an ownership stake in Taylor’s Market since 1987. Johnson is passionate about expanding his knowledge of meat and butchering and educates himself by “traveling and stopping at every butcher shop I can find.” He is the captain of the U.S. Butchering Team, which took sixth place in the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge in Belfast, Northern Ireland. FIRST JOB: Mowing grandmother’s lawn MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Grandpa Sousa TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: 95% degloving injury to left hand FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love a great night at the opera. FAVORITE BOOK: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George WHAT I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF: Calm down. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Social distancing BUCKET LIST: To win the World Butchers’ Challenge in Sacramento

When chocolatier Ginger Elizabeth Hahn opened her boutique in Sacramento in 2008, she had already racked up serious credentials, including graduating with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Since then, she has been voted a Top Ten Chocolatier in North America by Pastry Arts Magazine. She recently opened Ginger Elizabeth Patisserie on J Street.

FIRST JOB: Barista TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: My daughter needing critical surgery as an infant BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: My mother told me that children will take you to your highest highs and lowest lows. HOBBY: Sewing my own clothes FAVORITE BOOK: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez WHAT MOTIVATES ME: Knowing that I’ll never know everything there is to know about chocolate

When Patrick Mulvaney moved to Sacramento in 1993, he knew that he had found his true home. The Garden City, N.Y., native has been instrumental in launching Sacramento’s farm-to-fork movement. He opened Mulvaney’s B&L, his restaurant devoted to local, seasonal food, in 2006. Mulvaney is an advocate for food access and equity as well as improving mental health services for those working in the hospitality industry. LESSON LEARNED: I came to Sacramento not knowing a soul and learned that this is a region that welcomes people who come to play on the field. HOBBY: Aimless late-night walks with the dog FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Any restaurant table across from my wife, Bobbin FEW PEOPLE KNOW: The day Ted Kaczynski was arrested, I received a standing ovation on coming to work at Paragary’s because they thought I was the Unabomber.


CEO Tiferet Coffee House


Chef/Owner The Waterboy, OneSpeed


CEO Temple Coffee Inc., Temple Coffee Roasters Inc.

Sabrina Berhane founded Tiferet Coffee House with her sister, Makeda Berhane, in 2014. Since then, the business has grown to three locations. Tiferet is the first vendor to be located inside Sacramento City Hall. Berhane, a former real estate agent, has made supporting the community and other small businesses central to her operations. Tiferet sources its coffee beans, food items and paper products from local businesses. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being a young mother and raising my son as I was learning to become an adult and begin a career FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love 1,000-piece puzzles, the more complex the better. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: Revenue loss. It’s a balancing act giving our team enough hours to survive, minimizing payroll costs and not working myself into the ground. BUCKET LIST: Executive MBA, travel and growing our consultancy business

Rick Mahan founded one of Sacramento’s most enduring restaurants, The Waterboy, in 1996. He was one of the first chefs in the city to focus on farm-tofork cooking, forging relationships early on with local farmers to provide diners with the highest-quality ingredients. One of Mahan’s hobbies, bike riding, became the theme of his pizza-centric restaurant, OneSpeed.

FIRST JOB: Neighborhood paper route HIDDEN TALENT: Aspiring magician FAVORITE SACRAMENTO PLACES TO VISIT: The Railroad Museum and the American River Parkway BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Whatever you think you know at 30, check back in a couple of decades. FAVORITE FILM: The Station Agent WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: Architect BUCKET LIST: Train ride across Canada

Edmond, Okla., native Sean Kohmescher sold his 1948 Harley Davidson and 1958 Volkswagen bug to raise money to open Temple Coffee in downtown Sacramento in 2005. Today, the company has seven coffeehouse locations and a roastery. Temple has been named best coffeehouse in Sacramento and garnered awards for its coffees and interior design. Kohmescher is a founder of Specialty Coffee Week Sacramento and has served as a chapter representative for the Barista Guild of America. FIRST JOB: My own mowing and landscaping business at age 14 TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Keeping ahead of a growing business takes constant reorganization. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I used to hold the track record at Thunderhill Raceway in class TTD for racing cars. I used to want to be a motorcycle mechanic. FAVORITE BOOK: On the Road by Jack Kerouac ADVICE FOR A RECENT GRADUATE: Nothing beats work ethic!


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Government + Civic Leaders

SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Government + Civic Leaders


Creative Economy Manager City of Sacramento


Secretary California Health and Human Services Agency


Director California Department of Developmental Services


Megan Van Voorhis built her career upon the relationship between the arts and community development. As president and CEO of Arts Cleveland, she positioned that city as a national hub for the intersection of arts and other sectors, including health and human services, public safety and education. Van Voorhis, who holds a BFA in dance and an MBA, oversees initiatives and programs promoting arts and culture throughout Sacramento. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I believe arts engagement lifts the spirit and makes lives better. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Find the work that has meaning for you, because on your best days you’ll soar, and on your worst, you’ll know it’s worth it. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: It’s been devastating to people in the arts. We’re facing at least a four- or five-year recovery window.

Minneapolis native Mark Ghaly oversees California’s largest agency, where he works to expand health care coverage and access to all Californians. A pediatrician and public health expert, Ghaly previously worked in county health leadership roles in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he created the county’s Housing for Health program, which has supported more than 6,500 chronically ill individuals facing homelessness. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Be kinder than necessary, even when it’s hard. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: In a world where achievement matters a great deal, leading with kindness while staying focused on your task PANDEMIC’S LESSON: Despite hard work to close disparities among the least advantaged, we have much to do to treat groups as equals. BUCKET LIST: More volunteer physician work in low-income countries and taking my four kids with me

Since 2016, Nancy Bargmann has led the department that, in conjunction with 21 private nonprofit regional centers across the state, provides support and services to more than 350,000 Californians with intellectual/developmental disabilities. In her most recent prior position with the department, she developed policy and oversaw regional center operations and services. Bargmann began her career with The Arc of Orange County. FIRST JOB: Cutting weeds in a Nebraska soybean field FEW PEOPLE KNOW: The year I turned 50 I finished five marathons, one for each decade. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I am now cooking! WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Always wanted to be a social worker, but a temporary job turned into an incredibly rewarding and purposeful career. The individuals we serve inspire me every day. BUCKET LIST: Playing golf at Pebble Beach

TALIA SHANI KAUFMAN Executive Vice President Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce


Chief Executive Officer Valley Vision


President Meals for All, Inc.

Talia Shani Kaufman oversees the Metro Chamber’s strategy, including public affairs, community relations, internal and external communications, operations and staff oversight. She previously worked as director of community impact for the Sacramento Kings, overseeing all community initiatives during the building of Golden 1 Center. Kaufman serves on the boards of Juma Sacramento and Teach for America–Capital Valley Region. LESSON LEARNED: Systemic change is incredibly hard work that requires years of relationship building, trust and love for community. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’m a professionally trained pastry chef. WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Create a path to work that gives you purpose. BUCKET LIST: Travel. The pandemic has forced me to reprioritize my travel destinations; I never imagined there would be a time when our ability to travel was restricted.

Evan Schmidt’s experience in community development includes economic development, community engagement, land use planning, public health and more. In 2014, she joined Valley Vision, where she has supported the organization’s goals of advancing prosperity, equity and sustainability across the region through research and leadership. Schmidt was named CEO in 2020. She is a senior fellow in the Nehemiah Emerging Leadership Program. FIRST JOB: Cashier at a local burger/shake restaurant LESSON LEARNED: Doing big things means taking risks and being vulnerable; otherwise you will always live small. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I want to be of service to others, and I love bringing people together and problem solving. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’ve climbed 15+ 14,000-foot mountains. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not knowing what is coming next BUCKET LIST: International trip

Registered dietitian Lee Tincher founded Meals for All in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when she determined that there had to be a better way to provide nutritious meals to people in health care facilities during emergencies. Today, the company provides a safety net of more than 20 million disaster-ready meals in 2,000 hospitals across the country. A job as a weekend dishwasher in a nursing home helped launch Tincher’s career. HIDDEN TALENT: Creating quilts, especially art quilts that decorate my home WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Work hard, love your family and do good in the world—it will come back to you. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Be prepared! Our entire country—in fact, the whole world—realized too late that we’re woefully unprepared for disasters or a pandemic. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Living alone and being home alone 24/7


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Fire Chief Sacramento Fire Department Gary Loesch, Sacramento’s 22nd fire chief, leads a department of about 711 members serving 530,000 residents and responding to more than 93,000 calls annually. A veteran chief officer, Loesch is experienced serving as the authority in planning, establishing, directing and overseeing activities of personnel performing fire suppression, medical response, rescue, prevention and hazardous materials mitigation functions. He has a proven track record of finding new and innovative solutions to improving service delivery. Loesch has served in various leadership capacities, including planning and operations chief for the 2015 World Meeting of Families and Papal Visit to Philadelphia and the 2016 Democratic National Convention. EDUCATION: Neumann University FIRST JOB: U.S. Army helicopter crew chief BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Always remember where you came from. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My grandfather, Edward Loesch FAVORITE FILMS: Midway and Heaven Can Wait TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Trying to stay apolitical in a politically polarized environment WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Realizing a childhood dream FEW PEOPLE KNOW: Talented race car driver, baseball pitcher and drummer for a rock band PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Just another challenge to overcome in life PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: Increased risk we face as first responders and the corresponding financial impact PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Continuing to fulfill our mission and meet the needs of the community while also keeping our members safe from infection BUCKET LIST: To travel the back roads across the country and spend one night in every state (27 and counting)


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Government + Civic Leaders


Senior Pastor Capital Christian Center


Chief Executive Officer Sacramento Region Community Foundation


President/CEO Make-A-Wish Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada


As senior pastor at Capital Christian Center, Rick Cole leads a 4,000-member church community, a pastoral staff of 14, a 900-student school and 300 church and school employees. He succeeded his father in this leadership role in 1995. Cole is the author of two books. He led a 2010 initiative to raise funds to combat homelessness. Cole is an advocate for racial reconciliation. He is involved with programs that assist underserved schools and students. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Overcoming shyness. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I had a concern for others and wanted to help. I found I had a broken heart for broken people. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’ve run three marathons. FAVORITE BOOK: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has brought to the surface the deep divide in our country. I’m more aware of how I treat others.

Linda Beech Cutler has helped increase charitable funds, assets and grants during her tenure at the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. Under her leadership, the Big Day of Giving program has generated more than $52 million for hundreds of area nonprofits. Cutler’s former employers include the Sacramento County Airport System, Mercy Foundation and GenCorp. She is former chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: It’s better to admit you don’t know an answer than to wing it. LESSON LEARNED: The future will only be bright if I let go of past hurt and anger. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Having been in the private sector most of my career, I was ready to move to the nonprofit sector, which is so critical to our region’s well-being. FAVORITE BOOK: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Jennifer Stolo has grown the Sacramento-headquartered Make-A-Wish chapter to include 45 counties throughout California and Nevada while reducing administration costs 6.5% and increasing wish granting 35%. Prior to this position, she managed a $40 million campaign to expand access to dental care. Stolo was named the Loyola Marymount University Alumnus of the Year for Northern California in 2018. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: There’s no crying in baseball. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mom. As a single mom raising two daughters and working as a pediatric oncology charge nurse, she did it all. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I played softball from age 10 to freshman year of college and was a gymnast for eight years. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: It’s heartbreaking to see children wait for wishes when they need them more than ever.


Vice Mayor City of Davis


Executive Director Local Government Commission


Co-Founder/CEO Improve Your Tomorrow

Anchorage, Alaska, native Lucas Frerichs is a regional voice for smart growth, multimodal transit, public safety, economic development and environmental sustainability. He is the chair of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Frerichs championed a $300 million surface water project that supplies clean water from the Sacramento River. He works as the associate director of state policy for The Nature Conservancy. FIRST JOB: Trail maintenance for the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I have a fundamental belief that government has the power to solve pressing problems. FAVORITE BOOK: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. It was my introduction to California and I was hooked. It is as relevant today as when first written. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I’ve increased my physical activity by making Zoom calls while walking.

Kate Meis oversees the work of the Local Government Commission, a nonprofit supporting local policymakers with technical assistance and policy guidance. She co-founded CivicSpark, which assists local leaders with creating vibrant communities, and the California Adaptation Forum, which addresses climate change resiliency. The Chronicle of Philanthropy named Meis a 40 Under 40 Young Leader Who Is Solving the Problems of Today. LESSON LEARNED: What feels like falling or failing is actually a step toward the growth we need to evolve and experience greater happiness and deeper purpose. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I grew up in Visalia, where I thought it was normal for soccer to be canceled because of bad air days and for driving to be the only viable transportation option. After studying in Paris, I realized there are other ways to move and live in a community.

Stockton native Michael Lynch has grown Improve Your Tomorrow as one of the largest direct-service education nonprofits in the country exclusively serving young men of color. Its mission is to increase the number of young men of color who attend and graduate from college. The organization has sent more than 300 men of color to college in five years. Lynch was previously a policy adviser in the California Legislature. FIRST JOB: KFC BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Trust in the Lord. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My dad WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: To help young men who grew up like me achieve a college education FAVORITE BOOK: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Witnessing communities of color continue to be disproportionately affected by another disaster


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Director of Family Services Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services Genevieve Deignan Levy has expanded the client services programs of Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, overseeing programs that provide supplies, resources and educational opportunities to Sacramentans in need. Levy created two new programs for the organization, Immigration Legal Services and Refugee Resettlement Services. She is a recipient of the Sherwood Carthen Service Above Self Award from the city of Sacramento.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Only handle a piece of paper one time. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I have always felt that I give because I can. I try to approach all people with humility and treat them with respect, exactly as I would want to be treated. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: In 2015, one of our recently arrived refugees was hit by a car and killed, and his son suffered a severe brain injury. We helped the widowed mother of four, who did not speak any English, navigate these unknown systems and secure her family’s immediate needs. I learned more from this experience, which lasted years, than any other experience in my life. I was in awe of her, to be in a new country, not speak the language, experience the loss of her husband, know that her son’s life would forever be changed, and she was still gracious, kind, able to survive and move forward. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I played Division 1 women’s rugby at UC Davis. SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Government + Civic Leaders


Chief Executive Officer Paratransit, Inc.


President/CEO Greater Sacramento Urban League


City Manager City of Elk Grove


Tiffani Fink managed the restructuring of Paratransit, Inc. as the organization ended its contract with Sacramento Regional Transit. She also successfully oversaw $9 million in improvements to the agency’s facility and fleet. Fink is a founding member of the UC Davis Public Policy Alumni Advisory Group. She created and implemented the Moving Youth to Jobs program, which connects Sacramento youth with transportation literacy skills. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: How people feel about something matters. You may disagree on the facts, but their feelings are 100% their feelings. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Watching my father lose his battle with Lewy body dementia. It was like him dying twice. Nothing prepares you for the day your parent no longer knows who you are. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I was an extra in an episode of George Burns Comedy Week.

Before joining the Greater Sacramento Urban League, Cassandra Jennings served as senior adviser to then-Mayor Kevin Johnson on issues related to the arts, homelessness, housing and public safety. She is a former assistant city manager for Sacramento and worked for two decades with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. She serves on the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and Golden 1 Credit Union board. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: Growing up in the Jim Crow South, I understood inequity early in life. It sparked my desire to work with people to change and provide opportunities in urban and rural communities. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I went to jail for anti-apartheid protesting. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Focused on self-care: studying the Word, enjoying my home, walking my neighborhood BUCKET LIST: Travel to Africa

During Jason Behrmann’s tenure as city manager of Elk Grove, he has led efforts to develop several major projects, including the city’s first animal shelter and the District 56 campus, which includes Elk Grove Aquatics Center, community center, outdoor activity and event center and the Preserve nature area. He previously served as city manager for Galt. He received the League of California Cities 2019 award for the Advancement of Diverse Communities. HOMETOWN: Los Osos, Calif. EDUCATION: Brigham Young University, Indiana University FIRST JOB: Paper delivery boy OTHER CITIES HE’S WORKED FOR: Bloomington, Ind.; San Luis Obispo and Dublin, Calif. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Always treat people with kindness. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I wanted to make a difference in the community and see the impact of policies, program and projects on the quality of life of local residents.


Senior Researcher California Research Bureau


Executive Director Midtown Association


Vice President of Communications Visit Sacramento

Devin Lavelle has helped direct investments in climate change resiliency infrastructure and develop legislation to direct the benefits of cap-and-trade funds to disadvantaged communities, among other accomplishments. He is a Parks and Community Enrichment commissioner for the city of Sacramento, organizing volunteer efforts to beautify public parks. Lavelle was named a rising star by the American Society for Public Administration. HOMETOWN: Oakland, Calif. FIRST JOB: Referee for Oakland Soccer Club BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Happy wife, happy life INSPIRING PERSON: My grandfather, Ron Schulz, who lived a life of pure public service WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Enjoy the moment, but always have a plan. Be willing to throw out the plan as often as necessary. BUCKET LIST: Helping my wife’s family fulfill their dream of returning to Spain

Under the leadership of Emily Baime Michaels, the Midtown Association has generated $15 million in assessment funds for midtown Sacramento, resulting in a major investment in the popular business and culture district. She led the formation of Midtown Parks, a nonprofit aimed at improving community health and engagement. She has served on the boards of Visit Sacramento, Visit Sutter’s Fort and the Midtown Neighborhood Association. MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: Elizabeth Gilbert for the vulnerability in her writing; Byron Katie for her humanity and leadership; and my great-great-grandma, who survived a journey from Europe as a baby with only a few sugar cubes to eat. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Our company has almost completely pivoted our business model, I lost my mom, and my household is 50 percent unemployed. I am one of so many with similar stories.

Kari Miskit is responsible for sharing Sacramento’s destination story with the rest of the country through media relations and creative communications. She works with national and local journalists, serves as an organizational spokesperson and develops programs that highlight Sacramento as a destination. She also educates locals about supporting the city’s tourism-dependent businesses. Prior to her tenure with Visit Sacramento, Miskit worked for nine years with the public relations agency Edelman. FIRST JOB: Sales associate at The Gap Outlet WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: My dad was in the same line of work. His job (and the fact that he liked doing it) always resonated with me. FAVORITE MOVIE: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: Because we are funded predominantly by hotel tax, our organization lost the majority of our budget as well as more than half our employees.


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Government + Civic Leaders

STEPHANIE MCLEMORE BRAY President/CEO United Way California Capital Region


President/CEO PRIDE Industries


Chief Executive Officer/General Manager SMUD

Under the leadership of Stephanie McLemore Bray, United Way launched the Square One Project, a more-than-20-year effort to end poverty through education. Bray is an avid reader and writer and the founder of Black Women Write, an organization that supports Black women on the path to publication. She serves on the board of Valley Vision and is a member of the city of Sacramento’s Inclusive Economic Development Investment Committee. FIRST JOB: Intern in my father’s law office MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My sisters, both brilliant scientists and scholars HIDDEN TALENT: I crochet. It teaches me patience, how to focus and I get a nice afghan or scarf out of it when I’m done. BUCKET LIST: Getting a literary agent and book deal for my novel

Jeff Dern has spent the past dozen years contributing to PRIDE’s mission of creating jobs for people with disabilities. He played a role in PRIDE’s expansion into facilities operations and maintenance, manufacturing and supply chain services. Dern was named a Sacramento State Distinguished Alumnus in 2019. He serves on the boards of the California Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Feedback is a gift! MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Former PRIDE CEO Michael Ziegler FAVORITE BOOK: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand LESSON LEARNED: After two economic downturns, I’ve learned that when leadership remains calm, offers hope and asks for help, the team rises to the challenge. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: PRIDE’s businesses are aligned with a variety of essential partners, which keeps our operations going strong.

Paul Lau is CEO and general manager of the sixth largest community-owned electric utility in the nation. The 38-year SMUD veteran previously served as chief grid strategy and operations officer. Lau serves on several boards, including the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce. He was part of a team that helped bring a $127 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to Sacramento. HOMETOWN: Born in Hong Kong; raised in Nigeria, Truckee and Sacramento FIRST JOB: Cashier at McDonald’s MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mother FAVORITE MOVIE: The Notebook PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: Our work-from-home employees went from 130 to 1,400 literally overnight. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Not being able to see and hug people in person BUCKET LIST: Visit Yellowstone National Park


President/CEO UCP of Sacramento and Northern California


Councilmember-Elect City of Sacramento, District 4


Director Mercy Pedalers, Inc.

Indiana native Doug Bergman leads United Cerebral Palsy of Sacramento and Northern California, which provides programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Under his leadership, UCP has expanded its reach from 1,400 to 5,800 clients. His expertise lies in increasing organizational efficiencies while meeting the ongoing needs of UCP’s diverse clients.

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: There are two sides to every story. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Changing a company culture FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I can name the most alternative music artists and groups from the ’80s FAVORITE MOVIE: My Cousin Vinny PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: Both bad and good. We have temporarily closed some programs, while another program supporting parents who have a child with a developmental disability has been in high demand.

In addition to winning a seat on the Sacramento City Council, Katie Valenzuela is policy and political director at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. She was president of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association and helped found the South Oak Park Neighborhood Association. Valenzuela also helped start the Sacramento Young Professionals of Color networking group and managed an urban garden and youth employment program. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Running for office, by far WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: My dad raised me to believe my voice mattered, that people who are impacted deserve a say in decisions. I started doing community development work at age 13 and found my passion. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’m an excellent baker. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Living alone

Sister Libby Fernandez was executive director of Loaves & Fishes for more than a decade before founding Mercy Pedalers, an organization of volunteers who help people experiencing homelessness. “Through working with people experiencing homelessness on the streets of Sacramento, I found that being present in the moment, sharing a cup of coffee together and calling the person by name are the most important gifts one can offer,” says Fernandez. FIRST JOB: Round Table Pizza BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: From Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy: The poor need help today, not next week. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I have my freefall wings from the U.S. Air Force. HOBBY: Backpacking in the wilderness WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: National park ranger WHAT MOTIVATES ME: God and hope in the goodness of humankind

SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Other Professionals



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FRANCISCO CASTILLO Senior Director of Public Affairs Union Pacific Railroad

Francisco Castillo manages Union Pacific’s state legislative strategy and community relations activities in Northern California and Northern Nevada. Before his current position, he served as the organization’s director of corporate relations and media. His former employers include the nonprofit educational organization StudentsFirst and the offices of first lady Maria Shriver and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Castillo serves on the West Sacramento Planning Commission and the boards of Sacramento Covered, Yolo County Children’s Alliance and St. Hope Public Schools. He was a 2018 fellow of the American Leadership Forum. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Never give in. Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mother, Sara Aleman TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being raised by a single mother, my family experienced lower socioeconomic status compared to individuals whose families were fully intact. Children from poor households are at increased risk to live in a low-quality home environment and poor neighborhood conditions. While I did experience some challenges as a result, it motivated me to work harder and prove that no matter your circumstances, one can succeed. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I wanted a profession where I had the opportunity to master my knowledge in public policy while elevating the voices of underserved communities. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: In 2003, I was convinced to join a merengue band, Mambo Loko, and performed all over the Bay Area and once in Sacramento! WHAT I’D TELL MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF: Be brave and true to who you are—wearing unnecessary masks just to fit in or avoid facing the reality of you can make life feel hopeless and imprisoned. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has allowed me to discover new talents, including gardening and my love for art. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON WORK: In April 2020, the company announced a summer of furloughs and pay cuts for employees and executives. I’m thankful to still have a job at Union Pacific Railroad during these challenging times. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Getting used to virtual-learning format for two kids

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Commercial Real Estate Partner Downey Brand LLP


Owner Law Office of Jo Anne M. Bernhard


Entrepreneur Gina Lujan Armstrong is the founder of Hacker Lab, a coworking and maker space rooted in community building. Lujan Armstrong received the national Latina of Excellence in Information Sciences and Technology award in 2015. Hacker Lab received the 2019 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Salud Business Award for Community. Lujan Armstrong passionately supports Code for Hood, an award-winning nonprofit that educates youth in underserved communities. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Being a mother at age 16 without having a traditional home, upbringing or parents. Then having six children by age 22. I learned that a family needs time and presence, not things. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: The experiences you have are the needed courses to do your life’s work. SHOUT-OUT: It is really important to me to thank my team at Hacker Lab. They make me look good; without them, Hacker Lab wouldn’t exist.

Danielle Stephens is a partner in the real estate group at Downey Brand. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her law school class at Santa Clara University. She is a graduate of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Leadership Program, Sacramento’s Management Academy and the FBI Citizen Academy. Her regional honors include Best of the Bar, Top Lawyer and Northern California Super Lawyer.

HOMETOWN: Danville, Calif. FIRST JOB: Yogurt store clerk BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I played the keyboard in a ladies rock band called Time’s Up. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Juggling the dramatic increase in demand for my legal services with the needs of my school-aged daughter and my pregnancy

Jo Anne M. Bernhard specializes in real estate law, specifically commercial property, representing shopping center developers, owners, managers, tenants and brokers. She has worked as the longtime attorney for the James J. Cordano family with regard to their commercial properties. Bernhard is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers, winning the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

FIRST JOB: Working the soda fountain at a retail store MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My father, who was so forward thinking, and my mother, who kept the traditional Italian/Sicilian values. It was a good balance. HIDDEN TALENT: Making Sicilian cookies FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love live boxing matches. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Getting through law school PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: Not being able to hug my family BUCKET LIST: I’m always open to travel.


Television Host/ Executive Producer PBS KVIE


Senior Vice President/Market Manager Entercom


CEO/Owner Post Modern Marketing

South Carolina native Rob Stewart is an Emmy Award-winning television host and producer as well as one of the most sought-after emcees in California. His show, Rob on the Road, which is in its 10th season, is KVIE’s highest-ranked local program. Stewart is the winner of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center PRIDE Award for Service and a senior fellow with the American Leadership Forum Class of XIX.

FIRST JOB: I had a stand at the farmers market when I was 12. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Facing my abuse of alcohol. I quit drinking in 2013. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I sang in concert with Patti LaBelle and covered Joe Biden for five years in Delaware. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I will never take a hug for granted again. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: That even a pandemic can turn political

Munster, Indiana, native Stacey Kauffman is a collaborative leader who oversees the Sacramento office of Entercom, the media business behind the radio stations Alt 94.7, 98 Rock, 96.9 The Eagle, 102.5 KSFM, 106.5 The End and ESPN 1320. She is the 2018 winner of the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Radio Wayne Award for Director of Sales/General Sales Manager of the Year, considered the highest award in the industry. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mom, who was a single working mother of two girls who put herself through school at night and somehow managed to be present for all my sporting events LESSON LEARNED: Talent doesn’t equal success. Hire for the unteachables, like fit, grit, work ethic and attitude. FAVORITE BOOK: Anything from Brené Brown PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has created a rare, universal opportunity for shared empathy.

Josh Rubin, who built his first website in the mid1990s, has gone on to pursue a career in graphic design, web development, SEO and marketing strategy. He has run marketing campaigns for a variety of companies, from startups to established firms. Rubin launched the firm Creative California in 2009, later merging it with Post Modern Marketing in 2016. He volunteers with Sacramento SCORE, which assists budding entrepreneurs. LESSON LEARNED: Always trust your gut. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Star Trek character Captain Picard FAVORITE MOVIE: The Wizard of Oz FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’m really good at board games, particularly Settlers of Catan, but I can’t roll dice to save my life. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I didn’t appreciate the variety of life I had before COVID. I look forward to enjoying all that Sacramento has to offer after all this is over.


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Roshaun Davis was a self-described starving artist when he founded Unseen Heroes in 2008. Today, the award-winning events and marketing agency oversees programming that generates millions of dollars annually for musicians, artists, makers and the larger creative community. “We’ve literally made a creative economy out of a void we saw back then,” says Davis. The firm is the catalyst behind signature events including Diner en Blanc and GATHER: Oak Park. Davis and wife Maritza delivered a TEDx talk on showing love to one’s city. FIRST JOB: Togo’s BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Be still. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: My mom WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I love collaborating and connecting with people. LESSON LEARNED: The work that needs to be done isn’t external; it is internal. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I am an avid reader. FAVORITE BOOK: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: You are meant to live a life where you have everything your heart desires, but have to believe it and speak accordingly. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It has literally changed my entire life. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Keeping a clear head and a light heart BUCKET LIST: Visiting all the chakras of the earth LATEST PROJECT: I started an Instagram account during the pandemic called @thespiritualhomie. It is a curated collection of conversations, thoughts and words of wisdom from our mental health and spiritual homies. It has helped me find my community and get through some of the tough days.

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Vice President/ Managing Director Merlot Marketing


Owner AP Group, Inc.


Partner Downey Brand LLP


Brenda Granucci Forman brings 20 years of marketing experience to her work at Merlot. She has won awards in website development, advertising, corporate identity and strategic public relations campaigns. Forman was named Media Person of the Year by the American Advertising Federation, Sacramento Chapter. She has secured media coverage for her clients in major news publications, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Managing a business during a recession and now a pandemic FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I love woodworking, specifically small projects like building a workbench or coffee table. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Big Bang Theory. It’s a guilty pleasure. PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: It gave me the time to start new hobbies. I started a hydroponic garden and we are now raising chickens.

Angie Papendick founded AP Group, a boutique CPA firm specializing in real estate and construction, in 2016. “As founder, I have been able to provide a flexible work/life balance to my staff as well as provide opportunities for career growth,” says Papendick. She was previously a partner at Gallina LLP and Burnett + Company LLP. Papendick’s favorite aspect of her work is helping other business owners meet their goals. HOMETOWN: Red Bluff, Calif. EDUCATION: Sacramento State University, Golden Gate University FIRST JOB: Legal secretary MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Oprah WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Be assertive.

Tyson Hubbard, who moved to Sacramento from the East Coast in 2014, was elected to the partnership at Downey Brand just three years after his arrival. Hubbard served for four years on the executive committee of the Sacramento County Bar Association Probate and Estate Planning Section. He is currently a commissioner on the City of Davis Recreation and Park Commission and a member of the board of the Davis Sunrise Rotary Club. EDUCATION: Harvard University, Syracuse University College of Law MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My grandparents. My mother died in a car accident when I was 3, and my grandparents welcomed me to live with them on their farm. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: My clients are in the midst of deep emotional intrafamily conflict; I enjoy helping them emerge from that turmoil. FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Office



Associate/ Project Manager Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture


Founding Editor VOICES: River City

Patrick Harbison is an experienced publicist, media consultant, publicity professional and media booker. He is a three-time winner of the Hermes Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. Harbison was named the 2016 Influencer of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America. He supports WEAVE, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sacramento Theatre Company and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. FIRST JOB: Sandwich maker at Togo’s MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Oprah, of course! FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I was a nationally ranked tennis player. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Buffy the Vampire Slayer PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: I miss events and seeing people regularly. For an extrovert, it can be really taxing on your mental health. BUCKET LIST: Jameson Distillery Dublin whiskey tour

Architect Christopher Holt believes that mentoring and informal education play an underappreciated role in a person’s success. His nontraditional path to architecture brings a unique economy to his technical approach to design. Holt served as a planning commissioner in the city of Woodland and a member of the board of the American Institute of Architects Central Valley. Recent projects include the Powerhouse Science Center and Sacramento City College’s Mohr Hall. FIRST JOB: Mrs. Fields cookie store TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: Becoming a licensed architect without a higher-education degree HIDDEN TALENT: I’ve painted and sketched all my life. Most recently, watercolor painting has become an obsession, one that I do for an hour every single morning. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: The isolation. So many of the things we take for granted on a daily basis have been wiped away.

Dave Kempa is the founding editor of VOICES: River City, a podcast devoted to investigative reporting, breaking news, commentary and local arts coverage. He has reported on topics ranging from homelessness to wine. Kempa, who taught journalism at American River College, is working to develop a “sustainable culture of writers” in Sacramento. Along with two colleagues, he runs No Flacks Allowed, a monthly meetup for journalists. MOST INSPIRING PERSON: Investigative journalist Gary Webb WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I wanted to get paid to write—ha! FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’m very good at pool. FAVORITE BOOK: Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON BUSINESS: Boots-on-the-ground reporting has not been easy to pursue, but this has interestingly been a great environment for our podcast to flourish. PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: I miss hugs.


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Co-Founder/Director The Makers Place


Creative Director Position Interactive


CEO/Fearless Leader Creating Answers

Entrepreneur Leslie Bosserman launched and leads The Makers Place, Sacramento’s first coworking space offering on-site child care. She is also an executive coach and lifestyle strategist for millennial leaders and their managers. Through her boutique coaching and consulting practice, Lead With Intention, she offers leadership coaching and customized training for clients around the world. Bosserman has served on the leadership team for TEDxSacramento. FIRST JOB: Flute and piccolo tutor BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Plan the event, not the outcome. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I have been an entrepreneur for over a decade because I believe in creating the kind of community I desire to live in. HIDDEN TALENT: I have perfect pitch! FAVORITE BOOK: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Financial uncertainty in business

A third-generation Sacramentan, Phil Tretheway is an award-winning graphic designer and marketing strategist. He is a founding member of Metro EDGE and serves on the board of the Metro Chamber Foundation. Tretheway also co-founded Creativity+, a community organization to inspire and champion creativity in Sacramento. He is co-producing Spirit Wings, a placemaking public art project comprising a series of sculptures, with Megan Blackwell.


Partner/Hiring Partner Downey Brand LLP


Managing Partner Downey Brand LLP

Meghan Baker’s litigation practice focuses on commercial, employment, real estate and probate disputes. She also handles class action defense, construction defect and product liability claims. Her clients include professional and financial service providers, developers and construction companies, as well as manufacturers and distributors. Baker graduated first in her class at McGeorge School of Law and was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine. HOMETOWN: Benicia, Calif. FIRST JOB: Lifeguard MOST INSPIRING PERSONS: My parents FEW PEOPLE KNOW: My love for music and Excel spreadsheets FAVORITE BOOK: East of Eden by John Steinbeck FAVORITE TV SHOW: Schitt’s Creek PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: As a lawyer and mom, I’ve always been a multitasker, but the pandemic has brought new meaning to that term!

Scott Shapiro is an attorney and legislative and policy advocate focused on water, flood and natural resource issues and law. He assists clients with more than $1 billion in projects in California’s Central Valley and issues involving FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has expertise in drafting federal legislation in the flood protection arena and has extensive litigation experience focusing on cases arising from levee failures.

FIRST JOB: Winn Brothers Construction clean-up crew BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: Bring each decision back to your values. FEW PEOPLE KNOW: I’d rather be fishing. WHY I CHOSE THIS WORK: I’m energized by the challenge of connecting to people in compelling and creative ways. FAVORITE TV SHOW: The West Wing PANDEMIC’S EFFECT ON ME: I appreciate time with friends.

HOMETOWN: Norristown, Penn. EDUCATION: Rutgers University, Lewis & Clark Law School FIRST JOB: Paper boy HIDDEN TALENT: Pigeon calling FAVORITE FILM: Sneakers WHAT I’D TELL A RECENT GRADUATE: Take a year off before college. See the world, enjoy and travel. PANDEMIC’S PERSONAL EFFECT: I am walking more! PANDEMIC’S TOUGHEST ASPECT: Feeling like electronics have to come between us BUCKET LIST: To build a masonry wall

Shawna Fitzgerald leads Creating Answers, an external CFO firm. She serves as treasurer for the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Sacramento chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She started her first business at the age of 21 “not having a clue about what entrepreneurship entailed” and by the age of 30 had originated, purchased and developed multiple businesses.

A multidiscipline designer, Rebecca Plumb creates designs for homes, commercial spaces and personal branding that reflect the people who use them. She is a former co-owner and creative director at the Honey agency and founder and host of CreativeMornings Sacramento, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. Plumb has been featured in Sacramento Magazine, Comstock’s, Apartment Therapy, Today. com and City Scout.

EDUCATION: Sacramento City College, Sacramento State University FIRST JOB: Waitress at Hal’s Grubstake NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: While I’m extremely proud of my own accomplishments, the greatest part of what I do is helping other businesses to be successful. I’ve coached and led nearly 100 businesses, organizations and individuals to financial success and overall growth. FAVORITE FILM: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory BUCKET LIST: Visit and explore Ireland.


Owner Studio Plumb

FIRST JOB: Ironing my dad’s work shirts for $1 each. He liked a starched collar. BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: You don’t have to be the one in the spotlight to be successful; you can be the campfire that gathers smaller groups together. FAVORITE SACRAMENTO PLACE TO VISIT: Sacramento Antique Faire on the second Sunday of the month WHAT I’D DO IF I DIDN’T DO THIS JOB: Design and run Airbnbs

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We catch up with local media personalities who have left (or switched) their familiar mediums. STORY ELENA M. MACALUSO PHOTOGRAPHY TYLER & CHRISTINA


ou get used to watching someone on TV every night as you catch the news before bed, or seeing their byline every morning as you sip your coffee and

read the newspaper. So when they move on to new pastures, you find yourself thinking, “I wonder what happened to . . . ?” In the following pages, we catch up with five longtime TV and print journalists to find out, well, where are they now?

Cristina Mendonsa, former evening anchor, ABC10

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S T E FA N I E CRUZ THEN Anchor/Reporter, KTXL FOX40 NOW Transparency Engagement Adviser, Cole Pro Media Stefanie Cruz spent 12 years as an anchor/reporter in Sacramento, first at KMAX-TV’s “Good Day Sacramento” and then at KTXL FOX40. These days, as a transparency engagement adviser with Cole Pro Media, she helps law enforcement entities and local governments communicate with transparency and sensitivity. She’s been at that job for nearly three years. Speaking their truth “We help law enforcement tell their story, show them how to use social media platforms, how to connect with the community—best practices for that,” says Cruz. Tenuous times “You see the pain the community has,” says Cruz about the divide between law enforcement and some members of the community. “I think the vast majority of law enforcement officers are good people. There’s pain on both sides, and no one knows quite how to solve this issue or meet in the middle, whatever that means.”



Surprise, surprise “That I could grow in so many ways, that has been surprising,” says Cruz. “I feel like there’s a little sliver of the world that I was good at for 20 years and finally felt like, ‘OK, I’m the main anchor at a TV station. This is what I was born to do and this is what I’ve always wanted.’ Then, when you don’t do that, you’re like, ‘Wow, do I have any other contributions to make? What can I do?’ I love that here I am, 46 years old, and still learning new skills. I found that, honestly, to be a gift.” Family matters “I have a lot more quality time with my family, and that matters to me,” says Cruz about her husband, Jason, and kids, Grant, 16, and Grace, 11. “You don’t have your kids at home forever. TV was very demanding and, in a lot of ways, comes first, and I don’t want to be there right now in my life. I want to live the life where I can go on walks at night and I can have conversations with my kids, and you can’t schedule those. They just come up when they come up.”

ED FLETCHER THEN Reporter, The Sacramento Bee NOW Interim Afternoon Anchor, Capital Public Radio; Owner, Perpetual F Entertainment Ed Fletcher spent nearly 18 years as a reporter at The Sacramento Bee before his departure in 2018. These days, he is an interim afternoon anchor at Capital Public Radio. A documentary film-maker and screenwriter, Fletcher is also the owner of Perpetual F Entertainment. On the switch from print to broadcast “I’ve always been a multimedia person before there was probably a term for it, and this has been a chance to kind of grow those skills and develop a different medium,” says Fletcher, who started out as a broadcast major at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and dabbled in video work during his years at The Bee. Honing his instincts “My natural instinct as a reporter is to look for stories about the way we live and how people are experiencing life. My nose will steer me into the kind of things that I’m interested in and things that I think people are curious about—maybe not necessarily the biggest news of all times, but about how we can be living our lives better. I think that how businesses adjust to the pandemic are some of the most important stories that we can tell right now.”

Tight quarters “The challenge with radio is to know everything so that you’re conversant on it—you’re as versed as a print reporter—but then try to boil it down to the time frame that you have,” says Fletcher. Calming the nerves “The transition of actually mouthing the stories took a little longer than I expected to be able to do it well and to not be intimidated by the national voices of NPR. Because that is what you’re doing: You’re listening to them before your time slot comes up. Then you push the button and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is going out to everybody,’” says Fletcher, who uses improv techniques he learned from performing at Sacramento Comedy Spot to help calm himself. Look for Fletcher’s documentary film “Do the Dance,” about the controversial, nationally publicized 1969 indecency trial surrounding the Orangevale strip club, Pink Pussy Kat. “The documentary goes back and looks at that case and then tries to look forward 50 years and talk about what’s changed and what hasn’t changed and how we treat sexuality in America,” says Fletcher.

“My natural instinct as a reporter is to look for stories about the way we live and how people are experiencing life.”

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COVID and the Workplace The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many businesses operate. Some people transitioned to telework; others still go into their place of employment but spend less time interacting in person with colleagues. One thing’s for certain, the coronavirus affected everyone’s work in some way. “We never stopped going into the studio because most of our team is separated by glass,” says Cristina Mendonsa, anchor/host of “The KFBK Morning News,” News 93.1 KFBK. “The only person I had contact with at work for months was Sam (Shane). He and I would sanitize our equipment every morning when we’d come in. We’d ask each other, ‘How you feeling?’ We were very careful and, of course, we wear a mask when we’re not at our stations.” Mendonsa says she has felt very useful as a journalist during the pandemic. “I feel like we’ve been a resource, and I feel like we’ve helped and we’ve tried, at least with the show, to present information in a way that did not create more anxiety, but instead be a comfort and a source of credible, reliable information.” Capital Public Radio interim afternoon anchor Ed Fletcher was isolating at home when COVID-19 hit, so going into the CPR studios when he started the job in July was a shift, he says. “I’ve been pretty conscientious about trying to do things safely, but it has been kind of an adjustment getting used to wearing a mask indoors for extended periods of time,” he admits. Like Mendonsa at KFBK, Fletcher and the staff at CPR sanitize their studios whenever the room changes hands. “We’ve got this sanitation process to sign out on before somebody else can go in the room,” he says. For Stefanie Cruz, transparency engagement adviser at Cole Pro Media, business increased when the virus hit. “It has been incredibly busy because it’s crisis communications,” says Cruz, who works with many law enforcement agencies. “What do we tell people? We’re not going to cite people as law enforcement for not wearing a mask, but how do we encourage people to do that? So that’s a lot of the work we do,” says Cruz. Kellie DeMarco, president of Kellie DeMarco Communications, had just settled into her new office in East Sacramento two months before COVID hit. “I was ready to go and now, like everybody else, I’m working from home,” she says. Like Cruz, DeMarco has found that the pandemic actually brought her business. “I had a client who goes in and sprays for viruses, including coronavirus. That came specifically out of COVID, and it was a great story that got picked up by the media,” she says. Schools and universities, including William Jessup University, were forced to shut their doors and go to online instruction when Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home mandate went into effect in March. “We shut down classes for one week to be able to transition to online,” says Paul Robins, lead faculty for the Digital Communication & Design degree program at William Jessup University. “First thing I said to my screenful of students on that first day is if any department can do this well, it’s got to be digital communication and design,” he says. This past fall, William Jessup students went back to the classroom at half capacity for social distancing. Classes that are too large to accommodate distancing do “room and Zoom,” where half the students come in while the other half are online, says Robins. “I’ve been super proud of the students,” he says. “They are wearing their masks when we ask them to in the classrooms. It has not been a problem on our campus.” What happens if a student is not feeling well? “Everybody has the ability to Zoom,” says Robins. “Don’t come in.”



KELLIE DEMARCO THEN Evening Anchor, KCRA 3 NOW President, Kellie DeMarco Communications Kellie DeMarco spent 20 years in broadcast journalism, the last eight and a half as evening anchor at KCRA 3, before launching her own business, Kellie DeMarco Communications, in January 2020. DeMarco helps clients with media/public relations, video production and media training. She’ll even emcee your event. Showcasing the positive “All the clients that I take on have really meaningful stories, services or products where people are really doing something to help someone,” says DeMarco. “It’s similar to news in a lot of ways, but without so much despair. I think we could all use a little bit more uplifting, more hopeful, inspirational kind of story.” All new territory “I think probably the most challenging thing as a business owner is not just the work; it’s everything that comes with the work,” says DeMarco. “I knew that was part of it, and I love learning about that, but it’s definitely been a challenge to have it all kind of come through me.” Flex time “Being able to help my daughter with school and be there for her in the middle of the afternoon and kind of segment my clients around the time that works for our family has just been a total blessing.” What’s the (new) frequency, Kellie? “I love just getting back on the air and doing the radio side,” says DeMarco of her occasional stints subbing for News 93.1 KFBK talk show host John McGinness. “I’d never done that before and it’s very different from TV. It’s unscripted. There’s no producer. It’s just like, ‘Here’s an hour, go for it.’ It’s a new muscle that I’m learning to flex, and I love it.” Camera (and Zoom!) ready New in 2021, DeMarco is taking what she’s learned from her 20 years in front of the camera and offering courses, group programs and one-on-one training to help women look, sound and feel their best—everything from presence and performance to hair, makeup and clothes. “I’m sharing all my secrets to help women who want to put their best foot forward, whether that’s when they’re in front of people or if they just want to freshen up their look and feel their best in 2021.”


“I think we could all use a little bit more uplifting, more hopeful, inspirational kind of story.”

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“I mean, we sat next to each other for 22 years. Our partnership lasted longer than a lot of marriages.”

CRISTINA MENDONSA THEN Evening Anchor, ABC10 NOW Anchor/Host, “The KFBK Morning News,” News 93.1 KFBK; Owner, Mendonsa Media; Producer/ Contributor, MindMeld Studios; Career Strategist, TalentBlvd; Podcaster; Freelance TV Broadcaster Cristina Mendonsa spent 22 years as the evening anchor at ABC10 before her departure in 2017. These days, she hosts “The KFBK Morning News” along with former CBS13 anchor Sam Shane on News 93.1 KFBK. She’s also the owner of Mendonsa Media, where she helps clients create branded-content strategies; producer/contributor for MindMeld Studios, which creates educational documentaries for workplaces across the country; and a consultant with TalentBlvd, where she serves as a career strategist for broadcast talent. Mendonsa hosts her own podcast, “A Fresh Agenda” (where she interviews innovators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders), and can be seen on news stations around the country through her work as a freelance TV broadcaster. Searching for something different “It’s not just headlines,” says Mendonsa of “The KFBK Morning News.” “The way we like to describe it is two longtime journalists talking about the news. We try to bring in as many perspectives as possible.” Sunny side down “I spent so many nights in television, I wasn’t able to make it home for dinner or be home in the evenings,” says Mendonsa. “This sounds so



corny, but I didn’t see a lot of sunsets. I was inside all the time. So now I love my evenings with my husband.” Partners in work “I miss seeing Dale (Schornack) as much as I used to,” says Mendonsa of what she misses about her ABC10 days. “I mean, we sat next to each other for 22 years. Our partnership lasted longer than a lot of marriages.” Tying it all together “You spend the first part of your life building all of these creative skills and then the second part of your life looking for projects to let them run,” says Mendonsa of her many endeavors. “At KFBK, I get a big dose of collaborative story building, show formatting and the fun that comes with a live, often ad-libbed reliance on what you’ve read, done and researched. With my clients, I get to discover the best story to tell about them and the businesses they’ve poured their lives into. With TalentBlvd, it’s all about individual professional strategy and development for on-air talent. And with ‘A Fresh Agenda,’ I get to share all the positive people who inspire me.”

PAU L ROBINS THEN Morning Anchor, KTXL FOX40 NOW Lead Faculty, Digital Communication and Design Degree Program, William Jessup University Longtime Sacramentans remember Paul Robins for his 23-year career in radio, including his 18-year stint as one-half of “The Paul and Phil Show,” which aired on Y92.5 FM. More recently, he spent almost 11 years as morning anchor at KTXL FOX40 before leaving in 2018 for a new job at William Jessup University. Opportunity knocks When the president of William Jessup University asked Robins to put together a communication studies program, he couldn’t refuse. “I love the university (his daughter Hollyn is an alum), and I was full of opinions about what a comm studies program should be like, because it had to be really different from the degree I got in 1979,” says Robins. “I had seen that career field change so dramatically over the course of my career. So to be a part of figuring out what a 21st century comm studies degree should be sounded like a great adventure.” Simply the best “Unquestionably, it is time spent with students,” says Robins about his favorite part of his new gig. “I knew I would like that the best.” On his lack of star power “I have no expectation that they (the students) would know anything about my career or be impressed by it,” says Robins. “I’m probably better off that they don’t, and I try and do my best not to sound too much like a dinosaur in the classroom.” What he misses about his job at FOX40 “I miss my friends there,” he says. “Up until COVID mania hit, once a month I was showing up near the end of the newscast with a box of doughnuts just to go see everybody, and that was great fun.” What he doesn’t miss about his job at FOX40 “I have not put on makeup since Dec. 28, 2018, and I don’t intend to put it on again. I don’t miss wearing a tie every day. I don’t miss those things.” Newsbreak “I’m enjoying a reprieve from the news cycle,” says Robins. “I know what’s going on in the world; I pay attention, but I tried to be hyper-informed just so I kept from making mistakes, just so I kept from ever saying anything that wasn’t accurate. I’m a very interested but casual follower of the news now.”

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i n s i d e: Contemporary meets classic in a Fab 40s redo.

The House They Built Developers Bay Miry and Katherine Bardis-Miry took on the ultimate project: their own home. Read on to see how they created a comfortable, modern family home.

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Living room (top): The formal living room is a “touchable, comfortable, inviting space,” says designer Whitney Fecteau. Pool room (above): The pool table, a family heirloom, once belonged to Ulysses S. Grant. Bedroom (far right): In the principal bedroom, a modern four-poster bed is piled with luxurious linens.


s two of the most successful young developers in Sacramento, Katherine Bardis-Miry and her husband, Bay Miry, have lots of experience building things. She (along with her business partner, cousin Rachel Bardis) developed The Mill at Broadway, The Grounds and The Good Project. He is the developer behind 16 Powerhouse and the 700 block of K Street. In 2017, just a month before their wedding, they bought a house in the Fab Forties that needed work. Lots of it. And these two builders discovered that renovating a home of their own would be distinctly different from building homes for other people. “We started demo on our wedding day,” recalls Bardis-Miry, who served as the contractor on the project. “It was the first project we’d done together, and it was a little stressful.” For help, they turned to Design Shop Interiors, a Folsom design firm that focuses on whole-house remodels. Bardis-Miry was already familiar with the company, which had done work for several of her developments. The house, a stately brick Tudor built in the 1930s, was a far cry from the couple’s typical ultramodern projects. “We were a little nervous about it at first,” says Bardis-Miry. “We have a modern aesthetic, but we wanted to be respectful of the house.” The couple opened up walls and added about 1,600 square feet to create an open-plan entertaining space on the ground floor and a luxurious principal bedroom suite upstairs. In the living room


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“Because we’re so busy during the day, we wanted to come home to a calm, welcoming place.” —Katherine Bardis-Miry

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Landing (right): The upstairs landing; the chandelier belonged to Katherine’s parents. Powder room (below): The powder room is blinged out with wallpaper that looks like vintage damask and a brassframed mirror from Waterworks.


and dining room, the original parquet floors were replaced with walnut floors laid in a herringbone pattern. New walnut built-ins in the living room are a callback to the originals, but their styling is distinctly more modern. To satisfy the couple’s desire to entertain, the designers added built-in bars and wine fridges throughout the house. In the kitchen, a large walnut island creates a gathering spot for friends. The kitchen, while traditional, offers surprisingly modern touches, such as a brass-and-leather light fixture. In a nod to family, the couple used the upstairs landing to showcase a massive crystal chandelier owned by Bardis-Miry’s parents. They exposed the vaulted ceiling and added seating to create a quiet place to read and relax. The house ended up being a perfect mix of new and old, modern and traditional. And along the way, the couple discovered that they liked working together. Says Bardis-Miry, “It’s fun when it’s your own home.”—MARYBETH BIZJAK Lead design/construction by Angie Edwards. Lead design/ furnishings and styling by Whitney Fecteau and Ashlee Berry


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i n s i d e: Meet four young women with artistic aspirations.

Tenley Clark

Emerging Artists To Watch There is a new generation of creative young talent in Sacramento. One of its members has memories of dancing in a tutu as a little sprout, while another recalls drawing colorful butterflies in Dad’s notebook. A third (Miya Cech, on this page) has ambitions to star in the next summer blockbuster; a fourth dreams of touring the country, performing songs written from a teenage perspective.

Miya Cech

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Bravo “A L L YO U N E E D I S L O V E ”

Karla Lopez Meza Aspiring vocalist


Miya Cech

Rising actress When Nickelodeon’s latest actionadventure series, “The Astronauts,” premiered in November, the family of 13-year-old actress and Davis resident Miya Cech gathered around the television to watch her star in yet another shining role. Cech’s character, Samantha Sawyer, is one of five middle-school teens who sneak aboard a spaceship that mistakenly launches into outer space. Cech has some impressive role models. On “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” she worked with Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates, who plays a butcher in the horroranthology TV series. She performed with comedian Ali Wong, playing her daughter Marigold in the ABC sitcom “American Housewife.” She also shared a San Francisco modeling agency with Zendaya. “She was on ‘Shake It Up’ on Disney and was such an idol for me,” says Cech. With a blossoming acting career, Cech says she aims to use her plat-


form to bring awareness to causes she champions such as adoption and animal rights. She’s also an ambassador for Asian American Girl Club, an apparel company started by actress Ally Maki (Officer Giggle McDimples in “Toy Story 4”) that aims to redefine what it means to be a modern AsianAmerican woman. “I’m adopted from Tokyo, Japan, and I also have siblings in my family who are adopted as well,” Cech says. “I feel like that’s such a special way to bring families together, because we’re all from different places. But we all share that special little unique part of us. We get to share our cultures. We get to learn more and explore really.” What’s next? Cech eagerly awaits the premiere of “Marvelous and the Black Hole,” a film she stars in alongside Rhea Perlman (“Cheers,” “Matilda”). The movie was slated to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020, but due to coronavirus it’s now postponed until spring 2021. For now, Cech says she’s living in the moment and looking to her future. “That feeling at the end, knowing that you put all that hard work into getting a show, and seeing it on TV, or on a big screen, and knowing that you put your entire self and all of your heart and soul into it—it’s very rewarding,” Cech says. “My advice is never give up, because you’re going to be told no a lot. So just keep pushing. Those no’s should be encouragement. It should make you want to try harder and prove those people who tell you no wrong.”

Karla Lopez Meza was inspired by comedian Jim Carrey’s commencement speech to graduates of Maharishi International University in Iowa. A high school junior at The Met Sacramento, she watched Carrey’s encouraging words over YouTube and felt nudged to sign up for an opportunity that would further her singing ambitions. “He was basically talking about how you should reach for your dreams and that there’s a bunch of opportunities out there; you just gotta search for them,” she says. “I was scrolling one day on this app that my school has, called Schoology, and I saw that there was an announcement for this program. I was like, ‘I’m gonna do this. I have no other reason not to do it.’” It was kismet—Lopez Meza is one of 10 high school students in Sacramento chosen to be a part of CATALYST, a nine-month professional apprenticeship program organized by CLARA Studios for the Performing Arts. She’s paired with mentor Casey Lipka, a regular collaborator with Capital Dance Project and the lead singer of local folk trio Dear Darling. “I wish I had someone to go to about questions when I was younger,” Lipka says. “I think having a resource, someone to trust and ask questions, is invaluable. I want to create a safe, welcoming, creative and knowledge-rich space to support Karla in her blooming artistry.” As an aspiring singer with dreams of touring the country and performing her original music, Lopez Meza says she takes inspiration from soulful artists such as the late Amy Winehouse and pop punk bands like Fall Out Boy, and she also has a soft spot for The Beatles. “Expressing myself through songs gets me over the fear of like, ‘Wow, people are looking at me, people are judging me.’ It’s OK with me as long as I’m doing something I love. Like The Beatles once said, ‘All you need is love,’ and that love, to me, is music.”



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Victoria Anguiano Emerging digital artist


Macy Jordan

Sacramento Ballet trainee Macy Jordan recalls being a 3-year-old hopping over silky scarves in a pink leotard, trying to resemble the graceful ballerinas she admired. Now 20 years old and a trainee with the Sacramento Ballet, she hopes to become a professional dancer. “I’ve never been a shy person, but ballet really helps show some of those emotions that are hard to put into words,” Jordan says. “It’s such a beautiful art form. It’s so unique to be able to express yourself without even having to speak. It breaks language barriers. We’re able to express ourselves through movement, regardless of where you are in the world and who you’re with, because we all understand movement.” That fluid movement came to a painful halt two years ago when Jordan

fell out of a jump, shattering her knee. Eager to dance again, the dedicated ballerina and Pilates instructor spent a year and a half recovering and regaining her strength. Inspired by her fellow dancers and the encouragement of Sac Ballet executive director Anthony Krutzkamp, Jordan had an amazing comeback dancing in a variety of outdoor performances this past October. The ballet is on break during January, but Jordan sees the time off as an opportunity to train and strengthen her skills for upcoming auditions. For young girls and boys with an interest in ballet, Jordan suggests soaking up new techniques by watching everything from YouTube to peers. “Try to absorb all the information you can from your teachers or other artists because it’s really passed down from generation to generation,” she says. “Us older dancers are always happy to help and inspire the next generation. It’s so wonderful to see young dancers; they keep us going.”

Victoria Anguiano, a 17-year-old emerging mixedmedia artist, started sketching as a little girl, drawing butterflies in her dad’s notebook. A senior at Luther Burbank High School, Anguiano is part of CLARA’s professional apprenticeship program and was paired with local illustrator Tabitha Jensen. The two share a passion for imaginative artscapes inspired by science fiction and fantasy. “I felt an instant connection with her and the passion she had for the arts,” Jensen says. “It felt more like taking on a kid sister instead of a mentee because she is so very open and full of energy.” Jensen introduced Anguiano to oil paints and set her up with an art kit chock-full of alcohol markers that are vivid in color and dry quickly. The two draw over Zoom and share new ideas for pieces they’d like to create. Lately, it’s the vintage color aesthetic of film director Victoria Vincent and the anime series “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” by Hirohiko Araki that fill Anguiano with encouragement. She dreams of attending art school in New York one day, learning 2D or 3D animation, and she wants to start selling prints of her work online. “I’ve been working a lot with these new markers. Each new illustration is just something really exciting for me,” she says. “The fact that I can just draw anything that I want, like funny stuff or really aesthetically pleasing stuff. It feels good to pretty much bring anything to life.—STEPH RODRIGUEZ

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LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY Sacramento’s favorite ice cream parlour for 35+ years. Our award-winning ice cream and sauces are made fresh daily and served in generous portions. We also offer a large variety of delicious sandwiches–from our specialty crab sandwich to great burgers. Leatherby’s is the perfect old fashioned ice cream parlour for families, friends, large groups or parties. Sun–Thur: 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat: 11 a.m.–12 a.m. Sacramento | Arden Way | 916-920-8382 Citrus Heights | Antelope Road | 916-729-4021 Elk Grove | Laguna Blvd | 916-691-3334

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i n s i d e: Fighting To Survive / Sinful Vegan / Fungus Among Us

Have It Your Way Pizzas are like snowflakes: No two are exactly the same. That’s definitely the case at SLIM & HUSKY’S PIZZA BEERIA, which opened last summer in the Oak Park neighborhood. The Nashville-based chain serves “personal pizzas” in two sizes: slim (10 inches) and husky (16 inches). Custom-build your own combo or choose from one of the cleverly named options, including Cee No Green (ground beef, pepperoni, bacon, Canadian bacon and sausage) and Smokin’ Herb (five cheeses and smoked chicken or salmon). In these contactless COVID times, you can order online and pick up from a takeout window on the sidewalk. 3413 Broadway; (916) 744-7546;

mike battey

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Endangered Species COVID threatens the existence of family-owned restaurants like La Flor. BY MARYBETH BIZJAK


n extinction event. That’s what New York restaurateur and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio recently called the pandemic, warning bleakly that as many as 85 percent of the nation’s independent restaurants could close permanently as a result of COVID -19. Imagine 85 percent of Sacramento’s restaurants disappearing for good. What if you could never again eat at your favorite Thai place? Or grab a beer and a slice at your neighborhood pizzeria? Or celebrate another milestone birthday at Mulvaney’s B&L or The Waterboy? La Flor de Michoacan in Natomas is one of hundreds of local restaurants fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic. Serving Mexican and Salvadoran fare, La Flor is part of the gloriously diverse tapestry that makes Sacramento unique. To lose it would be a tragedy: for its owners, its employees, its customers, its community. La Flor’s story is the classic American tale of hard work followed by success. In 1989, Maria Diaz moved to Sacramento in search of a better life for her children. A native of El Salvador, she bought La Flor, a struggling taqueria, and worked 14-hour days to turn it around. Eventually, a steady clientele lined up for her tasty tacos, burritos and enchiladas. After a decade in business, she expanded the taqueria into the space next door, adding tables and chairs for sit-down dining. As more and more taquerias opened in Sacramento, Diaz set her business apart by adding pupusas to the menu. The national dish of El Salvador, pupusas are thick, griddled flatbreads made of corn masa and stuffed with cheese and chicharrón, refried beans or loroco flower buds. Diaz invented her own fusion-y versions, filling them with Mexican ingredients such as jalapeño and chorizo. Her customers loved them. “My pupusas,” she says, “became famous.” Meanwhile, Diaz’s two daughters grew up in the restaurant, doing whatever needed to be done: prepping ingredients, cooking food, washing dishes, running the cash register. In 2006, daughter Ruby Moreno opened a second restaurant, La


Flor Pupusas Grill on Fulton Avenue. The other daughter, Lizette Diaz, took on the marketing for the family business. Now 69, Maria still supervises the restaurants, popping in unannounced to taste the food and make sure it’s up to her exacting standards. “She’s her own secret shopper,” jokes Moreno. But then COVID -19 hit. At the start of last spring’s shutdown, the Diaz family cleared out the tables and chairs and switched to curbside service. Employee shifts were cut. Receipts plummeted. Prices for staples such as meat and cheese nearly doubled. The family applied for federal PPP assistance several times but never heard back. Recalls Moreno: “I looked at my mom and said I think we’re on our own.” AT THE START OF LAST Luckily, they’d SPRING’S SHUTDOWN, always kept their THE DIAZ FAMILY overhead low, CLEARED OUT THE and they didn’t TABLES AND CHAIRS AND have to lay off SWITCHED TO CURBSIDE employees. When SERVICE. EMPLOYEE commodities like SHIFTS WERE CUT. meat and rice RECEIPTS PLUMMETED. became scarce, PRICES FOR MEAT Maria turned to AND CHEESE friends for help. NEARLY DOUBLED. “My mom is a mover and shaker,” Moreno explains. “She knows people. Believe me, we all took care of each other.” As the pandemic heads into its second year, the Diaz family is hopeful that their business will survive. Moreno looks at “older generations” who went through tough times, wars, famines. Like them, she perseveres. Her mother has words of wisdom for her daughters—and for other restaurateurs trying to stay alive. “This is going to be over,” says Maria. “Maybe we won’t make as much profit, but that’s OK. We have to have hope and faith.”

House specialties at La Flor

LA FLOR DE MICHOACAN 2339 Northgate Blvd.; (916) 927-7265 LA FLOR PUPUSAS GRILL 2454 Loma Vista Drive; (916) 487-1549

Ruby Moreno, Maria Diaz and Lizette Diaz


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Pupusas hot off the griddle

Asada soft tacos

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The Truffle Trade

Greed, Envy and Vegetables It wasn’t all that long ago that Sacramento was a veritable desert when it came to vegan dining. Back then, avoiding animal products meant settling for a ho-hum salad or ordering a modified vegetarian dish relegated to a far corner of the menu. Alas, times have changed. New places like Pure Soul and Babes Ice Cream & Donuts are serving up tasty, interesting fare to loudand-proud vegans. And there are more and more veggie-forward options popping up all over the grid. Take downtown’s Vegan Deadly Sins, which shares a retail space (but not a kitchen) with the boba shop E Tea. Co-owner Wendy Poon says she and her family opened the spot last July upon witnessing the rise in popularity of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. “We wanted to give people in Sacramento another place to choose from,” says the veteran restaurateur. The menu at Vegan Deadly Sins reads like your corner Chinese restaurant: chicken chow mein, Mongolian beef, ham fried rice. The difference is that the meats served here are soy-based imposters that taste pretty darn close to the real thing. This means you can still share takeout with your carnivore friends without any hard feelings. Fake meats aside, Vegan Deadly Sins shines brightest when it puts vegetables front and center. One of the star dishes combines mushrooms, perfectly tender green beans and slender spears of pumpkin in an earthy sauce. Another entrée featuring eggplant and fried tofu benefits from a generous scattering of fresh basil leaves, which lend an appealing herbal note to a dish that is a vegetable lover’s version of comfort food. Poon says she set out to prove to diners that eating vegan isn’t a sacrifice. “People might think vegan food is really bland, but our food has a lot of flavor to it.” And with the arrival of Vegan Deadly Sins, it’s as accessible as ever.—CATHERINE WARMERDAM 900 15th St.; (916) 389-0669


Jose Velarde

Gabriel Teague (2)

A dish called Mushrooms Date With Pumpkin from Vegan Deadly Sins

Jose Velarde isn’t one to sit on an idea for long. Last July, he hatched an ambitious (some would say impractical) plan to start a truffle importing business from his home in Olivehurst, just north of Sacramento. The enterprise was up and running within days. “I’m such a spontaneous person. I’ve always been like that,” he says. “This time it actually helped me.” The way Velarde tells the story, the business practically built itself. A friend introduced him to a contact in Italy who connected him with a supplier who sold him his first 1-pound shipment. Within days of posting a few pictures of his truffles on Instagram, Velarde received more than two dozen orders. “From there it grew every single day,” he says. Three months after launching, Velarde Foods was servicing more than 117 accounts (primarily restaurants) from Portland to San Diego. “I didn’t know anything about the restaurant industry, but I’m learning so fast,” says Velarde. “It’s insane, but I love it.” He currently works with vendors in six countries—Italy, Spain, France, Ukraine, Australia and Hungary—who supply him with high-quality truffles as their seasons allow. The gig has Velarde hustling to and from airports in Sacramento and San Francisco at least weekly. Once home, he and his wife, Alondra, carefully wrap each truffle in a VENDORS IN SIX paper towel and store them in glass containers COUNTRIES—ITALY, in a refrigerator until they are delivered to their SPAIN, FRANCE, final destination, typically a high-end restaurant with a chef who knows how to make the most of UKRAINE, AUSTRALIA the subterranean fungi. AND HUNGARY—SUPPLY “The chefs have been so welcoming to us: HIM WITH HIGH-QUALITY Deneb Williams at Allora, Kelly McCown at TRUFFLES AS THEIR The Kitchen, Aziz Bellarbi-Salah at Aioli,” says SEASONS ALLOW. Velarde, who had been working as a noon-duty aide at a school before opening the business. “We have a unique product, but we knew almost nothing when we started, and those chefs took a chance on us. We have loved getting to know them and their food.” Velarde, who recently added chanterelles from Europe and Minnesota to his inventory, hopes to grow the business enough to move it out of his home and into a warehouse space. “I never had high expectations for this. I just didn’t know if it was going to last. But I hope it does.”—Catherine Warmerdam


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Dine When this issue of Sacramento Magazine went to print, restaurants were closed for indoor dining. Meanwhile, many were offering outdoor dining and takeout. Before heading to a restaurant, call or check its website to make sure it’s open.

includes sturdy dishes such as chili con carne omelet and French toast topped with strawberries. 456 Grass Valley Highway; (530) 888-1166; B–L. American/breakfast. $

BROADWAY ANDY NGUYEN VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT This bastion of Buddhist-inspired vegetarian cuisine serves food that is fresh and flavorful. 2007 Broadway; (916) 736-1157; L–D. Vegetarian/Asian. $ REAL PIE COMPANY At this homey shop, pies are made with all-butter crusts and seasonal fruit sourced from local farms. In addition to dessert pies such as jumbleberry and butterscotch banana cream, you can order savory pot pies, shepherd’s pies and dishes like mac and cheese. 2425 24th St.; (916) 838-4007; real L–D. American. $ SELLAND’S MARKET-CAFE Choose from an array of appetizers and hot items along with crowd-pleasing side dishes and pizza. This high-quality takeout food can be a real lifesaver on nights when you’re too busy to cook. 915 Broadway; (916) 732-3390; sellands. com. L–D–Br. Gourmet takeout. $$

CAPAY ROAD TRIP BAR & GRILL This family-friendly joint serves up classic roadhouse fare, from salads and burgers to chops. 24989 State Highway 16; (530) 796-3777; B–L–D. American. $–$$


Wings from Bawk! Chicken + Bar

ARDEN ARCADE ABYSSINIA ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT If you can’t decide on one of the Ethiopian stews, opt for a grand sampler that includes four different stews, along with spicy red lentils, collard greens and cabbage. 1346 Fulton Ave.; (916) 481-1580. L–D. Ethiopian. $$ CAFE VINOTECA Located in Arden Town Center, Cafe Vinoteca serves some of the loveliest Italian-inspired cuisine in the city. 3535 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 4871331; L–D. Italian. $$$ DUBPLATE KITCHEN & JAMAICAN CUISINE One of the few places in Sacramento where you can get Caribbean food, this restaurant serves Jamaican specialties such as curry goat and jerk chicken. 3419 El Camino Ave.; (916) 339-6978; dubplatekitchencui L–D. Jamaican. $$ LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY Go for the ice cream, made on the premises and used in shakes, malts and towering sundaes. 2333 Arden Way; (916) 9208382; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $

PLAN B The menu is compact, with a handful of appetizers and several wonderful salads. Plan B’s claim to fame is its stellar mussels, offered six ways. 555 La Sierra Drive; (916) 483-3000; D. New American/French. $$–$$$ TEXAS WEST BAR-B-QUE This no-frills establishment serves wood-cooked meat in big portions. Dig into the tender Western-style pork spareribs and beef brisket or the smoky chicken. 1600 Fulton Ave.; (916) 483-7427; L–D. Barbecue. $–$$

AUBURN CARPE VINO The welcoming restaurant is one of the region’s best-kept dining secrets. Look for specialties such as halibut with peas and turnips, chicken liver mousse, and arugula and fava bean salad. 1568 Lincoln Way; (530) 823-0320; D. New American. $$–$$$ KATRINA’S CAFE This Auburn institution serves some of the best breakfast fare in the region. The menu

D’MILLER’S FAMOUS BBQ Ribs, hotlinks, tri-tip and more are served with traditional accompaniments such as cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans. The food, simple and hearty, arrives on disposable plates at this casual eatery. 7305 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 974-1881. L–D. Barbecue. $$ MARK & MONICA’S FAMILY PIZZA The pizzas here are belly filling and hearty. 4751 Manzanita Ave.; (916) 487-1010; L–D. Pizza. $$ MATTEO’S PIZZA & BISTRO The menu is compact, and there’s no skimping on first-rate ingredients. The pizza crust is damned good, attaining that chewycrispy-airy trifecta. You also can order pasta, steak, ribs or a burger. 5132 Arden Way; (916) 779-0727; L–D–Br. Pizza/American. $$

CITRUS HEIGHTS LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY For description, see listing under “Arden Arcade.” 7910 Antelope Road; (916) 729-4021; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $

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Dine SAM’S CLASSIC BURGERS At this drive-up burger shack, the shakes are great and the burgers wonderfully straightforward. 7442 Auburn Blvd.; (916) 7237512. L–D. Burgers. $

CURTIS PARK PANGAEA BIER CAFE While it’s known as a beer cafe and bottle shop, this casual spot also serves up tasty bar food, including a burger that has taken home top honors more than once at Sacramento Burger Battle. 2743 Franklin Blvd.; (916) 454-4942; pangaeabier L–D. American. $$

DAVIS BURGERS AND BREW The casual restaurant has an extensive menu of burgers, sandwiches and sides. Ingredients are high-quality and locally sourced, and there is an interesting selection of beers and ales. 1409 R St.; (916) 442-0900; L–D. Burgers. $ CAFE BERNARDO For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 234 D St.; (530) 750-5101; cafeber B–L–D. New American. $ CREPEVILLE This bustling creperie serves many variations on the crepe theme, from entrée to dessert. 330 Third St.; (530) 750-2400; B–L–D. Crepes. $ DE VERE’S IRISH PUB For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 217 E St.; (530) 204-5533; de L–D. Irish pub. $$ THE HOTDOGGER A well-loved Davis institution, The Hotdogger dishes up a delectable assortment of frankfurters and sausages. 129 E St.; (530) 753-6291; L–D. Hot dogs. $ KATHMANDU KITCHEN This family-owned restaurant envelops you in a cocoon of exotic fragrances. Order the lal maas (lamb curry with chili sauce) or chicken saagwala (stir fried chicken, spinach and curry). 234 G St., Davis; (530) 756-3507; kathmandukitchen L–D. Indian/Nepalese/vegetarian. $ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 500 First St.; (530) 756-2111; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ OSTERIA FASULO The menu is proudly Italian, with wonderful pastas and robust meat dishes. 2657 Portage Bay East; (530) 758-1324; L–D. Italian. $$$–$$$$ PAESANOS For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 139 G St.; (530) 758-8646; L–D. Pizza/Italian. $ SEASONS This upscale restaurant showcases seasonal products; the menu changes every three months. Pizzas are great; so are the bountiful salads. But you’ll find the kitchen’s real talent in its creative appetizers and entrées. 102 F St.; (530) 750-1801; L–D. New American. $$–$$$ YAKITORI YUCHAN This busy little restaurant focuses on skewered grilled meats, seafood and vegetables. Most items are meant to be shared; bring an adventurous palate. 109 E St.; (530) 753-3196; D. Japanese. $–$$ ZIA’S DELICATESSEN This casual, Italian-style deli makes hot and cold sandwiches, salads and hot entrées such as lasagna, penne with creamy tomato sauce and tortellini with pesto-cream sauce. 616 Third St.; (530) 750-7870; L. Deli. $


Camden Spit & Larder’s sticky toffee pudding

DIXON CATTLEMENS This classic Western steakhouse serves up big slabs of prime rib, porterhouse, T-bone and cowboy steaks, plus all the trimmings: shrimp cocktail and loaded potato skins. 250 Dorset Court; (707) 678-5518; D. Steakhouse. $$$

DOWNTOWN BAWK! CHICKEN + BAR Along with crispy chicken coated with a red spice mix that kicks it up a notch, you can order salads, oysters on the half shell and collard greens. 1409 R St.; (916) 465-8700; bawk L–D–Br. Southern. $$ BRASSERIE CAPITALE Owned by the family behind midtown’s Aïoli Bodega Española and The Grand wine bar, this beautifully designed restaurant is based on a traditional French brasserie. The menu hits the high points of the brasserie canon, everything from onion soup to steak frites. 1201 K St.; (916) 329-8033; L–D. French. $$–$$$ BURGERS AND BREW For description, see listing under “Davis.” 1409 R St.; (916) 442-0900; burgers L–D. Burgers. $ CAFE BERNARDO The menu offers straightforward fare guaranteed to please just about everyone. Breakfast includes huevos rancheros and eggs Bernardo. Lunch and dinner feature chewy-crusted pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and substantial entrées such as pan-seared chicken breast with mashed potatoes. 1431 R St.; (916) 930-9191; B–L– D. New American. $ CAFETERIA 15L Go to Cafeteria 15L for modern,

approachably priced comfort food. The menu emphasizes fun fare, such as mac ’n’ cheese, truffle tater tots, and fried chicken and waffle with gravy and pecan butter. 1116 15th St.; (916) 492-1960; cafete L–D. Californian. $$ CAMDEN SPIT & LARDER Highly regarded chef Oliver Ridgeway opened this swank brasserie in a modern building near the Capitol. It appeals to lobbyists, lawyers and legislators with its gin-forward cocktails (martini, anyone?) and a menu that’s an interesting mash-up of British chop-house classics, English schoolboy favorites and elevated pub fare. 555 Capitol Mall; (916) 619-8897; L–D. Steakhouse. $$$–$$$$ DAWSON’S Located within the Hyatt Regency, it’s a great spot for a martini and a New York steak. The food is undeniably sophisticated. 1209 L St.; (916) 321-3600; D. New American. $$$–$$$$ DE VERE’S IRISH PUB High-quality fare in a pub setting. 1521 L St.; (916) 231-9947. L–D. Irish pub. $$ ECHO & RIG Located in the lobby of The Sawyer hotel, this outpost of a Vegas steakhouse is sleek and unstuffy. In addition to standard cuts like filet, NY steak and rib-eye, you’ll find butcher cuts such as hanger, bavette, skirt and tri-tip. 500 J St.; (877) 678-6255; B–L–D–Br. Steakhouse. $$$ FOX & GOOSE PUBLIC HOUSE This tavern plates up some of the best breakfasts in town, along with pub staples like beer-battered fish and chips, a Cornish pasty or Welsh rarebit. 1001 R St.; (916) 443-8825; B–L–D. English pub. $


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grits. 1322 V St.; (916) 706-3741; urbanrootsbrewing. com. L–D. Barbecue. $$ ZIA’S DELICATESSEN For description, see listing under Davis. 1401 O St.; (916) 441-3354; L. Deli. $

EAST SACRAMENTO CANON With Michelin-starred chef Brad Cecchi at the helm, this breezily chic restaurant offers an ambitious menu of globally inspired sharable plates. Much of the menu is vegetarian, vegan or gluten free, but you can also order from a small selection of hearty meat, poultry and fish dishes. 1719 34th St.; (916) 469-2433; Global/New American. D–Br. $$$–$$$$ CELESTIN’S Gumbo is the signature dish at this charming, minuscule restaurant specializing in Creole and Cajun cuisine. It comes in six varieties, including chicken, vegetarian and seafood. But the pièce de resistance is the namesake Celestin’s gumbo, chock-full of chicken, sea scallops, wild shrimp, rock cod and sausage. 3610 McKinley Blvd.; (916) 2584060; L–D. Cajun/Creole. $$ CLUBHOUSE 56 This is your classic sports bar, from the multiple TVs and two giant screens broadcasting games via DIRECTV to the local sports memorabilia on the walls. The food, too, is classic sports-bar fare: burgers, sandwiches and apps such as tacos and jalapeño poppers. The place is dark, casual and convivial, Sacramento’s very own Cheers. 734 56th St.; (916) 454-5656; Br–L–D. Sports bar. $$

Burger from Grange Restaurant & Bar FRANK FAT’S Downtown Sacramento’s oldest restaurant, Fat’s is a favorite of the Capitol crowd. The restaurant is well known for its steaks—especially Frank’s Style New York Steak—and its brandy-fried chicken. This is Chinese cuisine at its most sophisticated. 806 L St.; (916) 442-7092; fatsrestaurants. com. L–D. Chinese. $$$ GRANGE RESTAURANT & BAR Located in The Citizen Hotel, Grange proves that a hotel restaurant doesn’t have to be pedestrian. The menu changes frequently and spotlights some of the area’s best producers. At dinner, the ambience in the stunning dining room is seductive and low-lit. 926 J St.; (916) 492-4450; B–L–Br. Californian/American. $$$$ HOUSE KITCHEN & BAR This pretty restaurant is perfect for business lunches, providing upscale comfort food along with views of Capitol Mall. 555 Capitol Mall; (916) 498-9924; L–D. New American. $–$$ KODAIKO RAMEN & BAR Partly owned by Kru’s Billy Ngo, this below-ground ramen shop takes the Japanese noodle soup to a whole new level. Ingredients are organic, and almost everything is made in-house. 718 K St.; (916) 426-8863; L–D– Br. Japanese/ramen. $$–$$$ MAGPIE CAFE This restaurant has a casual, unassuming vibe, and its hallmark is clean, simple fare that tastes like the best version of itself. 1601 16th St.; (916) 452-7594; B–L–D. Californian. $$ MAS TACO BAR Tasty little tacos are the headliners at this casual eatery. They come with all sorts of delicious fillings: braised short rib, Korean fried chicken, banh mi shrimp and, for veg heads, roasted cauli-

flower and butternut squash. 1800 15th St.; mastaco L–D–Br. Mexican. $$ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR This hip sushi bar serves its sushi with a side of sass. There are three sushi bars and a dense menu of appetizers, rice bowls, bento boxes and sushi rolls. 1530 J St.; (916) 447-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ MORTON’S THE STEAKHOUSE Morton’s oozes Special Occasion. Red meat is the star here. 621 Capitol Mall; (916) 442-5091; D. Steakhouse. $$$$ PUBLIC HOUSE Order a giant Bavarian pretzel or pulled pork nachos, topped with pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, guacamole and sour cream. 1132 16th St.; (916) 446-0888; L–D–Br. American. $$ SHADY LADY SALOON The charming faux speakeasy is an excellent place to meet up with friends for a round of cocktails and a first-rate meal. Bordello-inspired wallpaper sets an alluring stage for the robust and flavorful food. 1409 R St.; (916) 231-9121; shadylady L–D. American/Southern. $$ TIGER This fun hangout serves salads, sandwiches, burgers and bowls, along with a nice selection of craft cocktails. 722 K St.; (916) 382-9610; tiger700block. com. L–D–Br. $$ URBAN ROOTS BREWING & SMOKEHOUSE At this brewery, a massive smoker turns out succulent meats—brisket, ribs, turkey and sausage—in the tradition of the great barbecue houses of Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee. Sides include collard greens, mac and cheese, yams and poblano cheese

JUNO’S KITCHEN AND DELICATESSEN This tiny eatery serves some of the best sandwiches in town. Owner Mark Helms also offers an intriguing selection of salads and “pan” dishes such as shrimp mac ’n’ cheese. But you can’t go wrong with the smoked trout sandwich or the grilled chicken sandwich. 3675 J St.; (916) 456-4522; L. Bistro. $ KRU Kru turns out exciting Japanese fare, and there’s a craft cocktail bar, outdoor patios and an omakase bar. 3135 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 551-1559; krurestaurant. com. L–D. Japanese. $$$–$$$$ OBO’ ITALIAN TABLE & BAR At this casual Italian eatery, there are hot dishes and cold salads behind the glass cases, ready for the taking. But the stars of the menu are the freshly made pastas and wood-oven pizzas. There’s also a full bar serving Italian-theme craft cocktails. 3145 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 822-8720; L–D. Italian. $$ ONESPEED Chef Rick Mahan, who built his stellar reputation at The Waterboy in midtown, branched out with a more casual concept at his East Sac eatery. The open bistro has a tiled pizza oven that cranks out chewy, flavorful pizzas. 4818 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 706-1748; B–L–D. Pizza. $$ ORIGAMI ASIAN GRILL This fast-casual eatery serves Asian-flavored rice bowls, banh mi sandwiches, salads and ramen, along with killer fried chicken and assorted smoked-meat specials from a big smoker on the sidewalk. 4801 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 400-3075; L–D. Asian fusion. $–$$ SELLAND’S MARKET-CAFE For description, see listing under Broadway. 5340 H St.; (916) 736-3333; L–D–Br. Gourmet takeout. $$ STAR GINGER ASIAN GRILL AND NOODLE BAR Offering affordably priced dishes inspired by the street foods of Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore, this restaurant serves a spicy Thai chicken soup that is a delicious bargain. 3101 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 231-8888; L–D. Pan-Asian. $ SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Dine EL DORADO HILLS AJI JAPANESE BISTRO This casually elegant restaurant offers an innovative menu of Japanese street food, interesting fusion entrées, traditional dishes such as teriyaki and tempura and sushi. 4361 Town Center Blvd.; (916) 941-9181; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $–$$ C. KNIGHT’S STEAKHOUSE An upscale dinner house serving steaks, chops and seafood, this restaurant offers classic American fare that’s stood the test of time. Make sure to order the Green Phunque, a tasty side dish that’s like creamed spinach on steroids. 2085 Vine St.; (916) 235-1730; cknightsteakhouse. com. D. American steakhouse. $$$$ MILESTONE This unstuffy eatery serves great takes on comfort-food classics like pot roast and fried chicken. It’s straightforward, without pretense or gimmickry. The setting is like a Napa country porch, and the service is warm and approachable. 4359 Town Center Blvd.; (916) 934-0790; L–D–Br. New American. $$–$$ SELLAND’S MARKET-CAFE For description, see listing under “East Sacramento.” 4370 Town Center Blvd.; (916) 932-5025; L–D–Br. Gourmet takeout. $$

ELK GROVE BOULEVARD BISTRO Located in a cozy 1908 bungalow, this bistro is one of the region’s best-kept dining secrets. Chef/owner Bret Bohlmann is a passionate supporter of local farmers and winemakers, and his innovative food sings with freshness and seasonality. 8941 Elk Grove Blvd.; (916) 685-2220; blvdbistro. com. D–Br. New American. $$–$$$ LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY For description, see listing under “Arden Arcade.” 8238 Laguna Blvd.; (916) 691-3334; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 8525 Bond Road; (916) 714-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ THAI CHILI This plain restaurant offers an entire menu just for vegetarians, plus interesting meat and fish dishes. 8696 Elk Grove Blvd.; (916) 714-3519; L–D. Thai. $$

FAIR OAKS MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 4323 Hazel Ave.; (916) 961-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ SUNFLOWER DRIVE IN This casual spot serves healthful, wholesome vegetarian and vegan fare. Faves include the Nutburger, the egg salad sandwich and fruit smoothies. 10344 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 9674331; L–D. Vegetarian. $

FOLSOM BACK BISTRO A warm pocket of coziness and urban sophistication in a retail center, this place offers an appealing menu of casual nibbles and swankier entrées. But it’s the wine program that really knocks this charming little bistro out of the park. 230 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1201; (916) 986-9100; backbis D. New American/Mediterranean. $$–$$$


Chicago Fire’s baked rigatoni CHICAGO FIRE Oodles of melted cheese blanket the pizzas that fly out of the kitchen of this busy restaurant. Here, you get to choose between thin-crust, deep-dish and stuffed pizzas. 310 Palladio Parkway; (916) 984-0140; L –D. Pizza. $ FAT’S ASIA BISTRO AND DIM SUM BAR This menu at this glamorous restaurant focuses on Asian cuisine, from Mongolian beef and Hong Kong chow mein to Thai chicken satay served with a fiery curry-peanut sauce. 2585 Iron Point Road; (916) 983-1133; fats L–D. Pan-Asian. $$ LAND OCEAN The menu hits all the steakhouse high notes: hand-cut steaks, lobster, seafood and rotisserie, entrée salads and sandwiches. 2720 E. Bidwell St.; (916) 983-7000; L–D–Br. New American/steakhouse. $$$ SCOTT’S SEAFOOD GRILL & BAR This restaurant offers a solid menu of delicious seafood, from crab cakes and calamari to roasted lobster tail. 824 Sutter St.; (916) 989-6711; L–D. Seafood. $$$–$$$$ THAI PARADISE Standouts on the extensive menu include spring rolls, tom kha koong (coconut milk soup with prawns), green curry, spicy scallops and pad thai. Try the fried banana with ice cream for dessert. 2770 E. Bidwell St.; (916) 984-8988; thai L–D. Thai. $$

and several fun entrées. 1375 Garden Highway; (916) 929-2268; L–D–Br. Cajun/American. $$

GRANITE BAY HAWKS One of Placer County’s best restaurants, Hawks is known for its elegant cuisine and beautiful interior. The seasonal menu is full of delicious surprises, such as seared scallop and sea urchin. 5530 Douglas Blvd.; (916) 791-6200; hawksrestaurant. com. L–D–Br. New American/French. $$$–$$$$

GREENHAVEN/POCKET SCOTT’S SEAFOOD ON THE RIVER Located in The Westin Sacramento, Scott’s has a patio and a view of the river. Breakfast dishes include crab cake Benedict, and lunch entrées range from petrale sole to a prawn Caesar salad. For dinner, splurge on a lobster tail or choose a more modestly priced grilled salmon. 4800 Riverside Blvd.; (916) 379-5959; scottssea B–L–D. Seafood. $$$–$$$$



RIVERSIDE CLUBHOUSE The busy kitchen focuses on a solid menu of American classics, and the daily happy hour is a popular draw. 2633 Riverside Blvd.; (916) 448-9988; L–D–Br. American/New American. $$

CRAWDADS ON THE RIVER At this riverfront restaurant, roll-up doors blur the line between indoors and out. The Cajun-inspired menu includes fish tacos

TAYLOR’S KITCHEN Step inside the cozy space and you’ll notice the focal point is an open kitchen where the chefs prepare meats and produce sold at Taylor’s


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LOCALIS This upscale restaurant is a pleasant surprise. Localis (Latin for “local”) is a dinner-only restaurant with a tiny, inventive menu of ingredientdriven dishes. Chef Christopher Barnum-Dann works with local farms to source most of the menu within 100 miles. 2031 S St.; (916) 737-7699; local D. Californian. $$$–$$$$ LOWBRAU BIERHALLE This chic yet casual watering hole serves house-made sausages, duck fat fries and stand-out beers. Long communal tables make for an experience that’s noisy and convivial. 1050 20th St.; (916) 706-2636; L–D– Br. Beer hall. $ LUCCA RESTAURANT AND BAR The popular restaurant serves an eclectic, Mediterranean-inspired menu. The food is flavorful and prettily presented. Start with a plate of the fabulous zucchini chips, which are hot, salty and addictive. 1615 J. St.; (916) 669-5300; L–D. Mediterranean. $$ THE PORCH RESTAURANT AND BAR The menu here is built on a core of Lowcountry staples and Southern fare: shrimp po’ boy, crawfish boil, buttermilk fried chicken, smoked brisket and cornbread. 1815 K St.; (916) 444-2423; theporchrestaurantandbar. com. L–D–Br. Southern. $$ THE RED RABBIT KITCHEN & BAR The menu is a playful jumble of dishes, some robustly American, others with an Asian, Latin or Mediterranean influence, and cocktails are inticingly creative. 2718 J St.; (916) 706-2275; L–D–Br. New American. $$

Charred octopus from Beast + Bounty Market next door. 2924 Freeport Blvd.; (916) 4435154; D–Br. American. $$$

CHICAGO FIRE For description, see listing under “Folsom.” 2416 J St.; (916) 443-0440; chicagofire. com. L–D. Pizza. $


ERNESTO’S MEXICAN FOOD This midtown favorite offers robust Mexican fare in an exuberantly cheerful environment. 1901 16th St.; (916) 441-5850; ernes L–D. Mexican. $

HIGH STEAKS This Thunder Valley Casino restaurant is a meat lover’s paradise, offering up everything from an 8-ounce prime filet to a 26-ounce bone-in New York steak. The kitchen sources some of the best products in the country, including Wagyu beef, Mary’s chicken and pork from Idaho’s Snake River Farms. Side dishes range from sweet potato casserole to fivecheese macaroni. 1200 Athens Ave.; (916) 408-8327; D. Steakhouse. $$$$ RED LANTERN This attractive restaurant serves Asian fusion, dim sum and noodle dishes such as chow fun and Hong Kong pan-fried noodles. Lunch and dinner specials are good deals at this Thunder Valley eatery. 1200 Athens Ave.; (916) 408-8326; thunder L–D. Asian. $$–$$$

MIDTOWN AÏOLI BODEGA ESPAÑOLA Aïoli features lusty Spanish cuisine. The main focus of the menu is tapas, and the selection is broad. 1800 L St.; (916) 447-9440; L–D. Spanish/tapas. $$ BEAST + BOUNTY The beating heart of this chic restaurant is its open hearth, where meats and vegetables are roasted over a wood fire. The meaty ribeye, served over potatoes roasted in the meat’s fat, is meant to be shared. So is the pizza, thin, flat and seductively charred from the wood-burning pizza oven. 1701 R St.; (916) 244-4016; eatbeastandboun L–D–Br. American. $$$

THE GOLDEN BEAR Remember the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Keep it in mind when you come here. You may have to wave cigarette smoke away from your face as you cross the patio, and you might even have to dodge a leashless dog to get in the door. But once inside, you’ll find a surprisingly sophisticated menu. 2326 K St.; (916) 441-2242; L–D–Br. Gastropub. $$ HAWKS PUBLIC HOUSE At this sophisticated gastropub, the menu includes beautifully executed dishes like country pâté and baked rigatoni. The pastas are made in-house, and even the burger is top-notch. 1525 Alhambra Blvd.; (916) 588-4440; L–D–Br. Mediterranean gastropub. $$$ HOOK & LADDER MANUFACTURING COMPANY Located in a Quonset hut, this restaurant is both hip and cozy. Despite the barlike ambience, Hook & Ladder is serious about food. All the pastas and desserts are made in-house. 1630 S St.; (916) 4424885; L–D–Br. Californian. $$ KUPROS This fun gastropub is housed in a beautifully renovated 1910 Craftsman building. Tuck into fare such as steak frites or pot roast. 1217 21st St.; (916) 440-0401; L–D–Br. New American/gastropub. $$

RICK’S DESSERT DINER This diner has a playful ’50s vibe, with red booths and a jukebox. The ever-present line of customers in front of the display case can make it difficult to see the mind-boggling assortment of sweets. 2401 J St.; (916) 444-0969; ricksdessert Dessert. $ THE RIND At this cheese-centric bar, you can savor cheese in a number of ways. The menu includes variations on macaroni and cheese, cheese boards and creative grilled cheese sandwiches. 1801 L St.; (916) 441-7463; L–D. American. $$ SAIGON ALLEY KITCHEN + BAR This hip restaurant and bar serves modern versions of Vietnamese street food, such as a “Pho-rench” dip (a French dip with pho flavors) and a “banh mi” burger (a burger garnished with pickled daikon and carrot. A big draw is the happy hour, featuring snacks like banh mi taco, chicken wings and taro fries for $3 each. 1801 L St.; (916) 758-6934; L–D. Vietnamese. $$ SAMPINO’S TOWNE FOODS This old-world Italian gem is part market, part deli, part restaurant. Everything’s prepared on the premises, from fresh pastas and sauces to sausages made in a handcranked grinder. 1607 F St.; (916) 441-2372; face L–D. Italian. $$ SQUEEZE INN This fast-food place regularly tops polls for the best burger in town. 1630 K St.; (916) 492-2499; L–D. Burgers. $ TAPA THE WORLD The J Street patio is perfect for people-watching as you savor classic tapas along with a Spanish cava or tempranillo from the lengthy, exciting wine list. 2115 J St.; (916) 442-4353; tapa L–D. Spanish/tapas. $$ THE WATERBOY This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant produces perhaps the finest cooking in the region. You’ll find French classics such as veal sweetbreads and pomme frites, as well as pasta and seaSACMAG.COM January 2021

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Dine food. 2000 Capitol Ave.; (916) 498-9891; waterboy L–D. Mediterranean. $$$$ ZELDA’S ORIGINAL GOURMET PIZZA Their deep-dish pizza routinely wins “best pizza” in local polls. 1415 21st St.; (916) 447-1400; L–D. Pizza/Italian. $$ ZÓCALO This Mesican restaurant is one of the best places to while away an evening with friends over margaritas, and the sidewalk patio is one of the most popular spots in town. 1801 Capitol Ave.; (916) 4410303; L–D–Br. Mexican. $$

NORTH SACRAMENTO SOUTHPAW SUSHI Famed sushi chef Lou Valenti, former owner of Lou’s Sushi, opened this new operation in 2019. Here, the rolls are simpler and the fish, simply first rate. 1616 Del Paso Blvd.; (916) 550-2600; D. Sushi. $$$

OAK PARK FIXINS SOUL KITCHEN This place serves up delicious Southern fare, including chicken and waffles, gumbo, catfish, and grits. 3428 Third Ave.; (916); 999-7685. B–L–D–Br. Southern. $$ LA VENADITA This inviting, casual taqueria has a concise menu that includes inventive street tacos, a brightly flavored ceviche and an enchilada with rich mole sauce. It also boasts a full bar and an enticing menu of craft cocktails. 3501 Third Ave.; (916) 4004676; L–D. Mexican. $$

THE FIREHOUSE The food is special-occasion worthy, and the wine list represents more than 2,100 labels. 1112 Second St.; (916) 442-4772; firehouseoldsac. com. L–D. Californian/American. $$$$ RIO CITY CAFE Located on the riverbank, the bustling restaurant offers stunning views of Tower Bridge. The menu changes seasonally and offers a wide selection of creative, solid dishes. 1110 Front St.; (916) 442-8226; L–D–Br. New American. $$

POCKET/GREENHAVEN CACIO A this tiny sliver of a restaurant, the fare is high-quality Italian comfort food, with an emphasis on pasta. Service is warm and homey and prices are gentl. 7600 Greenhaven Drive; (916) 399-9309; cacio L–D. Italian. $$

RANCHO CORDOVA CATTLEMENS For description, see listing under “Dixon.” 12409 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 985-3030; cattle D. Steakhouse. $$$

ROCKLIN ANATOLIAN TABLE The menu here is lengthy, with an enticing lineup of kebabs and “oven foods” such as kusbasi pide, a Turkish dish similar to pizza. 6815 Lonetree Blvd.; (916) 772-3020; L–D. Turkish. $–$$ RUBINO’S RISTORANTE This intimate, dimly lit restaurant serves classic Italian fare such as veal scallopine, fettuccine Alfredo and shrimp scampi. It also offers a fine selection of steaks. 5015 Pacific St.; (916) 624-3401; L–D. Italian. $$$


Gambas al ajillo, patatas bravas, empanadas and croquettes from Tapa The World ZEST KITCHEN Everything served at this casual cafe is vegan, and most of the dishes are gluten-free. 2620 Sunset Blvd.; (916) 824-1688; L–D. Vegan/vegetarian. $

ROSEVILLE CATTLEMENS For description, see listing under “Dixon.” 2000 Taylor Road; (916) 782-5587; cattle D. Steakhouse. $$$ CHICAGO FIRE For description, see listing under “Folsom.” 500 N. Sunrise Ave.; (916) 771-2020; chi L–D. Pizza. $ EARLY TOAST MIMOSA HOUSE For description, see listing under “El Dorado Hills.” 761 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville; (916) 784-1313; B–L–D. American. $$ FAHRENHEIT 250 This upscale yet down-home barbecue joint turns out brag-worthy ’cue: St. Louis-style pork ribs, pulled pork, tri-tip and brisket are smoked low and slow over hardwoods. The bar program, overseen by the folks at Shady Lady Saloon, is topnotch. 390 N. Sunrise Ave.; (916) 476-4508; fahr L–D. Barbecue. $$ FAT’S ASIA BISTRO AND DIM SUM BAR For description, see listing under “Folsom.” 1500 Eureka Road; (916) 787-3287; L–D. Pan-Asian. $$ LA PROVENCE RESTAURANT & TERRACE This elegant French restaurant offers some of the region’s loveliest outdoor dining. The seasonal menu features items such as bouillabaisse and soupe au pistou. 110 Diamond Creek Place; (916) 789-2002; laprovence L–D–Br. French. $$$–$$$$

MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 1565 Eureka Road; (916) 797-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ PAUL MARTIN’S AMERICAN BISTRO The bustling, comfortable restaurant is a local favorite. The kitchen offers a great list of small plates and robust, approachable entrées. 1455 Eureka Road; (916) 7833600; L–D–Br. New American. $$–$$$ RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE This swanky dinner house serves some of the tastiest meat in town. Expertly cooked steaks are seared at 1,800 degrees. Don’t miss the cowboy rib-eye or the fork-tender filet mignon. 1185 Galleria Blvd.; (916) 780-6910; ruths D. Steakhouse. $$$$ SQUEEZE INN For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 106 N. Sunrise Ave.; (916) 783-2874; squeeze L–D. Burgers. $ YARD HOUSE With its lengthy menu, big flavors and loud music, there’s nothing retiring about this restaurant. There are close to 130 beers on tap, and the food includes beer-friendly small plates. 1166 Roseville Parkway; (916) 780-9273; Roseville. L–D. American/bar food. $$ ZÓCALO For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 1182 Roseville Parkway; (916) 788-0303; zocalosac L–D–Br. Mexican. $$

SIERRA OAKS CAFE BERNARDO AT PAVILIONS For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 515 Pavilions Lane;

Maddy Eccles



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SOUTH In a town of great fried chicken, this casual restaurant may serve the very best fried chicken of all. It’s moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and comes with braised greens and a flaky biscuit (made from a secret family recipe). Other delights include a fabulous hamburger and traditional Southern desserts such as sweet potato pie. 2005 11th St.; (916) 382-9722; L–D. New Southern. $$

TAHOE PARK BACON & BUTTER Lively and delightfully urban, the place is packed with fans of chef Billy Zoellin’s homey flapjacks, biscuits and other breakfasty fare. 5913 Broadway; (916) 346-4445; B–L. Breakfast/American. $–$$ MOMO’S MEAT MARKET This family-run business serves simply first-rate barbecue, smoked over wood in huge drums in the parking lot. Sides include pepper Jack mac ’n cheese, cornbread and deep-fried cabbage. 5780 Broadway; (916) 452-0202. L–D. Barbecue. $$

WEST SACRAMENTO BRODERICK ROADHOUSE Burgers rule at this appealingly scruffy bar/restaurant. In addition to the juicy beef burgers, there’s also a selection of more avant-garde versions, including the duck burger. 319 Sixth St.; (916) 372-2436; L–D–Br. Burgers. $ BURGERS AND BREW For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 317 Third St., (530) 572-0909; L–D. Burgers. $

Chocolate mousse cake from Ettore’s (916) 922-2870; B–L–D. New American. $ ETTORE’S This bakery is a convivial spot for a casual meal. It’s hard to take your eyes off the dessert cases long enough to choose your savory items. But you’ll soon discover the kitchen’s talent extends to the wonderful pizzas, cooked in a wood-burning oven, hearty sandwiches and burgers, and fresh salads. 2376 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 482-0708; ettores. com. B–L–D. Bakery/New American. $–$$ LEMON GRASS RESTAURANT Lemon Grass serves delicious, upscale Asian fare such as salad rolls, green curry and catfish in a clay pot. Everything tastes fresh, light and clean. 601 Munroe St.; (916) 4864891; L–D. Pan-Asian. $$$ PIATTI Muted colors and dark wood provide a comfortable, contemporary vibe. The culinary focus is on Italian cuisine with an American influence. The menu includes delightful variations on Italian staples—margherita, pesto or roasted chicken pizzas; ravioli, pappardelle and fettuccine pasta dishes. 571 Pavilions Lane; (916) 649-8885; mento. L–D. Italian/American. $$ ROXY RESTAURANT AND BAR From the cowhide booths to the sparkling light fixtures in the bar, Roxy is a class act that happens to also serve chili and fried chicken. The innovative New American menu is seasonal and locally focused, with many of the ingredients sourced from area farms and ranches. 2381 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 489-2000; roxyrestau L–D–Br. American/Californian/ steakhouse. $$ RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE For description, see

listing under “Roseville.” 501 Pavilions Lane; (916) 286-2702; L (Fridays only)–D. Steakhouse. $$$$ WILDWOOD RESTAURANT & BAR Owned by the Haines brothers of 33rd Street Bistro fame, this chic restaurant serves New American and global cuisine, with naan, ahi poke and rock shrimp risotto sharing the menu with an all-American burger. The spacious patio is a great place to grab a drink and listen to live music. 556 Pavilions Lane; (916) 922-2858; L–D–Br. American/global fusion. $$$ ZINFANDEL GRILLE Open for more than two decades, Zinfandel Grille is an enduring dining favorite, serving wood-fired pizzas, pasta, fish and other Mediterranean entrées. 2384 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 4857100; L–D. New American. $$$

SOUTH SACRAMENTO LALO’S RESTAURANT If you’re craving real Mexican food, come here for the carne asada tacos or the moist pork tamales. Taco f lavors range from grilled pork and beef tongue to buche (fried pork stomach); traditional Mexican sandwiches also are available. 5063 24th St.; (916) 736-2389. L–D. Mexican. $

SOUTHSIDE PARK BINCHOYAKI Small plates of grilled meats, fish and vegetables are the stars at this izakaya-style restaurant. But you can also order ramen, tempura and other Japanese favorites. 2226 10th St.; (916) 4699448; L–D. Japanese. $$–$$$

DRAKE’S: THE BARN Located in a stunningly modern indoor-outdoor structure along the river, Drake’s serves excellent thin-crust pizzas, along with a few salads and appetizers. You can get table service indoors or on the patio. But if you prefer something more casual, grab a folding lawn chair, find a spot at the sprawling outdoor taproom and order a pizza to go. It’s fun galore, with kids, dogs, fire pits and a tap trailer serving beer. 985 Riverfront St.; (510) 423-0971; L–D. Pizza. $$ LA CROSTA PIZZA BAR From the people behind The Rind in midtown Sacramento, this casual pizza joint serves first-rate pies baked in a wood-burning oven, along with inventive flatbread sandwiches and a small selection of Italian entrées. 330 Third St.; (916) 389-0372; L–D–Br. Pizza. $$–$$$ VIENTIANE RESTAURANT This dynamic spot offers some dishes you might not find at other Thai restaurants, such as garlic quail, deep-fried and lavished with pepper and garlic. 1001 Jefferson Blvd.; (916) 373-1556. L–D. Thai/Laotian. $

Subscription rates: $18 for one year, U.S. only. All out-of-state subscribers add $3 per year. Single copies: $4.95. Change of address: Please send your new address and your old address mailing label. Allow six to eight weeks’ advance notice. Send all remittances and requests to Sacramento Magazine, 5750 New King Drive, Suite 100, Troy, MI 48098. Customer service inquiries: Call (866) 660-6247. Copyright 2020 by Sacramento Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Prices quoted in advertisements are subject to change without notice. Sacramento Magazine (ISSN 0747-8712) Volume 47, Number 1, January 2021. Sacramento Magazine (ISSN 0747-8712) is published monthly by Sacramento Media, LLC, 231 Lathrop Way, Suite A, Sacramento, CA 95815. Periodical postage paid at Troy, MI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send change of address to Sacramento Magazine, 5750 New King Dr., Suite 100, Troy, MI 48098

SACMAG.COM January 2021

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Winter Wonderland


A rare Sacramento snowfall created this chilly scene at Capitol Park on March 14, 1942. —DARLENA BELUSHIN MCKAY

Courtesy Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library



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Knowledge is power. Eskaton has been a trusted advisor and provider of senior living and services in Northern California for over 50 years. As a local nonprofit, we are committed to empowering older adults and their families with resources and information to help them understand their options and which services are best suited to meet their needs and preferences.

Discover the Eskaton Difference.

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CENTENNIAL · 1921–2021 For 100 years, The Niello Company has known it’s been about far more than helping you find and drive a great car. It's setting an example that others can follow. It's having a positive impact well beyond our walls. It's supporting the community that fuels our collective growth. It’s the understanding that taking great care of each individual customer starts with taking care of all the people in our organization. As we reflect back, we are proud to remain locally owned and honored to have sold and serviced more vehicles, for the brands we represent, than any other automotive company in the region. We have immense gratitude for everyone that has been a part of this fantastic ride. It’s not just a car. It’s a journey. The Niello Company. Driving what’s good for a century.


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