by Local Roots Food Tours Guide: Bethany Heckman

Family Value Meal imageSometimes, after a long day of work (or watching after the kids), shopping, driving in traffic, baking for the 15th holiday party to attend, and a load of laundry, the last thing you want to do is cook a dinner. Money can’t be tight these days (we are in a recession people!) but I’ve compiled a list of restaurants where not only do you get a value meal, but these places are very kid friendly! What’s better than eating delicious food and getting the bang for your buck!

1.  Sampino Towne Foods

Immediately when you walk through the doors of Sampino’s you want to cry out; “Mama Mia”.  Authenticity at its best when it comes to Italian meals!  You can smell the aroma of their fresh marinara sauce simmering on their back burner and the slight hint of their homemade meatballs finishing off in the oven!  Talk about simplicity.  You can call your order in ahead of time and stop off on your way home from a busy day to pick up your family dinner.  Their menu is seasonal but you can always be guaranteed freshness and some local favorites that will never leave their menu selection.  If it were me (my confession of being a regular of Sampino’s) I would recommend ordering a family meal of Chicken Parmesana with fresh handmade pasta (did I mention they have over 21 flavors of fresh pasta to select from?), a large container of their homemade tomato mozerella bisque soup, a fresh loaf of sour dough bread and a family style salad…..all TO GO!  You will find your pocket book has a lot left over after picking up your family meal because at Sampinos you find nothing but VALUE in their pricing!  A meal of this caliber and size (will feed approximately 4 to 5 in your family) will be right around $50 or less…..and there is no gratuity.  Say what?  A family meal under $50 for 3 courses?  Yep!  Want to add in a couple canaloni’s  or slices of chocolate ganache cake or a bit of a tiramusu?  You will only here the words “SCORE” by your family when you sit down to eat!

1607 F St, Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 441-2372;  Hours:  Mon-Fri  10am-4pm,  Sat. 11am-4pm; Closed Sundays

2.  Selland’s Market
Selland’s Market is a jewel that shines bright in the city of Sacramento. The Selland family has been a prominent, well known family in Sacramento for over 20 years. Their restaurants are known for their delicious and fresh, local food selections. Each week, Selland’s features a Dinner for Two (with a bottle of wine!) for $25. I don’t think you can find a deal like this anywhere else in the city. The fresh, local ingredients make Selland’s Market stand out in an amazing way. A few examples of these Dinner for Two specials? French Onion Soup with croutons and Gruyere Cheese paired with a Salad Lyonnaise topped with bacon and a poaches egg served with a 2009 Pierre qui Roule Pinor Noir from France. Or how about a Fontina and Thyme meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy with a bottle of Cotes du Rhon. Can you believe that? All for $25? I suggest you check out their website and Facebook page for weekly specials and head down to Selland’s Market today!

5340 H Street?Sacramento, CA 95819 (2nd location opening in El Dorado Hills, January 2012)

3.  Pizza Rock
Who wouldn’t want to eat delicious pizza in a restaurant with a Mack semi-truck busting through the wall? I know, it sounds funny but Pizza Rock has an atmosphere like I’ve never seen. My recommendations: Start with some homemade meatballs and fried string beans (swoon!) then order for the family a Rosemary, White Rose potato and Chorizo pizza. (Pizza Rock is known for their artisan pizzas and ingredients that you may not see at a normal pizza parlor!) This pizza consists of mozzarella, White Rose potatoes, pork chorizo, Rosemary, Cowgirl Creamery Fromage Blanc and Lavender Sea Salt. Can you say delicious!? Maybe in the mood for a calzone? Well, Pizza Rock gives you the option to deep fry or bake your calzone! (I lived in Italy and never saw this option at a pizzeria!) This is a perfect place to come with children and family members. Everyone will leave full and happy. And don’t worry, they also serve sandwiches, burgers and an amazing brunch on Saturdays and Sundays!

1020 K St?Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 737-5777

4.  Jack’s Urban Eats
A reliable, fun and delicious way to get the bang for your buck. Jack’s is known throughout Sacramento for having delicious and fresh food for a reasonable price. This is the kind of place where you are paying for the quality of the food (but not paying too much!) Families like this restaurant because of the ordering system. You get to watch the staff at Jack’s put exactly what you would like to eat together on a plate. Whether it be a (freshly carved) turkey dinner with all the trimmings or a well-mixed salad (peas, carrots, corn, mushrooms, cucumbers, garbanzo beans… the choices are endless!)  It’s nice to see your meal being prepared right in front of you. There is a fabulous kids meal that showcases some delicious treats but I will tell you my HANDS DOWN favorite thing to order… The Urban Fries. Perfectly crunchy and golden brown thin cut French fries drizzled with blue cheese dressing, hot chili oil and chives (I didn’t say it was healthy, just delicious!) I love eating at Jack’s because I know that my dollar will go far and I will leave feeling full and satisfied.

1230 20th Street?(916) 444-0307

5.  JR’s Texas Bar-B-Que
If you are anything like my family, you enjoy rolling your sleeves up and getting dirty during a meal. What’s better than some down home, country BBQ?  Voted Sacramento’s Best BBQ for the past 6 years, JR’s Texas BBQ and now has three locations to try his good ol’ cooking. JR’s has a simple menu (and affordably priced!) and people old and young will enjoy these dishes. Corn on the cob, Cowboy baked beans, coleslaw and 3 cheese Macaroni sprinkle the side order menu. Now for the main courses: Baby Back Ribs, Beef Brisket, Hot links, Turkey, Chicken and Pork Shoulder: Smothered in BBQ sauce. Is your mouth watering? Personally, there is nothing better than some Texas BBQ when the chef knows what REAL Texas BBQ is all about. JR’s business is continuing to grow and now offers his mesquite smoked meats, dry spice rubs and bottled BBQ sauce over the internet and in local markets. Don’t take my word for it- JR’s food is finger lickin’ good. Head to one of the three locations throughout Sacramento for dinner tonight. You won’t be sorry!

180 Otto Circle
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 424-3520

6.  Leatherby’s Family Creamery
When you talk about eating out (especially with children) you cannot pass up an opportunity to talk about ice cream. Ever. Leatherby’s has been making quality ice cream for over 27 years using ingredients that create a rich and buttery texture. Not only does Leatherby’s produce some award winning desserts they also have a kitchen that serves some delicious soups, salads and sandwiches (and they bake their own bread! And bread bowls for their homemade soups!) They do it all! With over 25 flavors of ice cream, you can only imagine the combination of dessert Leatherby’s has to offer. From the classic Banana Split to the Raspberry Chocolate Rhapsody, Leatherby’s menu has something for everyone. The best part is the price! Check out their website today but bring napkins with you to the computer. Your mouth will be watering!
2333 Arden Way, Ste A?Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 920-8382


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