The wait is almost over: The Other Side is coming to East Sacramento this Spring. We never could have anticipated the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the community, and we’re so excited to finally share what we’ve been up to these past few months.
To answer all your questions, we sat down with the team behind The Other Side: Track 7 Owner + Brewmaster Ryan Graham, General Manager Tracy Losch (formerly of Hook and Ladder + Grange), Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway (formerly of Grange Restaurant & Bar + The Citizen Hotel), and Head Chef Noah Mansfield (formerly of Mother + Hook and Ladder). Cheers!
When you were deciding on locations, what made you choose East Sacramento as the home for The Other Side?
Ryan: Our family lives here; it’s our neighborhood. When we opened the original Track 7 in Curtis Park, we lived close by in Hollywood Park, so with East Sacramento, we wanted to have the chance to be a part of the neighborhood again and reflect positively on it.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the name The Other Side?
Ryan: It started as a conversation with Jeanna [one of Track 7’s four owners and Ryan’s wife] over the summer. I had also talked with Oliver about the rotisserie chicken concept, which turned into a chicken crossing the road joke. But really, it’s the other side of Track 7. It played into other euphemisms like the other side of the train tracks, and it started to feel more and more like the right name.
Tracy: I think it’s going to be the softer side. I mean, beer is the grunge side and everybody knows that’s what Track 7 has made its mark on. So the flip side of that would be the pairing of the food that would be found on the other side of the track. It’s the yin to the yang and the marriage of those two concepts. The Other Side is going to be a little softer and be all-encompassing: families, females, men, everyone.
There’s a lot of mixed feelings about children in taprooms. Why is the family friendly experience such a big part of Track 7 and The Other Side?
Ryan: Track 7’s never shied away from including kids in what we do. We wouldn’t be able to go ourselves if we didn’t have something that was accessible for every aspect, every age, including the kids.
Oliver: From an outsider’s perspective, when I first started coming around, I thought finally, you can go somewhere with your kids and hang out with adults and have a beer, and it’s not shunned on like you’re taking them to a dodgy bar. That taproom brings that European culture of it’s okay to hang out socially, have a beer, and have your children present.
Ryan: That was one of the things we attribute to our success: the all-inclusive aspect of what we did. When we first went down the path of opening the brewery and went to the planning commission, there were people who laughed at us for the concept of incorporating family and children into a taproom environment. If we were to only do something that focused on no kids, it does tend to segregate part of society where it’s male-dominated, so yeah, it’s family, it’s family-inclusive.
Tracy: I think people have that negative connotation with family friendly where it’s like a playground, but this is the perfect example of what community is: this taproom energy and environment of communal tables and people breaking bread. Kids and dogs on the patio. I think East Sac is an incredible environment to be able to do this.
What kind of taproom and restaurant experience should people expect?
Tracy: We’re going to try to redefine what fast casual is. We’re very committed to providing service throughout, and I don’t think that’s something found in fast casual. It’s becoming more popular in the Bay Area, but in Sacramento there’s a huge deficit of it where you order, you’re done, and you’re left to fend for yourself. Yes, it is still counter service where you place your order, but we will have Staff constantly on the floor that will be roaming to ensure sustained Guest service. There’s a tremendous need to have something that’s quick, approachable, and elevated, and still have the ability to have your needs met even once your initial transaction has been completed.
Ryan: We’re trying to find a way to balance both the taproom and restaurant aspects- the food side with the beer and the beer side with the food. We’ve got a wonderful rotisserie meal or other main dish options for people who want a restaurant experience, or if you want to have poutine fries or an appetizer with a couple of beers, we have that too. East Sacramento up until this point has been really void of this type of presence within the culinary market: there’s high end restaurants and then there’s really quick service.
Tracy: I think it’s going to be a place people want to spend time. Our patio is beautiful: it’s going to seat 75-80 people, and it’s going to get mostly shade during the day even during the summer months. So it’s going to be a place people are going to want to hang out at. You can come here, relax and enjoy, and spend twenty minutes or spend two hours.
What was the inspiration behind the fast casual restaurant approach?
Ryan: When you have kids in school and you’re trapped between soccer practice and flute practice driving around town, you don’t always want to eat the same fast food or junk food. Nor do you always have time to eat at home in a traditionally prepared manner so this is kind of that bridge. It’s putting together really nice food; it’s that extension of your house and your own kitchen. You’re able to bring it back and feel like you’ve invited Track 7 into your home.
Can you tell us about the food direction you have planned for The Other Side?
Oliver: I think there are a lot of negative expectations that come with that sort of brewpub scenario and fry basket. We want food that compliments the beer and the craft: the fact that this beer was thoughtfully done means the food is going to be treated in the same way. But it’s also very approachable, we want simplicity in ingredients that have been cooked perfectly and paired nicely with the beer. It’s food that you can bring to your family that makes you feel good about yourself, too.
Noah: I’m excited to change the way people think about brewpub food. I think most people think of fried stuff, and I’m excited to evolve that idea further into a restaurant that Sacramento is known for. I’m also excited to use the produce from Sacramento – it’s some of the best in the country – and really incorporate that into what people think is normal pub food on an evolved level.
I also like the idea of incorporating the beer as part of the food and not just trying to make something that pairs well. I want to take it a step further: I want to take the creative process that goes into the beer and do that with the food as well, where you can tell these things were created in a similar mindset if that makes sense.
Do you have any dishes you’re excited about that incorporates Track 7’s beer?
Oliver: There’s going to be a Soulman Stout onion dip. We’re going to infuse some of the spent grain with milk and do this malted cheesecake and a Nukin’ Futz chocolate pudding in a jar. The burger is going to be a Panic burger with a Panic mustard.
Noah: I think the spent grain [leftover from brewing] has a lot of potential either being infused in certain ingredients or incorporated into different types of bread. With the spent grain having all the ingredients and nuances that go into the beer making with it, I feel like that would be a really interesting avenue to take if it can be incorporated into a living bread starter that can take on a life of its own.
So tell us about the rotisserie chicken?
Oliver: The rotisserie element of the restaurant is really the main focus. We want people to enjoy this chicken and make it a community meal where you can order it at the table, and it will come in pieces with condiments and different flatbreads. You can then build your own experience through different side orders or a shared salad. Really, what beer does to people with regard to sharing pints and cheers-ing, we want people to celebrate over food too.
Noah: I’m really excited for developing a chicken that really sets The Other Side apart from what people would view as normal pub food associated with beer. It’s prepared with the same kind of thought that goes into brewing beer. I’m looking forward to taking those inspirations that are used when creating beer and even some of the processes and ingredients and incorporating them into these dishes.
Will there be vegetarian options?
Oliver: One of the great things about having Noah is his experience at Mother; he worked vegetarian food for a whole year there. I’d like to see that as part of the specials with some very creative, robust vegetarian dishes. In addition to the rotisserie chicken and porchetta, we are also going to do seasoned, brined roasted cauliflower heads.
What plans do you have to involve the local community?
Oliver: I think personally, being a chef in this town and Noah being a chef in this town, there’s always opportunity for local events. I know Ryan himself sponsored Bacon Fest this year which is huge. I think to be operating in Sacramento as a chef or a brewery it’s important is to be involved in your community. Your community supports you, so you need to support them too.
Tracy: I think we’ll do beer dinners and things like that to really celebrate the local famers. Now that we have a restaurant venue, it’ll be exciting to host some of those dinners and collaborative efforts on site.
Will The Other Side have all the taproom beer amenities as the other locations?
Ryan: Yes, we’ll be including East Sac as part of our can releases as well. Growlers, pint club, everything.
What can people expect for the price point?
Oliver: Approachable. It’s going to be middle of road for the everyday man.
Tracy: Right now, it’s in $14-$24 range, with less expensive items like $8 jars of pickles.
Tracy: From Sunday-Thursday: 11-9, and Friday and Saturday: 11-10. This is through the first month or so. After we do our grand opening, we’ll probably expand hours. Once we do brunch or for the can releases, we’ll open at 10 on weekends. If there’s a need, we’ll absolutely keep the taproom open later.
Oliver: We could see some longer summer nights.
Any updates on opening a Roseville location?
Ryan: We’re still negotiating with the city. We hope to have some initial information shortly.
Stay tuned for more updates. We’ve got plans to open in the late spring, and we should be announcing a grand opening date shortly. Want to be part of the Track 7 team? We’d love to have you, so keep an eye out for job postings. We’ll be sharing available positions to our job board in the next week at: https://track7brewing.com/jobs/