Juicy health food

Metro Kitchen + Drinkery

Good for: ultra-fresh dishes with a glow of health
Notable dishes: cold-pressed juices, quinoa bowls, juice cocktails

Metro Kitchen + Drinkery

1104 R St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

(916) 346-4610

To step into the Warehouse Artist Lofts Public Market is to feel like you’ve found a portal to San Francisco.

The warehouse retains its scarred concrete and exposed beams, into which the hippest of businesses have been installed. It’s bursting with creative energy, but also, sometimes, with noise.

Fish Face Poke Bar and Metro Kitchen + Drinkery anchor the retail space, with communal seating indoors and out. Both eateries might be more expected in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace. In Sacramento, they feel cutting-edge and unique.

Metro owners Lisa and Keith Musilli Johnson began selling their cold-pressed, organic juices at local farmers markets in 2014. While they still sell them here ($6 for 10 ounces, $7.50 for 12.5 ounces), there is a nice sense of balance to the expanded menu; it’s not all crunchy granola and things you ought to eat.

Among the many sandwiches, the Southern Meatloaf ($8.95) with onion jam, sun-dried tomato tapenade and herb aioli is a refreshingly light take on a meatloaf sub. Metro uses custom whole-wheat loaves from Grateful Bread and adds lightly dressed side salads.

There’s a short cocktail menu that utilizes Metro’s juices, such as the Mandarin Margarita ($9), which balances sharp tequila with floral citrus and agave. Yes, there are lots of fancy cocktails around town these days—however, a restaurant that embodies health and locavore ideals seems like an unexpected place to find them.

Another notable surprise here is the strong sense of collaboration the owners foster. Perhaps that’s the influence of Lisa’s former work as a Waldorf teacher. One day, she asked for feedback on the already knockout brie, apple, onion jam and spinach sandwich ($8.95). She told us about the evolution of the sandwich and its current balance of less sweet/more savory, illustrating her attention to customer feedback.

This is refreshing. As diners, we don’t usually feel so involved—unless we do the special-order-dressing-on-the-side routine, which is just annoying for everyone.

For those who want to customize, the quinoa bowls ($9.95 to $11.95) offer lots of choices. Protein-packed quinoa is the ultimate in nutrition these days, so paired with amaranth, millet and a variety of toppings, you’ll feel ready to run a marathon. It’s a bit too spartan, though; I longed for a bit of butter or salt.

There are always a few salads, some vegan and gluten-free. We liked the sharpness of the pickled onions with the curried chicken salad ($11.95) and greens, although the portion seemed small for the price.

Keep an eye out for pizzetta specials, too. The version with herby za’atar and ricotta ($3.75) is simple but perfect with large crystals of salt garnishing the top.

There are a variety of paper menus and boards, so ordering can be a bit confusing. Ask about daily baked goods, some made in-house and some from Sugar Plum Vegan. The Queen Mum’s chocolate-almond torte ($6) is a light bit of dessert to pair with the Bubbles menu ($7 to $9 per glass).

All together, Metro makes for a fun, energetic place to stop for drinks and a light meal. It teeters on the edge of spendy and noisy, though, so go when you’re feeling ultra-urban and sit outside.