Urban Roots Brewery & Smokehouse
Sacramento, CA 95818
Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse, located at V and 14th streets, opened to much fanfare this May for its barbecue, beer, sweet outdoor patio and murals by local artists Lily Therens and Maren Conrad. It makes sense that the food and beer menus would be epic; Urban Roots is a collaboration between Peter Hoey, formerly the brewmaster at Sacramento Brewing Company, and Rob Archie, the owner of Pangaea Bier Café (whose cheeseburger also swept the Sac Burger Battle by winning both the judges’ and people’s choice awards). They brought Pangaea chefs Brett Stockdale and Greg Desmangles into the mix, and the result is sweet, smoky magic.
You can’t go wrong at Urban Roots. Almost everything on the menu is worthwhile. The meat options are all winners: the pork shoulder is perfectly succulent, the Angus brisket is flavorful and tender, the smoked turkey is moist and well-smoked without being overly so. You can order any combination of meat in multiple weights, resulting in a huge pile of barbecue on your tray—a glorious sight to behold. If you’re not into face-planting into a mountain of meat, consider their sandwich menu, which boasts a towering Pulled Pork Sandwich ($14) or Chopped Brisket Sandwich ($16). Both are generously portioned and soul-satisfying.
Pretty much everything on the meat menu is made better by the addition of the Pickle Plate ($6), a tray packed with all sorts of pickled vegetables to cut through all the fatty, meaty intensity. You’ll get a seasonal array of veggies with a lovely vinegary bite, such as green beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots, jalapeños, onions and green tomatoes.
When it comes to sides, there are lots of creative options to choose from, many of which are vegetarian. The Mac & Cheese ($5) is cheesy and creamy, the Baked Beans ($5) spicy and aromatic, the Poblano Cheese Grits ($5) had a near-perfect texture and the Pureed Yams ($4) taste like a more savory version of pumpkin pie. Hungry snackers should try the “Dirty Mac with Pork” ($12), a big bowl of macaroni and cheese mixed with shredded pork. It’s a game-changer and heart-stopper all at once.
The beers at Urban Roots are equally solid, with an incredibly diverse selection of house-crafted varieties on tap. Whatever your preference, you’ll find something to love. Check out the Lune de Miel, a malty Mexican-style lager with hints of caramel, and the What’s New, a tropical unfiltered pale ale with a citrus smile.
The only truly negative thing I can say about Urban Roots is that the food order and pickup situation is confusing. Both lines crisscross somewhere around the cash registers, leaving pickup customers intertwining awkwardly amidst queued folks who are facedown with their noses in the menu, still waiting to order. The human obstacle course is worth it, though. Just keep your eyes on the prize.
What’s the final word? Urban Roots’ is the place to be for a maximal outdoor chill session. It’s probably going to be your new favorite place for barbecue and beer, so don’t bother fighting the urge. Just go. Right now. Seriously, put the paper down and walk out the door.