A Culinary Experience in a Historical Setting at Sacramento’s Hook & Ladder

Photo courtesy of Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

In the heart of Sacramento’s Midtown district lies this unique local eatery known for both delicious food and inventive cocktails. On top of an awesome culinary experience, it also comes with some cool history of Northern California firefighters.

The name “Hook & Ladder” comes from a historic group of men dating back to the 1850’s. In 1852 Sacramento was hit with a fire of monumental proportions, as it leveled the majority of the city. Once the fire was under control, a group of men known as “The Mutual Hook & Ladder Company” helped to rebuild Sacramento and prevent future disasters like “The Fire of ’52.” Knowing the significance these men had on the rebuilding effort, it is suiting to pay homage to them with this fun Midtown establishment.

With a stellar history and local reputation for having delicious food, you know we had to stop by and give Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. a visit.

On our visit, we started things off with a cocktail created by Bartender Jessica called the Midtown Bright. This gin based libation is accentuated with cranberry and lemon juices, and the rosemary garnish adds another level of complexity which ultimately heightens the drink.

The first dish we tasted was a chickpea fritter with salsa verde. The Lincoln-log stacked fritters on top of the beautifully painted salsa verde is a very playful plating technique and definitely draws you in.

The flavor of the fritters are mild, but the salsa is bold which creates a nice unity. Without the salsa verde the fritters would be bland, but without the fritters the dish would lack texture. Overall, a very well balanced dish.

Next up we tried the chicken parmesan sandwich which is always a fan favorite. This delicious sandwich is crunchy, cheesy, tangy, and herbaceous on beautifully toasted sourdough bread. What puts this sandwich over the top is the use of basil in the sandwich and the quality of the tomato sauce used on the chicken.

Our final dish of the day was the Butifarra sausage sandwich served with house made french fries. This sausage recipe is a mild sausage that originated in Cataluña. The sausage is paired with some sautéed peppers and onions all inside a white roll.

Overall, we had a great experience at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company and would recommend anyone in the area to try it.

Brien O'Brien

As the Food Editor and Co-Founder of Eating NorCal, Brien O'Brien is one of the most influential foodies in NorCal. After being named the "14th Best Home Cook in America" in 2017 by the FOX television show MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay, he moved to the Napa Valley where he spent a year and a half studying food and wine at the Culinary Institute of America. Now, he resides in the Farm to Fork Capital of America - Sacramento.

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