Comstock's magazine 1218 - December 2018 - Page 34

n TASTE THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Sacramento restaurants look to capture meat-loving and vegan diners with one menu BY Jennifer Fergesen PHOTOS: Debbie Cunningham Backbone Café chef and co-owner Joey Woolston created the menu to appeal equally to vegans and meat-eaters. 34 | December 201 8 A t first blush, Backbone Café in downtown Sacramento seems pat- terned after the virtuous vegetarian restaurants that have become ubiquitous in Northern California. The communal bookshelf by the entrance displays titles such as “Cabin Porn” and “Art of Burning Man.” Tibetan prayer flags mark the path- way to restrooms. A mural of leaves, vines and mushrooms swirls across the length of one wall. A glance at the offerings, however, re- veals that Backbone is no garden-variety plant cafe. Both grilled cauliflower steaks and roasted bone marrow appear among the appetizers. The curry can come with vegetables and hemp seeds or with grass- fed beef. Drink options include a golden turmeric latte, rich with nut milk, or bone broth extracted from beef or chicken. “We are strong believers that no one diet suits everyone,” the menu explains. Backbone Café is part of a rising tide of restaurants that structure their menus to appeal equally to vegans, meat-eaters and the full spectrum in between. These equal-opportunity eateries reflect new modes of consumption that are less dog- matic, such as flexitarianism, which al- lows occasional meat alongside primarily plant-based fare. Their diverse offerings allow them to adapt to shifting diet trends, environmental concerns and new devel- opments in the science of nutrition. “Every month there’s going to be a new faddy diet that everyone jumps on like it’s the answer to good health,” says Backbone chef and co-owner Joey Woolston. When he opened the cafe with his parents and brother in December 2017, he had no in-