For the first time since Dine Downtown began eight years ago in Sacramento, Calif., Ella Dining Room and Bar will offer an all-vegetarian menu for hungry foodies.

What about the protein, omnivores may ask?

Mike Thiemann, Ella’s executive chef, shared some of the challenges of preparing a vegetable-centric menu. “It’s not about going against the grain or trying to be vegetarian or vegan; it’s taking the challenge in front of us and doing the best you can, and it just so happens that it ends up being all vegetarian.”

There has been a lot of talk recently about how Sacramento is the Farm-to-Fork Capital of the nation.

For the next 10 days, hungry patrons can sample a variety of fresh products.

With so much local produce and agriculture, Thiemann thinks, “At the end of the day, Sacramento chefs moving forward should all be really amazing vegetarian cooks. It’s really not that hard. The products out there basically speak themselves.”

Featuring soup or salad for the first course, Moroccan or Italian options for the main course and cheesecake or a meringue-based third course, Thiemann is cooking dishes that he would want to eat.

Megan Emmerling states that it’s the hope of the Sacramento Downtown Partnership to bring awareness to people outside of the grid about quality products, talented chefs and downtown dining options.

Other establishments offering vegetarian or vegan options this year are Capitol Garage, Firehouse, The Melting Pot, River City Brewing Co. and Mayahuel.

Jerry Mitchell, is a co-owner of Capitol Garage.

Last year he mentioned, “It used to be just feed people good food. Now it’s more complicated, people are more aware about sustainability, so it makes it more difficult.”

Mitchell continues, “We try and use as much local product as possible.”

Whether you are looking for a pleasant night out with your significant other, or want to sample delicious food from top-shelf talent, the next 10 days offer nearly 30 options to choose from.

You’ll find this author at Ella’s.