(Last UPDATED 2/10/2023) Celestin’s Restaurant in East Sacramento has permanently closed. NEW: See “Update” below for the latest on its replacement.
Original Blog Post
(3/26/2018) Description and review of Celestin’s Restaurant, located on McKinley Blvd. in East Sacramento.
On Tuesday, March 13, Celestin’s Restaurant opened in the small strip mall on McKinley Boulevard near 36th Street. Area residents had been keeping a close eye on the work transforming the space that had previously housed the short-lived East Sacramento outpost of Devine Bakery & Gelateria into Celestin’s Restaurant, and anticipation was high.
Friends and I stopped by Celestin’s Restaurant for lunch a week to the day after it opened. I had years ago patronized Celestin’s Restaurant, then located on K Street (it closed in 2011), and I remembered their signature dish gumbo fondly.
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We arrived a little after 1:00 p.m., and secured a table. The bright and cheerful dining area is small and there is limited seating, so keep this in mind if you plan to dine in. Timing is everything!
This latest version of Celestin’s (the smallest of the three restaurants serially owned by the Celestin’s since they opened their first restaurant in 1983) has counter-service at lunch. Order and pay for your meal at the counter, and it will be delivered to your table.
The menu is small – but it has what I consider an ample selection of items to choose from. There are small plates and sides, seven gumbo’s (choose from mild, medium, hot), several entrees, and several sandwiches and salads – not to mention a handful of desserts. There is also a Child’s Plate on the menu – with three offerings for $7.
Coffee and tea, other assorted beverages, and wine and beer round out the beverage offerings.
I am not going into specifics on the other items offered on the menu for a reason. After one week in business two items that were previously on the menu are no longer offered. As to be expected in a newly opened restaurant, the staff is on a learning curve – but I expect that will improve given time.
I thought about ordering gumbo, but I just was not hungry enough. Celestin’s gumbo is served over rice with French bread. Instead, I ordered the El Cubano (panini of fresh baked ham, grio, Swiss cheese, pickles, yellow mustard, organic mayonnaise) ($14). I have made it a habit to compare the Cubano sandwiches served at various Sacramento restaurants in an attempt to discover the “best” (from a personal perspective) Cubano sandwich in town.
See related posts: Oak Park Brewing Company – Sacramento Restaurants and Selland’s Market-Café – Sacramento Restaurants
Of the two friends who joined me for lunch one ordered the Chicken Creole Sandwich (shredded Creole chicken with bacon, organic mayonnaise, capers, and Havarti cheese) ($14). Two of us ordered a glass of wine, and the third friend, who was not feeling particularly well, limited himself to a diet coke. Be forewarned – the “tiny” aluminum bottle of Diet Coke costs $2.75!
The Chicken Creole Sandwich was a hit, and my friend in particular raved about the bread. Checking Celestin’s website afterwards I noted they source their bread from Grateful Bread.
Personally, I was excited as I had a new “winner” for best Cubano sandwich in Sacramento! Sandwiches are served with fries – and all three of us liked the thin and tasty fries served.
A slice of Key Lime Pie ($7) finished off the meal. I took a small bite – it was delicious.
To sum up, next time I visit Celestin’s I hope to be hungry enough to order my very own slice of Key Lime Pie. Ordering the gumbo is also on my list as I want to see if it is as good as I remember.
See related blog posts: Annual Sacramento Restaurant Review Recap (2018) and Sacramento Ethnic Restaurants and Celestin’s Gumbo & Grill
(2/10/2023) It was recently reported that the new tenants of the former Celestin’s location will be a “fast-casual counter service wine bar specializing in Spanish wines and tapa-style plates”. Stay tuned!
(10/19/2022) Celestin’s announced the permanent closure of the restaurant in a October 14 email to former patrons. So much for the end of the year. Best wishes on your retirement Patrick and Phoebe!
See related blog post: Walk Down Memory Lane
(9/15/2022) The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this week that Patrick and Phoebe Celestin will be closing Celestin’s at the end of 2022 and retiring – this time for good. The couple unretired to open this third (and now last) Celestin’s on McKinley Blvd.
So, you have been warned. You have until the end of the year to have that last bowl of gumbo – or other of your favorite dishes!
Have you dined at Celestin’s Restaurant new location? If you had the gumbo – was it as good as YOU remembered? What comments would you add?
Celestin’s Restaurant Snapshot (as of 9/15/2022):
3610 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95816 (916) 258-4060 Closed Sunday – Tuesday; Hours: Wednesday – Thursday (3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.); Friday – Saturday (2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Take-out: Call in Advance Delivery: Uber, Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates Small Outdoor Dining Area in Parking Lot
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Sol Cubano serves an excellent Cuban sandwich.
Thanks. This is the first I have heard about Sol Cubano – I will check it out.
The photo of the pie looks particularly scrumptious!
Yes….i even came out in the rain on opening day because I love and missed Celestin’s so! I must admit, it has changed a lil since the last time I had seen it. Food is still good! (Love that poulet blanchi was on the menu. It’s one of my favs!) Gumbo and corn cakes tasted as I remembered. However I heard chicken curry isn’t on the menu, and that’s disappointing. Also! I do hope Celestin’s will bring back more color….the festive, topical feel in the decorations that us, Die Hards, have come to know and love.
Thanks for your comments Cee.