Dining Out: Darrel Ng

Darrel Ng is the press secretary for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and used to work in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press shop. He also blogs about local food and drinks at his website,

Tell me about Cowtowneats. What does the site do? How did you get the idea? is a locally run Web site that focuses on finding food and drink deals for those who work in the Capitol and downtown. I started out by just listing happy hours – of which I have more than a hundred on the site now, but have expanded to include cheap and free food and drinks for those in the Capital community. One example is the recent free Chipotle burritos for furloughed state workers deal.

I came up with the idea sometime late last year. When my friends and I would go out, we never knew what restaurants had happy hour and until when. I did a little Googling, realized there was nobody doing this and started my own site.

Do you find places competing to get mentioned on the site?
As I’ve started getting more visitors (I get about 10,000 page views a month and 1,400 users) restaurant PR people have started contacting me to add their restaurant to the site or update their listing as they update their happy hours. I’m especially sympathetic to PR people since that’s what I do as my day job.

Have the drink offers or coupons gotten better recently? If so, do you credit the down economy, or competition to get mentioned?
I think the economy has been a huge factor in the expansion of happy hours. Look at a restaurant like Esquire. They have great food and service and I regard them as a top-tier Sacramento restaurant. But even they’ve elected to offer happy hour.

What’s the most unusual happy hour in town? Or a few notable ones?
The best happy hours are the ones closest to where you work or where you live. There are a couple really good ones near the Capitol that are popular like Spa Bar. I really like Morton’s happy hour because it gives you a chance to eat great food at a price that you and I can afford. I also like Celestine’s happy hour because the food and drinks they offer are not the same domestic beer or fried calamari.

How much time does your website take up?
This is really just a hobby that takes an hour or two a week

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