Cathie Anderson: Chops steakhouse reopens for lunches

Published: Saturday, Jul. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

Chops steakhouse on L Street will reopen for weekday lunches starting Monday, now that owners Denise Fleming and Geoff and Trisha Flynn have launched – very quietly – a second restaurant in Folsom's Palladio outdoor shopping mall.

The restaurateurs and executive chef Chris Heading are also changing up the menu, Geoff Flynn said.

"Not everybody wants a 16-ounce New York," Flynn said, "so we have an 8-ounce New York, and not everybody wants a 54-ounce porterhouse, so we're scaling our steaks down to fit people's appetites and their pocketbooks because … the age of opulence is over."

Customers will find lunches priced at $7 to $15, but they can also order up a bigger steak if they like.

The Folsom restaurant, which opened with the new menu, opens at 11:30 a.m. daily and closes when it's "no longer smart to be open." The downtown restaurant, which shares the closing philosophy, will open at 11:30 a.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The downtown restaurant is heavily dependent on convention, hotel and political business.

The new Folsom restaurant will diversify the Chops customer base, Flynn said, as shoppers visit national names such as H&M, Charlotte Russe and Sports Authority – all opening soon.

"We're in a regional mall … near an all-digital movie theater up there, and it's amazing how many people go to that theater," Flynn said. "... And, also, there's 150,000 homes within three miles of there."

Lose one, win some

When the law firm McDonough Holland & Allen dissolved in 2010, several floors were left vacant at the Bank of the West Tower at 500 Capitol Mall.

"That put a big hole in the building and was a big setback because our anchor tenant was no longer in the building," said Greg Levi of Jones Lang LaSalle.

Levi persevered and has landed a number of high-profile tenants. Still, the occupancy rate is just 70 percent. Levi said it has helped that Capitol Mall is really the legal address of Sacramento.

"Most law firms would look at only three of the buildings on Capitol Mall as their first choice – Wells Fargo Center; 500 Capitol Mall, our building; and 621 Capitol Mall," he said. "And 621 Capitol Mall is currently 100 percent leased and Wells Fargo is substantially leased."

Bank of the West Tower will welcome lobbying firm the Gualco Group to the 26th-floor penthouse, and the tax law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, which is expanding its practice, on the 25th. The Diepenbrock Elkin law firm will occupy half the 23rd floor, and Woodland's Morning Star Co., the giant tomato processing business, will be on the 20th.

A groupie's got to eat

Consumers can't get enough of deals – or, it seems, deal websites. The new GrubGroupie.com restaurant deal site sold nearly 2,000 vouchers within its first week of business this month.

Online marketing guru Michael Broughton, the chief executive groupie, launched and funded the site along with two silent partners. It isn't the Elk Grove resident's first foray into the dining or online businesses. He's the general manager of the sacdine.com restaurant guide.

"People are really taking to what we're doing, and they're signing up," said Broughton, noting that 50,000 people joined over the recruitment phase. "We're partnering with merchants, restaurants and wineries around town, and trying to make sure that we have unique offerings."

The daily deal space is already crowded, with sites like Groupon.com, livingsocial and The Bee's dealsaver.com offering discounts on a variety of goods and services. Broughton said GrubGroupie.com will focus on dining and wine and will donate a portion of monthly revenue to local nonprofits.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Cathie Anderson





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