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  • Randall Benton /

    Randall Benton Michael DeRungs installs surfboards above the bar at Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill in preparation for its opening.

  • Randall Benton /

    Sean DeRungs, 7, examines one of the guitars that were going up on the walls to decorate the new Roseville nightspot that will bear rocker Sammy Hagar's name.

  • Randall Benton /

    Bartender Zach Shriner unpacks wine glasses as last-minute preparations for the opening of Sammy Hagar's new restaurant continue Friday.

  • Randall Benton /

    In addition to wine, numerous beers also will be available, as the taps indicate.

Hagar eatery ready to rock

Published: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 - 5:23 pm

With a day to go before Sammy Hagar was set to take the stage at the new Roseville restaurant bearing his name, 238 Vernon St. was a blur of activity Friday morning.

One set of workers installed lighting fixtures, another mounted decorative surfboards and guitars to the roof of the bar, general contractor Ron Loder circled the premises with his checklist, elevators were inspected and the kitchen staff marinated ribs.

Tools, chairs, tables were spread about in organized chaos.

Roseville officials have high hopes that the 10,000-square-foot Sammy's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill will add vitality to the city's downtown.

Today, the city celebrates "Sammy Hagar Day" with an outdoor street party.

This evening will serve as a high-stakes dress rehearsal, with rock 'n' roller Hagar, of Van Halen fame, taking the stage. The restaurant – which was launched with the help of a $1.5 million loan from the city's nonprofit development corporation – opens to the public later this month.

Restaurant co-owner Stephen Pease said he stumbled across a Hagar restaurant in Hawaii. Attracted by the food and Hagar's pledge to support charities within local communities, he started looking for a way to bring a Hagar restaurant to the building he owns in downtown Roseville.

Ultimately the quest led Pease – paired with experienced restaurant partners – to deeper involvement in the restaurant than he initially expected, but the dream of supporting local charities is alive and well.

Proceeds from Hagar's kickoff concert will go to an array of local charities. With tickets going for $400 or more, the charitable support is sizable.

Pease said his buddies with the restaurant experience will focus on today's big event. His role, he said, is to keep his eye on the big picture, and that includes building the neighborhood.

In a city bisected by train tracks and a freeway, a flurry of economic activity in one area of the city can mean little to other areas.

While the area around Westfield Galleria continues to outperform the general economy and Old Town Roseville has become a hot spot for the younger set, the city has worked hard to add life to the blocks surrounding the City Hall building south of the Union Pacific rail lines.

"It's a piece of the puzzle," city spokeswoman Megan MacPherson said, adding that revitalizing downtown has been a longtime goal of the city. "We are at the very beginning of developing the vision."

The restaurant's downtown neighbors seem to share the city's excitement.

"It's going to increase traffic. It will enhance our business because now people can eat before a show," said Michelle Raskey, president of Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, which stands across the street from the new restaurant.

Around the corner, the owners of the West House cocktail lounge also were excited.

"I've been waiting five years for something like this on this side of town," said owner Dino Frediani. The bar – which has been in Frediani's family for generations – is undergoing a makeover.

The hope is that overflow crowds will send some people around the corner for a faster, cheaper drink, or at least, more people will notice the West House as they walk from the nearby parking garage to Sammy's.

Frediani's mother also was enthusiastic.

"We're very happy," Kathy Frediani said. "We'll take whatever is left."

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