Whether you've got an appetite for change or you're just plain hungry, the new Plates 2 Go will be serving up a menu to satisfy you starting Wednesday at 10 a.m. at 1725 L St. in midtown Sacramento.
You're likely to see restaurateurs Bobbin and Patrick Mulvaney or a member of their staff hovering to ensure this restaurant launches successfully. The owners of Mulvaney's B&L have totally bought into this new casual concept, even though they don't own it. They have, as Bobbin Mulvaney told me, put a lot of "love and Elvis" into it.
You see, Plates 2 Go is an offshoot of the successful workforce training restaurant, Plates, which Bobbin Mulvaney helped St. John's Shelter Program for Women and Children launch three years ago at 14 Business Park Way in Sacramento's Depot Park.
St. John's Shelter CEO Michele Steeb said Plates is a place where homeless mothers gain the skills and work history to put their families on the path to self-sustainability.
Plates 2 Go will work the same way.
Steeb told me there's not a word in the English language to describe how instrumental the partnership with the Mulvaneys has been. That came in loud and clear the week that the original Plates restaurant opened.
"We had a chef, but it worked for only about a week," Steeb said. "We opened the first week and Patrick was on the line cooking for three out of the first six days."
What Bobbin Mulvaney recalled from that time was different: "Patrick came in and said, 'Wow, they're in trouble.' Our boys closed their line at 11:30 at night, and the next morning, all those night boys showed up, like six or seven of them, and got them started."
The original Plates grossed roughly $650,000 last year, bringing in enough excess revenue to contribute $45,000 to help sustain other shelter programs. Steeb estimates that Plates 2 Go will gross $130,000 in its first 12 months.
The business is getting a boost from rent-free space donated by St. John's Lutheran Church. The church founded the shelter program about 28 years ago, but they have been separate entities for some time now.
If you'd like to buy into Plates 2 Go, executive chef Stu Edgcombe has concocted a salad of organic greens from Feeding Crane Farms for $6.50, or for $7.50, he's offering a fresh grilled chicken breast sandwich featuring Ray Yeung's tomatoes. Edgcombe, by the way, is a former Mulvaney's chef who stepped in to help out but got sold on the St. John's mission.
The closer you get to Christmas, the dicier it is that you'll find olive oil at the Winterhill store at 321 Main St. in Placerville.
Owners Annette Schoonover and Richard Wolf make somewhere between 12,000 and 13,000 gallons of the stuff, but they haven't ever carried oil over into the next season.
Every February, they hold a tasting for their new oils. In addition to two types of extra virgin olive oil, they carry several blends in which basil, Meyer lemon, jalapeño and other fruits or herbs are pressed with an extra virgin olive oil. Their oils have won awards in competitions in Los Angeles and New York.
Customers can bring in their old olive oil bottles and refill them, getting a discount of 40 percent. Winterhill now sells more oil this way than it does from bottles.
Even if Wolf and Schoonover do sell out of olive oil, there is still plenty to buy at their store: ceramics, platters made from wine-barrel stays, and bath and body products.
"When we first opened, we wanted to open up a place not just to our oil but to other local producers," Schoonover said, "so this woman makes corn relish for us as well as this great collection of local jams. Then we've got local honeys, too."