Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Brick House owners build on Elk Grove success with new deli

Published: Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 - 10:42 am

The Cassella brothers want the works – salamis, pancetta, mortadella and plenty of fine cheeses. And they'll be selling all of it by the pound at a new delicatessen they plan to open Sept. 17 in Elk Grove.

"I've always wanted to open up a delicatessen. I just get giddy even thinking about it," said Geno Cassella. "You know, as a little kid, we went to Lucca Delicatessen and Molinari Delicatessen. My dad used to take us to San Francisco all the time. When I think of a deli, I think of that Old World, cluttered, Italian 'Hey, what kinda meatball you want?' attitude when you walk in."

Geno and Franco Cassella got their start in Elk Grove about seven years ago with the Brick House Restaurant & Lounge at 9027 Elk Grove Blvd. Their new deli, Cassella Brothers' The Italian Delicatessen & Fine Foods, will be across the street.

"It's not like I have to drive an additional 25 or 30 minutes to watch two businesses," Geno Cassella said. "I've got both of them right here."

Brick House broke even in its first two years and has grown by 10 to 15 percent each year since then, Cassella said. The menu started out with the kind of meat-and-pasta Italian fare that their grandfather enjoyed, but they have added vegetarian options, plates with smaller portions and happy hour appetizers as guests made suggestions.

Crisp, clean bike shop

Officer Tim Guter of the Roseville Police Department loved cycling and wanted to learn more about the bike business, so he volunteered at a bike shop. His first assignment was cleaning the toilets.

"That was the test, having to clean the bathrooms," Guter said. "And, he made me dust all the bikes and all the racks."

Oliver Bell, the store manager who gave Guter all those rookie duties, was so impressed with his resolve and hard work that when he and his wife, Yi Bell, were ready to open a bike shop of their own, they asked Guter if he'd like to partner with them. He said yes.

Last week, the trio opened Roseville Cyclery at 404 Vernon St. in downtown Roseville. Several banks liked their business plan enough to offer to finance them. Startup costs have been roughly $200,000.

"Our idea was to emulate more of a department store, like Gap or Banana Republic, keep it simple and clean and not cluttered," said Oliver Bell, who has managed bike shops around the Sacramento region for about eight years.

Yi Bell added: "This was a former art gallery, so the (pendant) lights kind of set the tone for the empty space, and we wanted to keep that studio feel."

He sweats the details

Auto detailer Yisrael Verrett is only 32, but already he has caressed Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Ferraris, Porsches and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

But can any of them really compare to the $100 million airplane he'll be buffing next week? The Elk Grove resident will be one of 33 high-end detailers restoring luster to the original Air Force One, the AFO Boeing 707-120 that ferried Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

It sits on the tarmac at Seattle's Museum of Flight, and Verrett is flying out Sunday to work on it with his mentor, Renny Doyle of Detailing Success & Attention to Detail in Big Bear Lake.

Verrett told me he fell in love with the detailing side of car restoration after taking an auto body class as a freshman at Sheldon High School. He started working as a car porter as soon as he got a work permit at age 15, and moved into detailing. He's continued taking classes, from Doyle and others, and it's not uncommon for him to spend three days protecting or restoring a single vehicle. The cost: $1,500. He still does the $55 express detail, though.

"I always wanted to be an entrepreneur," Verrett said. "I didn't have the capital to start a big company. I loved the restoration side of the detailing world where you take a car that looked like it hadn't been taken care of or that had been scratched and then be able to remove that without having to go through painting."

It requires a lot more than buffing, Verrett assured me. He's operated Royal Detail for nine years, eight of them as a mobile service. On Sept. 1, he'll be moving into a new space at 9277 Bendel Place, Suite 235, in Elk Grove.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/anderson. Follow her on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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