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  • From the website.

    The building was completely renovated while maintaining that 1950s era mid-century modern style. The cafe will be located where the picket fence is.

  • From the Orbit Wash website

    The Orbit Wash at 9th & T will have a small cafe with a wine and beer license.

Got the next great restaurant idea? This car wash owner wants to hear it

Published: Friday, Sep. 27, 2013 - 10:38 am

I got a great car wash the other day at Orbit Wash, a place that has do-it-yourself bays as well as a roll-through wash complete with hand detailing. So why am I telling you about this on a food blog?

While I was waiting for my car to be cleaned and vacuumed, I had nothing to do, so I wandered over to Insight on S Street, had a coffee and read a book. I returned in an hour and chatted briefly with the owner. I asked about the small concrete slab near the front of the property and he told me it is going to be a cafe. I did a doubletake.

Yes, it turns out the owner, Lane Leach, is in real estate and saw the property, with its weather-beaten mid-century modern style, as a prime location for renovation and repurposing. It’s a charming building, built in 1959 by Shell Oil. Leach spent 10 months on renovations.

Leach’s business card states, “Wash your car, wash your dog: One place.” That will soon have to be revised, for Leach wants people to be able to drop by for a good meal and a glass of wine or craft beer. He already has archictectural drawings that tie in with the mid-mo aesthetic — lots of glass and steel, plenty of verticality, a garage-style door, outdoor seating, a full hood and ventilation system. The building will only be 400 square feet, so most of the seating will be outside. It’s ready for grease traps and floor drains.

So what’s his concept? That’s where you come in.

Leach is in real estate, not restaurants. He’s looking for great ideas. And if your pitch resonates with him, you might just be setting up your dream eatery at the corner of 9th and T streets.

“I’m really tossing and turning about what makes sense with that small of a space,” Leach told me. “The premise is, come in and get your car washed. Get your dog washed, too, if you want. And have something to eat and drink.”

You probably won’t need a lot of money to get the idea going. Leach told me the starting rent will be nominal, if anything, and that he will likely get 10 percent of the gross revenue.

“If they succeeed, I succeed,” he said.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone with a great concept but limited resources. Maybe someone with a food truck who wants to do brick and mortor. Maybe a young chef who wants to try something new. All kinds of possibilities.

If you think you have a concept and are ready to work hard to make it happen, get in touch with Leach: (916) 801-1266 or

Read more articles by Blair Anthony Robertson

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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