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Autumn Cruz /

What should replace midtown’s TreyBCakes?

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 - 2:06 pm

Getting the right mix of businesses is crucial in an urban area, especially such a high profile and bustling stretch like the 1800 block of L Street (between 19th and 18th). There’s plenty of stake and the neighborhood’s identity can shift with each new entry into the retail and/or hospitality industry equation.

As we reported recently, TreyBCakes closed its doors after a three-year run on the block. Its presence, featuring cakes and pies and eventually focusing more on cupcakes, made the area something of a dessert hot spot, given that Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Devine Gelateria and Yogurtagogo were all nearby.

We’ve received mixed responses to the news that Wahoo’s Fish Taco, a small but respected chain based in Southern California, would be occupying a ground-level retail space in the stylish and upscale 1818 L lofts that had sat vacant since the building opened more than five years ago. That wasn’t quite the prestige eatery some were hoping for, but we’ll keep an open mind and certainly hope it brings something new to the block.

So what would we like to see in the now vacant TreyBCakes space? I threw that question out on Twitter and we got plenty of response.

As someone who writes about restaurants, I was thinking about a new eatery or bar. But a non-food retail establishment would certainly be welcome. Midtown/downtown is weighted heavily toward restaurants, bars and hair salons, suggesting there is an opportunity for a new concept.

Our own Chris Macias was the first to weigh in with a great idea:

Some could sense that TreyBCakes was struggling. It’s usually pretty obvious (and sometimes painful to see an empty storefront):

Here’s a niche business that might find a following:

And an Apple store would certainly bring in steady traffic (despite recent reports that the tablet market is on life support):

The block in question is part of what has become known as the Handle District, which has plenty of restaurants to draw visitors, including Mulvaney’s, Paesanos, Mangia, The Press Bistro, 58 Degrees & Holding, Zocalo, Aioli, Buckhorn, Capital Dime, among them. So I asked Seann Rooney, executive director of The Handle Business District (made up of 30 businesses) and, along with his wife, owns a loft unit at 1818 L, what he would like to see added to the mix. He initially was hoping for something upscale in the spot soon to be occupied by Wahoo’s but has since heard positive things about the chain.

He replied via email:

“I've always felt that getting a new restaurant in the loft building was important to making it successful project and further a thriving business district. But finding the right balance of goods and services in the neighborhood is important. We've got 10 highly rated restaurants in the Handle District (one square block), so ideally any new business in the space would complement the current configuration. My sources are telling me that they feel the future tenant here will be a good fit for the space and the surrounding community ... . Clearly, as an owner in the building I have high expectations, but I really do believe the patrons who visit the district do expect more. Midtown continues to thrive because it is special.”

Back to Twitter, where a little sarcasm is always appreciated :

What would you like to see added to the vibrant midtown mix. Let us know. We’ll be sure to revisit this topic soon.

Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob.

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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