Appetizers

Pizza will be available at Red Rabbit for one night, here’s why

Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar, owned by Matt Nurge, left, and John Bays, celebrates its fifth anniversary with a wood-themed party on Feb. 16, 2017.
Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar, owned by Matt Nurge, left, and John Bays, celebrates its fifth anniversary with a wood-themed party on Feb. 16, 2017. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

No. 5. It’s a mark that the majority of restaurants will never make. Eighty percent of restaurants fold before they hit year five, according to a study of the hospitality industry by Ohio State University.

Given this sobering statistic, the team at Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar are revving up for a special celebration. Red Rabbit will celebrate its fifth anniversary on Thursday with a twist on its food and cocktail menu, along with free T-shirts for the first 200 guests. Given that wood symbolizes five years in the world of anniversaries, its cocktail menu, which was previously acclaimed by the likes of Playboy, will include drink specials based on Woodford Reserve bourbon and other barrel-aged spirits.

And in terms of food, Red Rabbit will add an item that’s never been on its menu before: Wood-fired pizza. The mobile food vendor Pizza Supreme Being will partner with Red Rabbit on pies that will be made ready to order.

“It’s a fun and different,” said Matt Nurge, who leads the bar program at Red Rabbit and serves as co-owner. “It won’t be our normal dinner and cocktail menu. Wood is the theme.”

The anniversary arrives as its owners continue to expand their business portfolio. The Red Rabbit team are among the ownership group behind the upcoming Solomon’s Delicatessen on the 700 block of K Street, and also have another venture planned for that area near Golden 1 Center.

So, while most other restaurants might have folded by this time, Red Rabbit is gearing up for future growth. But first it’s time to party, and Thursday’s wood-fueled celebration runs from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“These five years went by in the blink of an eye,” said co-owner Matt Nurge. “Going into this, I knew that failure was an absolute possibility. The overwhelming majority of mom-and-pop places don’t make it. It’s a tough business and people don’t know how small the profit margins we pull in are. But it’s definitely rewarding and kind of humbling. We were able to pull this off.”

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias

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