Another top Sacramento restaurant has decided to drop its lunch service

Chefs prepare for dinner at Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine on Feb. 3, 2017. The restaurant has announced it’s ending its lunch service.
Chefs prepare for dinner at Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine on Feb. 3, 2017. The restaurant has announced it’s ending its lunch service.

Nine months after relocating from its cramped longtime midtown spot to spacious digs in East Sacramento, Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine is dropping lunch service.

Kru’s final lunch will be served Friday, June 30. In a message to customers posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, Kru ownership and management acknowledged the restaurant never found its footing in serving lunch at its new location, on Folsom Boulevard.

“We began lunch service offering our full menu only to realize that most of our neighbors are extremely pressed for time midday,” the message read. “Our initial reaction was to slim down the menu in an attempt to speed up the lunch experience, but this didn’t give us the results we had hoped for.” Continuing to tweak its lunch service, Kru then offered a completely new lunch menu that was “well received,” the missive said, but hard to pull off staffing-wise.

“We realized our biggest missteps were trying to do too much and spreading ourselves too thin,” the message said. “For these reasons, we have decided to stop lunch service in order to focus on providing the best possible bar and dinner experience.”

Though Kru’s longtime customers “have been very loyal and supportive” in visiting the new spot at lunchtime, crowds were inconsistent from day to day, Kru’s co-owner Kimio Bazett told The Bee Monday.

Yet “it really did come down to a focus thing,” Bazett said. Lunch was “taking away from what we are trying to do – constantly elevating and improving.”

Starting Monday, July 3, Kru will open for small bites and cocktails at 4 p.m. Full dinner service starts at 5:30 p.m.

In October 2016, Kru – led by acclaimed chef/co-owner Billy Ngo and long considered one of Sacramento’s best restaurants – moved into its new space at 3135 Folsom Blvd., next to OBO’ Italian Table & Bar. More than three times bigger than Kru’s old spot on J Street, the new space includes a full bar with specialty cocktails and hard-to-find Japanese whiskeys, plus a private dining room.

The Bee reviewed the new Kru in February, awarding it 3 1/2 out of four possible stars, proclaiming that the restaurant “shows potential for greatness” and for being able to compete with top restaurants in San Francisco and the Napa Valley for Sacramentans’ fine-dining dollars. The review’s most critical elements focused on a lunch visit.

Ngo said at the time he wanted “food and service and space, ambiance – everything – to be excellent. Are we close to the potential it can be? No, we are nowhere near it.”

Kru’s move follows a decision a few months ago by Paragary’s – another high-profile central-Sacramento restaurant that recently underwent an expensive upgrade – to drop its own weekday lunches. Paragary’s added Saturday brunch and Monday dinner service with the move. Late last year, highly regarded midtown spot Localis also stopped its lunch service and added a Sunday brunch.