Food & Drink

Chef Adam Pechal and Trevor Shults of Barwest take over Crawdad’s River Cantina

One of Sacramento’s signature spots for riverfront dining and summer revelry has a new set of owners.

Trevor Shults, the owner of Barwest and other popular central city watering holes, has joined Adam Pechal of Tuli Bistro as the new team behind Crawdad’s River Cantina. The bar and restaurant is situated along the Sacramento River, among restaurants that includes Chevy’s on the River and Pearl on the River.

This venture comes less than a month after the closing of Restaurant Thir13en, the downtown fine-dining spot co-owned by Pechal. This latest version of Crawdad’s will open by March 1.

Crawdad’s closes annually during the winter season, but Pechal hopes to turn Crawdad’s into a year-round eatery.

“We’re going to give that a shot,” said Pechal. “After all, we pay rent for a whole year.”

Shults, who also owns midtown’s Pour House and Vanguard 1415 at 14th and L streets, tapped Pechal for the project just as the chef was preparing to close Restaurant Thir13en. The two had talked about partnering on a project during the past year to combine Pechal’s cooking skills with Shults’ nightlife experience.

“It just kind of linked up and fell into place,” said Shults. “I reached out to Adam and he was gung-ho about it. Hopefully this will be a slam-dunk location.”

Pechal, a semifinalist contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” will also serve as executive chef. He’ll be joined by Paul Caravelli, a fellow contestant from “The Taste” who cooked in the Chicago area during the show’s run, to help lead the kitchen.

Pechal plans to keep the seafood-centric menu at Crawdad’s but add some new twists. He hopes to work with such Sacramento-area purveyors as midtown’s Sunh Fish and Sloughouse’s Passmore Ranch to supply such ingredients as catfish, clams and calamari. Pechal will also bring his Capitol Burger, a staple of Restaurant Thir13en with house-made pickles, to Crawdad’s.

“It’s classic waterfront dining,” said Pechal. “I don’t want to overcomplicate it, but just do it well.”

The original Crawdad’s was razed in 1984 and re-emerged in 1986 following a $7 million redevelopment of the Riverbank Marina. Crawdad’s has remained a go-to location for partying along the river and live music in the summer.

Since taking over the restaurant in January, Shults has overseen some remodeling of Crawdad’s which includes more indoor and outdoor seating and capacity for 180 diners. While summer remains the peak season for Crawdad’s and its neighboring restaurants, Shults and Pechal are hoping to attract diners from nearby Natomas during the fall and winter.

“I feel like we’re putting something together that’s a nice place to eat, and the beauty of the place is that it has a built-in happy hour,” said Pechal. “If nothing else, it will be one crazy summer.”

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