The fire station at the corner of Third and C streets in West Sacramento has been silent for more than two decades, a pre-World War II relic that harkens back to simpler times. But soon the building will be filled with the sounds of beer glasses clinking on tables, burgers sizzling in the kitchen and live music emanating from an upstairs bar.
The West Sacramento location of Burgers and Brew is set to open by mid-December. Boasting two full bars (with 48 taps) as well as a live music spot called Station No. 1, the development is the latest addition to the influx of retail and housing projects in West Sacramento. It also marks continued expansion for the eatery’s owners – Derar Zawaydeh and Philippe Masoud– in the Sacramento region and beyond.
On a recent morning, the building’s past and present were in the process of coalescing. “Old Mary,” a West Sacramento fire truck circa the 1950s, was on display near the main entrance. A vintage oven once used by fire station personnel was positioned on the patio, awaiting a move inside where it may be used as a hostess stand.
“The vibe is simple and positive,” Zawaydeh said surveying Station No. 1’s second-floor space, the smell of lacquer and fresh paint hanging in the air. “The fact that it’s a historical building creates a whole different environment.”
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Construction on the original firehouse was completed in 1940 via the Works Progress Administration, a program under the New Deal meant to kick-start the U.S. economy and generate jobs. While the building spent the bulk of its time as a fire station, it also housed a police station, and its adjacent property served as a city hall parking lot.
The current property was purchased by Sacramento’s D&S Development in late 2015, and signed Burgers and Brew as a tenant in mid-2016. Since then, the goal for the owners of the 6,500-square-foot space has been to preserve the building’s old-timey charm while making it another example of West Sacramento’s continuing renaissance. To help accomplish this, owners plan to hang historic photos and newspaper clippings on the walls, and the building’s signage already features a vintage design touch.
This once-sleepy section of Yolo County, less than a mile from Raley Field, has perked up recently. A cafe and wine bar, Bean & Barrel, is slated to open across the street from Burgers and Brew. Down the block on Third Street, D&S Development also oversees a property with such new-school businesses as Edible Pedal, a bike shop and delivery service, and Devil May Care ice cream.
More change is coming. Construction for a new I Street Bridge, which will join the area near the Sacramento railyard project with West Sacramento, is expected to bring even more traffic to the neighborhood around Burgers and Brew.
“We might not get the full effects right away, but give it five years,” Zawaydeh said. “It’s right on the river and near downtown, and West Sacramento still seems to be an affordable place to buy a condo or apartment.”
Once completed, this Burgers and Brew location will include brunch service on weekends. Live music will be a fixture of this airy space, with performers playing jazz, blues and acoustic music, as well as other genres.
Station No. 1 won’t operate as a music club with a cover charge. Instead, it will be similar to what Shady Lady Saloon does with its entertainment, featuring live music on a small stage that contributes to the bar’s overall ambiance.
“It’s not the main business,” Zawaydeh said about the live music program. “In the future, we might do banquets and parties (in the Station No. 1 space), but on a daily basis it will work as a bar. The emphasis will still be on Burgers and Brew. But we’re looking to have genres that will attract people who are 25 and up. We don’t want a rowdier crowd.”
The owners, meanwhile, are busy with projects outside of West Sacramento, including a Burgers and Brew location on 1616 J St. in midtown that will feature in-house brewing operations. Burgers and Brew at present uses Sudwerk’s facilities to produce a line of house-made beers, but these operations will shift to the J Street location.
In addition, Zawaydeh and Masoud, who also own two Crepeville restaurants, are in the midst of bringing an outpost of that business to Chico.
But at this moment, much of their focus remains on West Sacramento and giving new life to a building that’s been a fixture of the neighborhood for decades.
“It’s been a very involved project, but we’re thrilled,” Zawaydeh said.