Restaurant News & Reviews

South restaurant owners sell vintage fashion as well as comfort food

The owners of Sacramento’s South restaurant have opened a vintage shop, the Quinn, at 1103 T St.
The owners of Sacramento’s South restaurant have opened a vintage shop, the Quinn, at 1103 T St.

The couple who scrubbed, painted and transformed a careworn Chinese grocery store into the bustling Southern-food restaurant South just opened another business in the Southside Park neighborhood.

The Quinn, a vintage clothing store that soon may offer beer, wine and charcuterie plates as well, sits at 1103 T St., Sacramento – about 200 feet north from South’s 11th Street location. Like the Kavookjians’ 2-year-old restaurant, the Quinn features a many-windowed storefront façade, this time painted black instead of white.

“I wanted to make sure it had a gender-neutrality about it, and I feel like an all-white store would make men feel like there was nothing in here for them,” N’Gina Kavookjian said. The Quinn – maiden name of N’Gina Kavookjian’s mother, Patricia – carries men’s coats and women’s dresses from the 1970s and ’80s, as well as cocktail-ready, mid-20th-century glassware and new items such as candles and heavy-wool Swiss Army blanket reproductions.

Stemware that would have looked at home in “The Thin Man” or on “Mad Men” starts at $4 a glass, most clothes go for $15-$40 and the full-size Swiss Army blankets run a reasonable $30.

“It breaks my heart sometimes when I go into a vintage store and I see a lot of amazing things, (but) the prices are a little ridiculous,” N’Gina Kavookjian said. “You get the feeling whoever owns it just wants to show off their personal collection. And that is not doing business. Especially when you are collecting secondhand things – things that could have ended up in a landfill. You want those things to go to someone’s home.”

When Kavookjian learned the lease at 1103 T St. – once home to a graphic-design business and, in the early part of the 20th century, a bar – she jumped.

“Southside Park needed some affordable retail,” Kavookjian said of the neighborhood that has planted seeds of a resurgence during the past few years, with the openings of South and the equally acclaimed Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining on 10th Street.

Kavookjian and her husband did not put as much sweat equity into this building as they had South’s. It came with a stylish, stamped-concrete floor and exposed-brick walls. And store manager Jennifer Applegate already worked for them at South. Applegate had long collected and sold vintage items on her own. Most of the Quinn’s clothes come from her collection.

N'Gina Kavookjian, co-owner of the new Quinn shop and of nearby South restaurant, talks about vintage stemware.

“N’Gina has given me a stage,” said Applegate, who used to list her vintage items on Etsy.com.

The counter/bar area from which Applegate greets customers entering the Quinn soon may serve beer and wine, Kavookjian said. She and her husband plan to turn the space behind the shop into a covered seating area.

The Kavookjians just expanded South, adding an invite-only dining room. The restaurant’s most loyal customers can reserve seats in the space, which sits across a small passageway from South’s kitchen area. With their reservations, those diners can receive full service instead of waiting for counter service in a line that can run out the door.

“It is a reward for all our regulars, who for the past two years stood in line, in the rain, in the heat,” Kavookjian said.

The Quinn

Where: 1103 T St., Sacramento

Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. (11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 24, closed Dec. 25).

Information: www.facebook.com/shopthequinn

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