Restaurant News & Reviews

Fat City Bar & Cafe to close after 43 years in Old Sacramento

Fat City Bar & Cafe will end its 43-year run in Old Sacramento on November 2, Fat Family Restaurant Group’s president/CEO Jerry Fat confirmed in a statement to The Sacramento Bee on Friday.

The Chinese American restaurant was founded at 1001 Front St. in 1976, three years after Fat Family Restaurant Group opened China Camp next door on what had been Sacramento’s skid row. China Camp eventually turned into California Fat’s Asian Grill & Steakhouse before closing in 2008.

Fat said in 2008 that California Fat’s revenue had been slowing for years, and trickled to an unsustainable pace with the recession and growth in nearby competition. Though the economy has recovered, that competition has only worsened as restaurants have filled in around Golden 1 Center.

Fat told the Sacramento Business Journal that $15 Old Sacramento parking rates for event nights has offset any bump in traffic from the arena. The family’s flagship restaurant, Frank Fat’s, recently celebrated its 80th anniversary.

“We’ve had a great ride. But due to the steady decline in Old Sacramento business coupled with rising costs and increased competition for those shrinking dollars, we made the decision to close,” Fat wrote in his statement to The Bee.

Fat Family Restaurant Group also owns Fat’s Asia Bistro & Dim Sum Bar in Roseville and Folsom as well as a catering operation in the same building as Fat City Bar & Cafe. The family has no plans to sell the Front Street building.

“We remain optimistic that as our city leaders reinvent and reinvest in this treasured historic district, it will eventually reach its full potential,” Fat wrote. “At this time, the Fat family will maintain ownership of the property and look for potential lessees.“

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.