The Kitchen, at $175 per person one of Sacramento’s best and most expensive restaurants, is moving to a new location on Broadway late next year, it was announced Friday.
The fixed-price, demonstration-style restaurant, founded by chef Randall Selland and wife Nancy Zimmer, will be leaving its years-long location at 2225 Hurley Way and relocating to Broadway. Silva Stowell Architects also will become a tenant in the building at 915 Broadway, according to a statement released by the ownership group.
“We think this is one of the best streets in Sacramento … and this project is an opportunity to be a catalyst to the transformation of Broadway,” said Scott Maxwell, a vice president with Unger Construction Co., which is a partner in the ownership group along with Silva Stowell and Selland Family Restaurants, which owns The Kitchen, Ella Dining Room & Bar and two locations of Selland’s Market-Cafe.
Maxwell said in a prepared statement that City Councilman Steve Hansen, whose district includes the Broadway area, had been “very supportive” in bringing the project to fruition.
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“This is the needed spark that will catalyze the revitalization of Broadway and spur other kinds of investments in this historic commercial corridor,” Hansen said Friday. “For foodies, we are all salivating at the notion that we can ride our bikes to The Kitchen.”
The building, a former grocery store that sits opposite Historic City Cemetery, is one story and surrounded by asphalt parking. Selland said Friday the goal is to turn it into “the crown jewel” of Broadway. He said design work is just beginning. “We are going to take time to do it right.”
Selland said the group has spent several years looking for a downtown site for The Kitchen, which has been tucked away near Howe Avenue and Hurley Way since 1997. The unusual concept launched on Marconi Avenue in 1991 with the charismatic Selland at the helm, leading guests through interactive demonstration dinners that lasted three hours or more and where second and third helpings of pricey dishes like filet mignon and lobster were standard practice.
The move to Broadway allows the restaurant more flexibility with design, a larger kitchen and more exposure.
Selland said his family settled on the site because it offered easy freeway access, ample parking, was close to downtown and, more than anything, they would own the building. At its current location, The Kitchen leases the property.
“Restaurants cost so much money to build,” Selland said, “but this project is cool because everything we put into it we own. We can make it really spectacular.”
After years of stability, The Kitchen has undergone major personnel changes in recent years. First, the outgoing Noah Zonca, who grew up at the restaurant and succeeded Selland as the face of The Kitchen, left in early 2013 to open Capital Dime. After a national search, The Kitchen’s next hire was short-lived, as new executive chef John Griffiths failed to re-create the energy and spirit of his predecessors. In the fall of 2014, the Selland family hired David Chavez as executive chef; Selland now says the restaurant is back to doing its best work.
The Kitchen is routinely booked weeks in advance, despite the $135-per-person menu price, which adds up to about $175 per person with tax and an automatic 20 percent gratuity.
The new restaurant is expected to open in late 2016; the architecture firm is expected to move in by the end of 2015. The ownership group is seeking other possible tenants, including restaurants and professional offices.
The development is the latest positive step for Broadway.
Earlier this month, local investors announced they plan to reopen the Joe Marty’s bar and restaurant on Broadway near the Tower Theatre.
And construction began in recent weeks on the first 258 homes at The Mill at Broadway, a planned community just off Broadway between Third and Fifth streets.
Call The Bee’s Bob Shallit, (916) 321-1017.