Restaurateur Randy Paragary is updating the look of his Cafe Bernardo location in Davis, celebrating the 10th anniversary of his R15 restaurant of the same name in midtown Sacramento, closing his Cafe Bernardo on K Street in downtown Sacramento and selling that building off just as events are gearing up at the nearby Golden 1 Center.
OK, you might not think that the last two items in that series quite fit, but they do if you are Paragary. He loves to host his own parties and to run the places where Sacramento loves to party, but any restaurant manager who’s worked with him will tell you that he never loses sight of the fact that he’s running a business. The sale of the downtown Cafe Bernardo and its accompanying KBar was a hardheaded business move.
“As far as timing goes … you know I want to do this hotel development at 20th and Capitol,” he told me. “I don’t mind giving up a location when the deal is right, and I felt good about this deal. It takes a little bit off my plate and requires a little less time and attention. It allows me to spend more time and attention on the development of the hotel.”
Paragary explained that he learned from his restaurant equipment supplier that a Bennigan’s franchisee, Calben Inc., was looking for space near the arena, and he decided to open a conversation with Calben partners Maninder Trewn, Ravinder Trewn and Khem Babbar. The Paragary Restaurant Group will continue to operate KBar and Cafe Bernardo through the end of 2016. Calben has applied for a transfer of liquor license and for building permits, and it hopes to open up service in January 2017.
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“I’m at the stage of my career where I’m winding down,” Paragary, 69, told me. “I guess you’d call it winding down, even though I’m doing this hotel. … I have nine restaurants. Now I’m going to have eight.”
He said the Trewns and Babbar asked him for permission to interview and hire employees currently working at the site, but that if they don’t hire them, he added, his company has the capacity to absorb the employees into its operation.
Birkenstock bigger in midtown: Retailers Frank and Toni Budworth told me their Birkenstock midtown store had outgrown its confines at 2500 J St. Still, they might not have moved to larger digs a block and a half up the street if their former home hadn’t been slated to be torn down as part of a plan for a 14-story, mixed-use building called Yamanee.
The Budworths moved their business to 2612 J St. on Oct. 1 and celebrated the new store last weekend with Birkenstock CEO David Kahan. Toni Budworth told me she and her husband are celebrating 30 years in the shoe business this year. They started with a small shoe store in Stockton in 1986 and expanded to Sacramento, opening the capital’s first Birkenstock store. Of course, they sell about 20 other brands of shoes, plus socks, handbags, jewelry and other accessories.
The couple’s initial, 1,100-square-foot store in Sacramento sat where The Coconut restaurant now operates. They moved into 1,950 square feet at 2500 J St. a few years later and sold their Stockton shop to their longtime store manager. That location, however, closed in the latest recession. Toni told me that the Sacramento store still saw sales grow during that period.
“We started by showing Bruce a video of one of our busiest days in the store, and his eyes popped out a bit,” Toni said. “He said, ‘…We need to have room to have more intimate conversations with customers. We need to have little islands and areas where people can chat and not feel like they’re lost in the void of a big store.’ I think he’s accomplished that for us.”