Bee reader Sharon Dal Porto scooped up her coupons recently and drove over to California Fresh on Howe Avenue to get a discounted meal, but she found the door locked.
A sign on the door said the Sacramento restaurant, which replaced Fresh Choice in January 2013, had closed on Oct. 26. A disappointed Dal Porto called The Bee for information.
“When we were still going to the Fresh Choice owned by the original chain, toward the end, it was getting pretty sad in terms of the variety of food,” she said. “It was no great surprise when they went out of business. When the second owner took over, we were very pleased to see that there was a much better variety, and right up until the end, we enjoyed going there.”
David Boyd, the longtime president of Fresh Choice, told me in an email Monday that he hoped a new brand name and a commitment to organic produce would spur a revival in the all-you-can-eat-buffet concept, but the comeback didn’t work at the 535 Howe Ave. location.
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“Our sales did not keep pace with our overhead,” his email stated. “Our landlord had been very fair to us and had allowed us to remain open even after we fell behind on the rent. We were not being fair to him.”
Four California Fresh restaurants remain open in the Bay Area, but Boyd’s email didn’t sound optimistic about their future: “California Fresh is a casual dining concept that just simply fell behind the times and was never able to recover after the Great Recession.”
Call The Bee’s Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow her on Twitter @CathieA_SacBee.