Sacramento seafood restaurant abruptly closes, will be replaced by another brand eatery

The Texas-based owner of hundreds of restaurant properties executed a trade in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday.

Landry’s Inc., a national restaurant, hospitality, gaming and entertainment company headquartered in Houston, announced that its McCormick & Schmick’s seafood and steak restaurant in the landmark Elks Building at 1111 J St. had officially closed its doors Monday night and will be replaced this winter by another Landry’s-owned brand, Claim Jumper restaurant.

Landry’s ownership umbrella covers more than 40 well-known dining brands, including Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Morton’s The Steakhouse, Mastro’s Restaurants and Rainforest Cafe.

The new Sacramento restaurant will be Claim Jumper’s 41st overall.

Claim Jumper has a decidedly different vibe than McCormick & Schmick’s, which opened in 2007 with an $1.8 million assist from the city of Sacramento. The money was used to remodel the ground floor of the Elks Building into a dark-paneled space for McCormick & Schmick’s, where menu prices range from $16 for a hamburger to $50 for king crab legs. Claim Jumper, in contrast, offers large portions of comfort food, most priced at less than $20.

“We are delighted to open a new Claim Jumper in Sacramento,” said Chris Bruder, divisional vice president of Claim Jumper Restaurants. “California has historically been a fantastic market for Claim Jumper, and we look forward to introducing the Sacramento community and their families to our quality menu items and friendly customer service.”

There is a Claim Jumper restaurant in Roseville, at 250 N. Harding Blvd. Likewise, McCormick & Schmick’s still operates a restaurant in Roseville, in the Fountains at Roseville shopping complex.

The first Claim Jumper opened in Los Alamitos in 1977. Today, there are 23 Claim Jumpers throughout California.

McCormick & Schmick’s sudden closure took Sacramento lunch hour patrons by surprise on Tuesday. A sign posted on the door read: “Sorry for the inconvenience, but this restaurant is currently closed.”

Landry’s purchased the McCormick & Schmick’s brand in early 2012 and closed some outlets in the aftermath of that acquisition. The company offered no explanation for the change.

The departure of McCormick & Schmick’s is the latest in a string of recent restaurant closures in the central city. Just last week, Sacramento’s acclaimed Blackbird Kitchen and Bar, a few blocks from McCormick & Schmick’s, closed abruptly after a year in business.

The days before and after the Labor Day holiday weekend brought the closure of Hamburger Patties in midtown Sacramento and The Broiler, the downtown Sacramento steakhouse with roots dating back more than 60 years. In late May, the 4th Street Grille, a downtown Sacramento gathering spot for more than 20 years, closed its doors, though it has since been reopened by former employees as the Foundation Restaurant and Bar.

A random sampling of restaurateurs contacted by The Bee on Tuesday declined to speculate about the reasons behind the Claim Jumper-for-McCormick & Schmick’s move, but several speculated that it is a continuation of a “sorting out” process in downtown and midtown Sacramento.

In the past decade, many new restaurants and high-end bars have opened in the central city, a development that some local restaurateurs say has changed the demographics and dining habits of the lunchtime and evening dinner crowds and heightened competition for food dollars.