Mason’s New American Restaurant, the high dining that gave Downtown Sacramento a "big city" feel, will be closing its doors Feb. 15 to renovate and reopen as Cafeteria 15L.
Co-owner of Mason’s, Mason Wong, said that Cafeteria 15L will feature American comfort cuisine, what he sees as the next big trend in the food industry.
Public relations manager Jennifer Bulotti said Wong has watched the development of the comfort food trend as it has grown in cities like San Francisco, New York, Portland and many others.
"He’s seen this as a trend that appeals to a lot of people, and the draw toward comfort food dining is working in other similar cities," Bulotti said.
The decision to transform Mason’s from fine dining to comfort food was also a way to make the restaurant more affordable for its guests.
Though Mason’s itself only opened its doors in the fall of 2005, the renovation will give the restaurant a whole new look with a menu that will add a twist to traditional home-cooked favorites.
Cafeteria 15L will be a full-table service restaurant featuring new but familiar dishes like meatloaf, pot pie, battered fried chicken and many other entrees.
When asking how they came up with the name Cafeteria 15L, Wong confirmed that the use of 15L stands for the cross streets 15th and L where the restaurant is located. Cafeteria on the other hand needed some explaining.
"Cafeteria was the perfect name," Wong said. "It’s a connotation for the type of food people had growing up – fun and casual."
The name also reflects the restaurant’s new ambiance.
"Cafeteria 15L will have a new urban and rustic atmosphere that will be much more casual, fun and social," Wong said.
The new restaurant will have an eclectic mismatch of chairs, stools and bucket seats, wooden tables with metal frames and big warehouse lights that will give an urban flavor, he said. The most interesting new feature will be a large model airplane placed within the restaurant.
"It adds a signature, fun, whimsical feature to the space and is reminiscent of growing up," Bulotti said. "Think of model airplanes as a kid."
The capacity of the restaurant will change, expanding from 85 to about 175 seats. This includes more outside seating and large communal tables.
"Communal seating has worked well at Ma Jong’s and customers seem to like the casual environment it creates," Bulotti said.
The new menu and atmosphere will also make the restaurant more family – and kid-friendly as well.
"We are creating an environment to appeal to all ages, but will be particularly unique in that we will offer late-night dining until 2," Bulotti said.
The current chef and waiting staff will not be affected by the changes to the restaurant, and employees at Mason’s will be asked back to work at Cafeteria 15L.
Though Mason’s is in for a big renovation to capture the urban feel sought for Cafeteria 15L, Wong didn’t seem worried.
"The whole place will feel quite a bit different," Wong said. "I’m pretty excited. The restaurant will be very unique to Sacramento in the spec of atmosphere and food."
Mason’s will be open until Feb. 15 to allow for their Valentine’s Day menu before it is closes.
The restaurant will be closed for about 30 days before its reopening in mid-May March.
Once open, Cafeteria 15L will hold its grand opening on April 6.
The grand opening will benefit Hope Productions Foundation. The reception will take place from 6 to 7 p.m., with live music beginning at 7.
Tickets will be $45 in advance and $55 at the door.