Tuli Bistro owners to open new downtown spot

Tuli Bistro owners hope 13 is a lucky number as they prepare to open a new eatery, RESTAURANT THIR13EN, at 13th and H streets.

Chef Adam Pechal said the new restaurant – slated to open around March 13 – will stick to the same core concepts as Tuli Bistro, but with more of a fine-dining atmosphere, minus the stigma.

The space is on the bottom floor of the Sterling Hotel at 1300 H St., where the restaurant Chanterelle was until it closed last January. Catering events will be held in the hotel ballroom, seating up to 200.

“It’s kind of a big growing process for us,” Pechal said. “We’re getting a lot of things we don’t have at Tuli.”

Tuli Bistro has already been catering events at the Sterling Hotel ballroom since October, he said, and the catering business was one of the driving forces behind the new restaurant’s opening.

“Our catering is growing,” Pechal said. “We needed a space that is dedicated for it, since we didn’t want to say no (to catering business). It’s also a natural progression of what we’re trying to do in taking our food to the next level.”

Tuli Bistro, at 2031 S St., will stay open and continue to run as it has since it opened three years ago.

While customers will notice the full bar and six beers on tap in the new space, there are some behind-the-scenes features that Tuli doesn’t have as well.

Pechal said he is excited for a walk-in refrigerator, which will allow for better storage of food and beer kegs for the taps. He said he is also looking forward to using very technical equipment to cook “sous vide.”

“It allows you to cook things slower and longer at a lower temperature and just get these amazing results when it comes to braising and things like that,” he said.

He said that cooking sous vide will give him the opportunity to cook items such as short ribs more precisely, which allows them to be medium rare in the middle – something he said isn’t possible with other methods.

“You have a lot more control, and it’s something I find very intriguing,” he said.

Prices will be in the high teens to mid-20s, Pechal said, with some premium items such as lamb chops being a little higher.

Staff will be knowledgeable when it comes to wine pairings for the food as well, Pechal said.

Tables likely won’t be covered in white linen tablecloths, as Pechal said he is hoping to use high-quality tables that don’t need to be covered.

“It’s fine dining in the quality of service and food,” he said.

He added that the restaurant will be different from Tuli Bistro in that the presentation will be more refined.

“At Tuli, we sort of cook from the hip, and it’s more rustic,” he said.

A focal point for the interior of the restaurant is a communal table, which Pechal said will seat 13 people.

“You’ll walk up and seat yourself,” he said. “It’s good for twos and threes and single diners to come in and just join a community table. You quickly make friends and get to know people.”

The table will separate the bar area from the dining room.

Operations Manager Johnny Shin said the interior restaurant space is about 900 square feet and will be able to seat 40 – 50 patrons, while a patio – which will be covered and heated for year-round usage – will add another 800 square feet of dining space and abut 60 seats.

“We have gotten some successful catering out of the location already,” said Sandford Wragg, assistant manager of Tuli Bistro and wine buyer for both locations.

He added that the new space has just passed the last round of inspections, and the business is set to open March 13.

When it comes to wines, Wragg said the focus will be on more California labels.

“The clientele we’re looking at is Capitol Mall and government people with real ties to California,” he said.

The restaurant has not hired staff, and Pechal said he will be holding something of a job fair in the coming weeks, and information will be posted on the Tuli Bistro Facebook page.

Final opening hours have yet to be determined, but Shin said it will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and for dinner on the weekends, but possibly for lunch as well.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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