Editor's note: This story was updated at 11 a.m. May 8 with information from restaurant consultant Andy Soto and customer Donelle O'Brien. Lounge on 20, which combined high-end dining with a lounge feel in Midtown’s MARRS Building at 20th and K streets, took a step back from the more complex menu items as the top chefs left the business last week in a move owner Ali Mackani said was due to the economy. The business will move back toward its roots as a lounge with more mainstream fare, said Pajo Bruich, former executive chef. Mackani said he, Bruich and Sous Chef Mike Ward collectively made the decision, and neither is with the company any longer, though he stressed they weren’t fired.
Midtown Business Association Executive Director Elizabeth Studebaker said she is hopeful that the organization will be able to renew its status as a property and business improvement district in July. That status comes at an annual cost to local property and business owners – totalling $633,000 for the district – that is similar to an added property tax. In return, the MBA provides numerous services, such as graffiti removal, trash cleanup, private security patrols and marketing. If the assessment renewal is not passed, those services will not be funded, and the MBA will revert to being a much smaller organization able to do minimal marketing and advocate for the district at City Council
The primarily yoga-focused Lululemon Athletica clothing company opened a showroom Friday in the MARRS Building at 20th and J streets, a space vacated by Newsbeat last year. Showroom Manager Victoria Tanforan, 24, said that the showroom is designed to be a temporary space with a retail area to introduce Lululemon’s attire to the local market. If it garners enough interest, she said, a full retail store could be forthcoming. “We’re a company that specializes in high-quality yoga and running wear,” Tanforan said. “We are all about becoming a part of the community we’re in, and we have free classes every week.” The Lululemon showroom will work with 10 athletic ambassadors, which range from
The Sacramento Comedy Spot’s lease for the MARRS Building at 20th and J streets is up in September, and owner Brian Crall said he wants to stay in the building, but that might not be possible if the rent is raised. The comedy club has been in the MARRS Building for two years, and Crall said the business has done well there, looking to expand to having shows seven nights per week as well as beginning to offer beer, but the expiration of the lease might mean being “priced out” of the building. “(Building owner Michael Heller) is a good guy, and he gave us an opportunity to be in Midtown,” Crall said. “We want to stay here, but he is in business too, and we get that.” Crall said that “nobo
Some scenes from Midtown's Modern Art Festival: For article about the art festival, CLICK HERE>>>
A myriad of local artists and hundreds of community members gathered in the street Saturday to celebrate art in multiple forms for the first Midtown Modern Arts Festival. The free, family-friendly street festival was held on 20th Street between J and K streets and featured six hours of music, dance, comedy, visual and performing arts and creative, hands-on activities for kids. The festival was run largely in part to the multitude of volunteers willing to give their time to put the event together, and neither the attendees nor vendors were charged to attend. “This is one way for use to give back to the community — bringing art organizations, artists and businesses together,” said Heather
A man known as “Mr. Midtown” and the unofficial “Mayor of Midtown” was remembered Wednesday night a year after his death at the MARRS building in Midtown, where a sculpture in his honor was erected. Friends and family of Andy Ekstrom gathered at one of the projects he helped develop – Lounge on 20, on 20th Street between J and K streets – and dedicated the abstract sculpture that artist Marc Foster said he hopes will serve as a touchstone for those who knew Ekstrom. Alex Sioukas was a friend of Ekstrom’s since middle school, and he said that a few days or weeks after Ekstrom’s death last year, a close-knit group of friends decided they wanted to do something to remember him by. “We want
Less than a year after moving from his location on Broadway to 20th and J streets, Brian Crall said his Sacramento Comedy Spot business is booming. “We’re showing record numbers each month,” he said, adding that performances used to be three nights per week and have now increased to six nights per week. “We have tons of stuff going on,” Crall said. “There’s lots of comedy right now.” The comedy at the Sacramento Comedy Spot is largely improv, and Crall said he is scheduling new shows and continuing to produce the ones that have been popular. One of those shows is “In Your Facebook” – performed at 9 p.m. every Thursday – in which a volunteer audience member logs in to his or her Faceboo
Sacramento Police said Monday that gang violence led to a fatal shooting within a crowd gathered outside a Midtown bar after a Second Saturday Art Walk. Police presence was stepped up Saturday, and for the first time, officers enforced the 10 p.m. curfew for minors, which coincides with the art event's official closing time. But the killing early Sunday has pressed city and business leaders to find additional ways to address growing concerns rather than end the popular event. On Saturday, 20 Sacramento police officers and at least eight undercover officers from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control worked to combat underage drinking and public partying or "tailgating,"
Andy Ekstrom's family and friends will be holding a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the MARRS Building, 1050 20th St. His family asks that in lieu of flowers, friends make donations to a foundation that will be set up in Andy's name. More details will be available soon.
Andy Ekstrom's Facebook profile includes his favorite quote: "If everyone likes you, you aren't doing your job. However, if no one likes you, you can't do your job." Sounds good, even wise. But in fact, nearly everyone seemed to like Andy. So as the news of his death at the age of 35 circulated Tuesday afternoon and evening, the outpouring of emotion through Facebook, texts and Twitters soon became a flood. Ekstrom, who worked as a project manager for Heller Pacific, was instrumental in launching and filling developer Mike Heller, Jr.'s game-changing MARRS building on 20th Street between J and K, and his two-building Retro Lodge complex downtown at 11th and H. Ekstrom was a constant pre
It's time to stock up on Binaca and cherry lip balm. Spit will be swapped and tongues may get tied at Sacramento Comedy Spot's upcoming stunt "Operation: Biggest Make Out Ever." The event will take place during Second Saturday in front of the MARRS Building on 20th Street between J and K. Couples, strangers, and friends with benefits are invited to gather around a giant white 'X' which will be painted in the middle of the street at 8 p.m. Then a love song will initiate the slobberfest. As the music begins, participants will embrace a partner and kiss for the duration of the song. The crowd is asked to treat the event like an unexpected flash-mob by not puckering up prior to the mu
Midtown's MARRS Building has a full house again with three new tenants coming on board this month. Two spaces have been vacant for several months after business owners left without a word and without paying all their bills — which really hurts after the effort the company made to help them be successful, said building owner Michael Heller of Heller Pacific. "We help these tenants. We help them get their permits, we help with their construction, we market them," he said. "So when they don't honor their obligations, it's hurtful to us." New tenants in the block-long building, whose renovation was completed in 2007, include a shop that sells jeans, a sandwich shop and a comedy club. All th
The recent closing of his DV8 Boutique in Midtown was rough. But Michael Afshar doesn't have time to dwell on that. He's too busy DJ'ing his way through Europe right now. Considered by some to be a pioneer of San Francisco's underground house scene, Afshar — who entertains under the name DJ Skittles — is in St. Petersburg, Russia, after gigs in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Soon, he'll be spinning tech and electro house music in Moscow and Ukraine. "I have been playing in different countries every week now," he e-mailed in between gigs. "I had played in many venues in the world in the past. This is me going back to one of the things I love the most: music and flying in airplanes." The former