Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, the downtown seafood restaurant, popular happy-hour spot and occasional center for neighborhood activism, has closed.
The restaurant’s staff received little notice. The owners sent on an email late Monday afternoon saying that Blackbird, at 1015 9th St., would not open that Tuesday as it was "closing permanently effective immediately."
Blackbird opened in March of 2012 with a staff of 22. Chef Carina Lampkin was the spokeswoman and creative force, along with her culinary collaborator chef Kevin O’Connor.
The Sacramento Bee’s restaurant critic, Blair Anthony Robertson, reviewed Blackbird in September of 2012, writing that while the restaurant still had problems to work out, it had potential.
"Blackbird isn’t a great restaurant yet," he wrote. "There are still those chaotic, clunky moments in our recent memory to contend with. But with its sophisticated approach to food, potentially first-rate service and its quirky and creative leadership, Blackbird seems on track to be something truly special."
In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Robertson took issue with the way Blackbird laid off its staff.
When U close your restaurant, employees deserve better than a "mass email." Here’s what I have on Blackbird so far: http://t.co/JPVuN6guvP
— Blair A. Robertson (@Blarob)
October 1, 2013
John Thatcher, a co-owner, explained the decision in an interview with Sac Press:
Lampkin used her position at Blackbird to agitate for improvements on the west end of K Street, and helped organize an informal group of supporters called Turn Downtown Around. In March, TDA organized a successful fundraiser for the now complete mural project on Eighth and K streets.
Lampkin was not available for comment at time of publication. She, along with two other owners, was one of the signees on the email announcing the closure on Monday. It concluded with a thank you to staff.
"We wish to offer our sincere thanks for your efforts to make Blackbird viable under some challenging circumstances and will retain many fond memories of this effort, and of you. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and are comforted in the knowledge that there is much success and happiness in your futures. Thank you again for everything."
Editor’s note: This is a breaking news article. We will update it as more information becomes available.