In her latest interview with Sactown Mag, Blackbird Chef Carina Lampkin claims that it was her step father and not her who laid off the staff of Blackbird via e-mail.
“On Monday [when the restaurant was normally closed], my parents called me up and they said, ‘We think the restaurant should close,’’ explained Lampkin. “I said ‘When?’ They said, ‘Tomorrow.’ My response was, ‘We can’t do that. We have too many people depending on us.’”
But Thacker had composed an email to send to the staff, telling Lampkin that he was signing her name (in addition to his and her mother's, he says), and would soon after meet with them personally, cutting them checks as severance pay. Lampkin said she felt helpless. “I was treated like an employee, and I was also fired,” she said. “I had no power. I didn’t speak out because I was asked not to, and I was also in so much pain that I just couldn’t. At that point, I had no fight in me. I felt like a part of me had just died.”
Read Rob Turner's entire story in Sactown Mag.
I'm not sure I buy the revisionist history. She could very much be using him as a scapegoat now that the heat is on and she's trying to launch a new restaurant. I guess there's no way ever to know for sure.
In the end, if her restaurant is great, this will be a footnote in the launch story of an eventual Sacramento institution. But if the restaurant's not great, people may be less willing to give her the benefit of the doubt given what we know of her or her step father's actions at the end of the last iteration of Blackbird.
I guess time and our taste buds will tell.
Service and a ‘sense of urgency’ define Nick Dedier, owner of Aji Japanese Bistro - Now Dedier, an Elk Grove native, has returned to the Sacramento area, launching Aji Japanese Bistro in December, his first ownership project. He’s joined by Russell Okubo, former executive chef of Fat’s Family Restaurants and The Firehouse. Their relationship goes back two decades, when Dedier was a high school kid earning his first paychecks. They’re banking on Aji’s menu of Asian street foods, sushi and Japanese-inspired dishes to connect with diners in an increasingly competitive culinary scene. Dedier hopes to instill some Thomas Keller-isms of high attention to detail and grace under the pressure of nightly service. He knows Sacramento doesn’t yet have the same kind of service talent pool as the Napa Valley or other food-centric cities. But as Aji’s tables continue to fill with diners on this recent night, Dedier remains undeterred. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.
Federalist Public House (and beer garden) moving along - The owner of the proposed Federalist Public House, located at 2009 N St., submitted building permits as part of an expedited schedule. The project already has received its conditional design approval. “We’re definitely on target for a summer opening,” said local building designer and restaurateur Marvin Maldonado, who hopes for a soft opening Memorial Day weekend. “We’re moving right along.” Debbie Arrington in the Sac Bee.
New Firehouse Subs Opens Thursday in Natomas - The new Firehouse Subs restaurant in Natomas is scheduled to open this week. The Natomas Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday at the new eatery and chamber members were served lunch as a training exercise for restaurant workers. On Natomas Buzz.
How Der Biergarten fits in midtown - As I stood across the street, outside a Spanish-style building built in 1929 for a Mormon church and which now houses a massage-acupuncture-aromatherapy salon that serves chocolate, tea and tonic, my first impression was this: It looks like Der Biergarten's been at 24th and K streets all along. Ed Murrieta in Sac Biz Journal.
AUDIO: Live Line: Friday Food - Frank Fats - Gung Hey Fat Choy! It's been a Sacramento institution since 1939, the Frank Fat family of restaurants. Just in time for Chinese New Year, the Fat family is pulling out the best of its influences in Asian and American dining. On KFBK.