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Daily Dining News: Azukar Moving to Natomas, Replaced by Purgatory


I never understood the concept of Azukar. At times, it was a night club. At other times, it was an all you can eat sushi restaurant. Maybe it was both simultaneously. Regardless, it closed at its location at 1616 J St. (across from Lucca) at the end of April and will reopen soon in the Bel Air Shopping Center at the corner of El Camino and Truxel.

What's exciting is what's replacing it - Purgatory. The new restaurant, owned by restaurant newcomer Don Dunakin, will be a fine dining establishment, says Andy Soto, a restaurant consultant who has been brought in to help bring the restaurant online. The restaurant hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer.

At the front of the venue is a space for guests to drink wine and coffee, with the fine dining restaurant behind it. Downstairs will be a club, which Soto says will bring the type of experience one would expect to see in New York, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The club will seek an upscale clientele, with no jeans, sneakers or baseball caps allowed.

There's "no shortage of people who enjoy fine food in Sacramento," says Soto. While an executive chef has yet to be hired, the owner has "spared no expense" in his effort to make Purgatory a "dining destination" that aims to compete with the likes of Ella and The Firehouse.

Soto and his consulting company, Spectrum Restaurant Consulting, have previously done work for a number of restaurants, including Sugar Plum Vegan, Green Boheme and Sam's Kosher Style Restaurant & Deli.

Purgatory is currently hiring. For more information, see their Craigslist listing.

Update: Soto e-mails to add that the restaurant is in the final stages of escrow.

More News:

Bacon and Butter now open - Bacon and Butter, Midtown’s newest breakfast, lunch and brunch restaurant, opened on Sunday, and Chef Billy Zoellin said Tuesday that the first day was a learning experience, but the restaurant is now running smoothly. “Our most popular dish has been the biscuits and gravy,” he said, adding that all of the food options are his own creations and the focus is on freshness. “We take the classics and give them a whimsical twist,” he added. Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

Chef Proves You Can Go Home Again - After working at a series of high-profile jobs in Hawaii, New Zealand and San Francisco, Sacramento chef Michael Thiemann is back in town. The 37-year-old recently left a gig running the kitchen at celebrity chef Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco to sign on as executive chef at Randall Selland’s Ella Dining Room & Bar. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

Sacramento-area Chevys add tabletop touch screens - Union City-based Chevys Fresh Mex is rolling out a digital media system that enables customers to hook up with entertainment and manage restaurant service at their tables. The Ziosk Digital Media Network, created by Dallas-based TableTop Media, is being installed this month in Sacramento Chevys outlets. Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

Showtime and mealtime - My predecessor, Bob Shallit, told you back in March that a Mel's Diner would replace the nation's last Lyon's restaurant at 30th and J streets in late May. "Late" officially begins [Tuesday], when Mel's opens its doors seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee. (Last Item.)

Taco Bell: Beefy Nacho Burrito lands on menu May 23 - The Beefy Nacho Burrito by Taco Bell lands on menus later this week.    The 99-cent burrito is stuffed with seasoned beef, nacho cheese, sour cream and the chain’s new “Queso Strips.” Nancy Luna in the Orange County Register.


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