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Dining News: 5 Things I Learned About Blackbird Chef Carina Lampkin


Carina Lampkin, the chef and part owner of both the closed Blackbird Kitchen & Bar and the soon to reopen Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery, did a Q and A with Sactown Mag's Rob Turner. These are the 5 things I took away from that interview.

1. After the closing of the restaurant, Lampkin played Grand Theft Auto V for 10 days straight, and then meditated for the next 10 days. "For the first 10 days after the closure, I could barely move off the couch. I was just overeating and playing video games."

2. In retrospect, Lampkin believes the original Blackbird was more than she could handle. " I didn’t have the experience to back what we were doing, and I didn’t have the support either. The difference now is that I’m experienced. And not only that, I have a team with a lot of experience that is going to complement my weaknesses and vice versa."

3. The new Blackbird will open just like the old Blackbord closed - abruptly and without notice, although she says it'll be somewhere in mid-February. "Because of all the controversy and drama we created, we will be doing an unannounced opening. We’re going to open as mysteriously as we closed."

4. Lampkin says she was a "snob" during the last iteration of Blackbird, but this time, she'll also have poultry, pork and beef on the menu. "The food is going to be as elegant but more approachable. Part of the problem before was that I was being too much of a snob. I wanted to be a pure seafood restaurant."

5. The new Blackbird will have an expanded bar area (goodbye, unprofitable raw bar) and an extensive bar menu to help encourage casual dining. "So during the week, we’re going to add a killer bar menu that is available through happy hour and late in the evening. We didn’t have a bar menu before and I think that was just a huge mistake."

There are tons of other news tidbits from the story. Well worth the read if you have a couple minutes.

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

In a story on on Monday at noonish, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson harshly criticized Lampkin's PR strategy. I read it earlier in the day, and from memory, he took her to task for forgoing an opportunity to apologize to her former staff and customers and instead saing that she's "a brave-ass bitch to try to come back and make everybody eat crow."

I'm not sure what happened to the post. I saw Robertson's tweet about the story. @SacBee_News also tweeted it, but now its gone.


Per a Web cache, the post started:

Blackbird 1.0 gets national recognition, err, notoriety, then compounds the problem

The good news about the Sacramento dining scene is that it is getting more and more national attention. So what’s the bad news? When you get more and more national attention, people also want to dish some dirt. Which brings us to Eater, the closely watched food website. A friend shot me an email and a link over the weekend that just happened to include Eater’s “Food World Scandals 2013.” Yes, the piece is from late December, but in all the holiday commotion , I somehow missed it. A day earlier, a different friend emailed me a heads-up about an interview Blackbird's owner/chef Carina Lampkin gave to Sactown Magazine...

The rest of the post is lost to history. If I find out more about what happened, I'll let you know.

Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery is located at 1015 9th Street, or online at

More News:

Sacramento Bacon Fest wraps up, Lucca restaurant scores ‘best in show’ - The final bit of curing salt has been sprinkled, and many a belly left stuffed. Sacramento Bacon Fest 2014 is now in the books, with a week of pork-fueled merriment coming to a head on Sunday afternoon. Pig on the Corner, the banquet room adjacent to midtown’s Mulvaney’s B&L, played home to the hotly contested annual chef’s competition. 12 chefs went mano-a-mano with their best strips of bacon and bacon-themed dishes, while a sold-out crowd of 200 grubbed on bacon appetizers and small plates as DJ Shaun Slaughter kept the mix upbeat through all the feasting. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Adventure to find Sacramento’s best pho - The Vietnamese soup is so popular, there's even a local ’Pho Nazi.' Our writer goes good-pho hunting to discover the region's best bowl. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Love Letter: Pho Saigon’s Pho - I’ve been thinking about their pho because the News and Review had an excellent cover story by Jonathan Mendick about pho last week. The article had background information about the preparation of pho, and it also had the author’s ranking of the top ten bowls. But wait, where is Pho Saigon on this list? Nowhere to be found. I won’t dispute any of the rest of the list – although I could. I’ll just tell you why I think Pho Saigon’s is the best. Becky Gruenwald in Sac Foodways.

Moe's Southwest Grill chooses Sacramento for California debut - Moe's Southwest Grill, a fast-growing taco and burrito restaurant chain based in Atlanta, has targeted Sacramento and Santa Cruz as growth markets to open its first California restaurants. Moe’s makes southwest fare and it markets its use of grass-fed sirloin steak, natural chicken breast, grain-fed pulled pork and organic tofu. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

VIDEO: Sacramento patio transforms into a German-style Biergarten - Sean Derfield opens "Der Biergarten," a German-style, dog-friendly outdoor bar in midtown Sacramento. On KCRA.


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