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Business Journal: Old Sac, What Cheer, Chops, Checkers

Mark Anderson / Sacramento Business Journal

Chops Steak and Seafood Bar is closing after a 15-year run across the street from the state Capitol building.

Mark Anderson / Sacramento Business Journal

Fans of Sacramento's local restaurant scene got some bad news this week. The Sacramento Business Journal's Digital Editor Sonya Sorich says there were a couple of closures.

"Chops steakhouse, which is near the state Capitol, is closing after a 15-year run," says Sorich. "Also, Devine Bakery & Gelateria in East Sacramento closed after less than a year of business, although the owner's midtown location remains open."

Analysts say 15 years for a restaurant is a good run. Chops also closed a Folsom location last year.

Meanwhile, a chain restaurant popular in other parts of the country, including the South, is opening its first Sacramento area site. Checkers is planning to open in Citrus Heights. Sorich says the menu includes burgers, fries and chicken sandwiches among other things.

"The local restaurant will actually have no indoor seating," says Sorich. "Customers will order their food through a drive-thru or a walk-up window. And actually the new restaurant could arrive pretty quickly since it's using modular construction."

There's a new push to make Old Sacramento more inviting. Richard Rich - the city's riverfront project manager - gave a presentation to the City Council this week. Sorich says a Ferris wheel or observation tower are some of the bigger, ambitious ideas.

"But others might be a little easier to accomplish. That includes making the entryways to Old Sacramento more appealing with features such as a light show."

The price tag could potentially be between $10-$15 million. The city is expected to consider a more detailed plan at the end of summer.

Earlier this week, work crews began ripping out about 60-thousand square feet of uneven wooden planks that make up part of Old Sacramento's river walk. They're being replaced with stamped concrete to make the area more accessible.

Old Sacramento would have a lot more than restaurants, tourist souvenir shops and candy stores if some people with the City of Sacramento have their way. Sorich says the city's riverfront project manager wants to encourage more tech startups to come to Old Sac.

"We traditionally associate Old Sacramento with those ground floor retail spaces," says Sorich. "But there are also some office spaces upstairs and some people trying to transform the area say those spaces could be a good fit for tech startups. That could give the district a slightly different vibe."

Right now, available office space is relatively scarce for new tenants in Old Sac. Although for the first time in a quarter century, office space is available in Old Sacramento's What Cheer building at Front and K streets. 

Why is it called "What Cheer?" It's actually a greeting that goes back to the Gold Rush era. The original What Cheer building opened in 1853 as a hotel but later burned down.

 business journal

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio 

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