Appetizers
October 5, 2006
Guess Where Chris Webber Will Eat

In the fall, some people like to meander through mazes cut into stands of corn. A trip no less mysterious is to drive about Natomas. Even without putting a tire onto the labyrinth otherwise known as the parking lot at Arco Arena, the drive is circuitous and frustrating, though I suppose some might find it fun.

I returned to the neighborhood yesterday evening in search of the restaurant for which former Kings power forward Chris Webber broke ground way back in January. I found a whole bunch of buildings nearing completion, several of which looked as if they could house Center Court with C-Webb, Webber's restaurant, but fencing and a perplexing array of street numbers on and about North Freeway Boulevard - now there's an imaginatively named street - kept me from zeroing in on which one is to house the place.

I'll just have to take Erin Smith's word that it will be at 3600 N. Freeway Blvd., and that it will open in mid-November. She's the executive assistant to Jeff Dudum, CEO of Dudum Sports & Entertainment, the Walnut Creek company with which Webber has teamed up to open the restaurant.

"We're hoping he'll be in attendance for the grand opening," says Smith. The Philadelphia 76ers, for whom Webber now plays, won't visit Arco Arena to challenge the Kings until late December, though they will be in the West for games with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers in mid-November, making a stopover in Sacramento for a ribbon cutting at the restaurant relatively easy for Webber. Restaurants, however, rarely open on their projected timetable.

The menu for Center Court with C-Webb still is being developed, though it's expected to be similar to the "family friendly" menu for McCovey's Restaurant in Walnut Creek, says Smith. McCovey's, also developed by Dudum, and named for Willie McCovey, former star with the San Francisco Giants among other teams, features a contemporary American menu with several Mediterranean, Asian and Latin touches. Entrees, for example, range from meatloaf to fish tacos, grilled honey-glazed pork chops to fried chicken. Center Court with C-Webb, however, also will have several dishes of the kinds of food Webber grew up eating and continues to enjoy, says Smith, though those still are being drawn up.

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