April 11, 2007
A Pause in the Mariachi Music

EK CENTROS3235.JPGAs it nears 13, Centro Cocina Mexicana is about to get nipped and tucked. The pinata-bright restaurant at 28th and J will close Tuesday for the makeover, but it's expected to reopen about a week later, and certainly in time for its yearly Cinco de Mayo bash.

A branch of the Paragary Restaurant Group, Centro will be even sunnier as new colors are introduced, booths are reupholstered, tabletops are refinished and the backbar is restyled, says Sacramento restaurant designer Bruce Benning. More Mexican folk art is to be added, and the restaurant's signature antique motorcycles will be retained, though displayed differently.

All well and good, but will the acoustics be improved, given that Centro is one of the region's noisier restaurants? "Not really," says Benning. "We're adding some materials to soften things a bit, but because of the layout and the fact that we want a vibrant atmosphere it will be about the same. It's tough to get away from that (noise) with the bar in its location." The frequently congested bar parallels the front dining room, and the quick remodel doesn't call for a change in the floorplan. Kurt Spataro, executive chef for Centro and other Paragary restaurants, notes that a large decorative piece is to be installed between bar and dining area; perhaps that will block some of the noise. Spataro also mentioned that while he is tinkering with Centro's regional Mexican menu, it will remain largely unchanged.

Blue Cue, the pool room and lounge above Centro, will undergo a facelift of its own about three weeks after the Centro update. "Blue Cue finally is going to be blue," says Benning of the color scheme he's come up with for the bar.

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