Spent part of the Memorial Day weekend sticking my head into construction sites, peering through shadow and dust to find three restaurants taking shape:
- Progress is slow on the midtown Sacramento branch of Folsom's Chicago Fire Pizza, but it is progress. The original timetable called for a summer opening, but now the debut is looking more like this fall, said a construction worker. The size of the place could have something to do with the slow progress; it's huge. The pizza emporium will occupy a handsome brick building along the south side of J Street just west of 25th Street. A bar will be way over on one side, the dining area on the other, with a dedicated takeout area inbetween, said the construction worker. In Folsom, Chicago Fire has developed an avid following for pizzas of quality and value. The midtown pizza scene is expanding, but Chicago Fire, when it finally joins the party, could overnight become the biggest player.
- At Blue Oaks Marketplace in Rocklin, Anatolian Table will help correct the region's lack of Turkish restaurants. According to the extensive menu already posted on a front window, all the usual Turkish delights - kebabs of various persuasions, lentil soup, hummus and so forth - will be served. Look for a mid-June opening, said a construction worker.
- The old Shanghai Restaurant and Bar in Auburn's downtown historic district is being ambitiously done over into the brewpub Auburn Alehouse. The brewing tanks are in, along with a centerpiece iconic sculpture, but several finishing touches remain on the bar on one side, booths on the other. Again, a menu has been posted in the front window. Look for all the staples of the modern brewpub - pizzas, burgers, tacos - plus a few upscale surprises, such as jambalaya and rib-eye steak. When? Mid-June or thereabouts, to judge by the work that remains.