Appetizers
March 24, 2008
One-Block Restaurant Row

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With two new additions, the block of J Street between 27th and 28th in midtown Sacramento has been given over almost entirely to restaurants.

One newcomer is Peter Torza's I Dragoni Pizzeria, basically a bright expansion of his adjoining Gianni's Trattoria. I Dragoni is more casual, concentrating on pizzas, salads, sandwiches and coffee drinks, initially for a lunch and late-night clientele. The opening menu includes meatball, caprese, muffuletta, turkey and egg sandwiches, as well as pepperoni, mushroom and seafood pizzas. Torza chose the name I Dragoni because his initial design plan called for twin wood-burning pizza ovens that were to look like fire-breathing dragons. That plan, however, didn't pencil out financially. He's now planning to install a wood-burning oven in Gianni's to provide pizzas for both restaurants. I Dragoni, 2724 J St., is open initially for Italian-style breakfasts 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, and pizzas 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The phone is (916) 443-4000.

On the other side of Gianni's Trattoria, the American-theme restaurant G.V. Hurley's will have a "controlled opening" starting Thursday. Reservations will be required through the weekend as the staff adapts to the new facility, though it may be able to accommodate some walk-ins, says general manager Erick Johnson. The restaurant's opening menu runs to traditional and contemporary American cooking with a Southern accent. Shrimp will be served with grits and tasso ham, barbecued pulled pork will be accompanied with cornbread, spring rolls will be filled with smoked brisket, and the fried chicken will be grouped with roasted sweet potatoes and red-eyed gravy. Despite the throwback aspects of several dishes, executive chef David Hill's menu also has an environmental and health consciousness. He's using only natural meats and sustainably caught fish, and no ingredients with trans fats. Starting next Monday, G.V. Hurley's is to be open 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It's at 2718 J St.

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