April 22, 2008
Bubble Time

Thirty Champagnes by the glass? What is Ali Mackani thinking? Big, again. Mackani, who in the fall of 2005 opened the electric Restaurant 55 Degrees along Capitol Mall, is close to launching his next ambitious project, Lounge on 20, where the beverage menu is to include 30 Champagnes by the glass.

Lounge on 20, which Mackani hopes to open in early June, and possibly as soon as late May, will occupy the southeast portion of the MARRS building at 20th and K in midtown Sacramento. MARRS - Midtown Art Retail Restaurant Scene - already is home to the Solomon Dubnick Gallery, restaurants Luigi's Slice and Azul, and shops DV8 and Newsbeat.

Lounge on 20 is to be a hybrid restaurant and wine bar where the focus will be on socialization. "If you know the Redroom Room of the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, that's the kind of interaction we want," says Mackani. The conviviality will be fueled by the Champagnes, an equally extensive list of wines by the glass, creative cocktails, community tables, and a New American menu whereby dishes can be ordered in three sizes - "a taste, a small plate or a shared tray for three or four people," says Mackani. "We want to promote socializing over food and drink."

The place will be big, seating up to 170 inside, another 80 on the deck. Mackani is being assisted in putting together Lounge on 20 by two key principals of Restaurant 55 Degrees, executive chef Luc Dendievel and manager Kassidy Harris. Mackani hopes to finalize the hiring of a chef de cuisine for the new place this week. The opening of Lounge on 20 will mean no change for Restaurant 55 Degrees, he adds.

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