May 6, 2008
In Old Sac, The Grill's Turned Off

After 35 years, a landmark restaurant site in Old Sacramento is dark. The Fat family has closed California Fat's Asian Grill & Steakhouse, which originally opened in 1973 as China Camp.

"It was a combination of things. Number one, the economy. Secondly, there's more competition in Sacramento and the suburbs," says Jerry Fat, chief financial officer for the Fat family's group of restaurants. "California Fat's had been on a marginal basis the past year and a half or so. We're all down as more restaurants come into Sacramento, so it seemed the prudent thing to do."

Old Sacramento is busy weekends and for special events, such as during the Jazz Jubilee over Memorial Day weekend, but on weekdays local residents tend to stay away, adds Fat.

The California Fat's space now is being used for events like receptions and banquets. The family is looking at its options for the building, but it isn't likely to again house a restaurant, indicates Fat.

This hasn't been an especially auspicious year for the Fat family's restaurant interests. The family also owns the building along Alta Arden Expressway that housed Romano's Macaroni Grill, which closed in late March, about the same time the Fats were shutting down California Fat's. On the up side, the lease for the building has another two years to run, and Brinker International, the parent company of Romano's Macaroni Grill, continues to pay rent, says Fat.

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