Appetizers
September 24, 2008
Corti Brothers, The Movable Feast

Sacramento culinarians can stop fretting about whether they will be able to buy their Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas panettone and even Easter ham at Corti Brothers, East Sacramento's longtime one-stop gourmet market.

For their Fourth of July hot dogs, however, they may or may not be able to get their picnic provisions at 59th Street and Folsom Boulevard.

In a bittersweet fall sequel to a drama that played out through the summer concerning the future of Corti Brothers, four major actors in the play confirmed today that Corti Brothers will remain where it's been since 1970, but not beyond next May 31.

A four-paragraph "publicity statement" by Sacramento attorney John M. Poswall, representing owners Darrell Corti and Allan Darrah of Corti Brothers, says little more than that an agreement has been reached for "an orderly move to a new location."

"It is expected Corti Brothers will occupy the current site through May 31, 2009, while they locate a new site in the area," says the statement.

Corti says he has no idea where the new store will be, but that he has retained a leasing agent to scout the community for potential settings.

Beyond that, he and other principals to the issue were largely mum, though in the prepared statement Corti pointedly praised his landlord, Nancy Cleavinger, for her "long-term support of our family-owned business."

Corti also thanked Michael Teel and his family for their "understanding" during the controversy and wished them "every success in the unique food concept they will bring to Sacramento."

The future of Corti Brothers became uncertain in July when Corti announced that the store would close this fall because Teel had leased the quarters for a branch of his proposed group of gourmet grocery stores, Good Eats.

But earlier this month, on the eve of a rally to protest the takeover, Teel said he was abandoning plans to occupy the premises.

The future of Corti Brothers remained uncertain, however, because Teel had signed a lease for the building and needed to renegotiate the deal before he could walk away from it.

"Yesterday, I signed documents to release me from my lease obligatons. I'm totally out of that project," said Teel today.

That doesn't mean, however, that another lease for a Good Eats at the Corti Brothers couldn't be drawn up, and Teel sounded amenable to that possibility.

When asked whether he might be interested in the Corti Brothers site after May 31, Teel said, "Yeah, if it's free and clear, vacant, and there's no deal with anyone else."

(Teel also said that the first Good Eats, which he originally had hoped to open this holiday season in Folsom Boulevard quarters formerly occupied by the restaurant Andiamo, won't be ready before April. The Andiamo site, said Teel, is intended to be primarily the kitchen to prepare foods to be stocked by the Good Eats stores, but without other sites ready to accept the dishes he isn't in a hurry to open the place. He also said he has a second Good Eats location "in the pipeline" but declined to be more specific other than to say it would be in midtown.)

Sacramento attorney William Roscoe, representing Nancy Cleavinger, who owns the building occupied by Corti Brothers, declined to comment on the Poswall document or to speculate on the future of the property. "I can't give you any further answers," said Roscoe. "Peace for the moment has been achieved. I'm not going to make any comment on what happens May 31."

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