June 11, 2009
OneSpeed goes full speed on opening night

OneSpeed opened with a bang Wednesday night as East Sacramento neighbors and Waterboy aficionados alike converged on Folsom Boulevard and 48th Street. Tables were packed throughout the night and the attractive new neighborhood pizzeria with the artisan touch drew rave reviews from diners.

Rick Mahan, the owner and chef at the acclaimed Waterboy restaurant in midtown, has spent months - and lots of money - to get OneSpeed rolling. A bicycle devotee and the owner of 8 bikes (and counting), Mahan wants to celebrate cycling as a way of life at his new pizza place, thus the name.

The orders flew into the open kitchen at a frenzied pace, as servers and cooks and bussers zig-zagged each other all night. And there was Mahan, dressed in shorts and sporting the chiseled calves of a cyclist (I can talk about a chef's calves, can't I?), running the show and offering encouragement to his staff, which included four servers, two bartenders, two bussers, two managers and seven cooks. They didn't get out of there until 11 p.m. From the looks of the happy crowd, OneSpeed could have stayed open half the night.

"I was so pleased with my staff. It was easily the best opening I've ever been involved with," Mahan told me when I caught up with him by phone the next day.

It had to be overwhelming. Mahan and crew were expecting 100 diners. They got 200-plus, including yours truly, who thoroughly enjoyed the thin-crust pizza that comes out of the oven in about two minutes, the perfectly cooked salmon, and the buttery gnocchi. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the cherry tart, which was very simple but absolutely delicious.

In the spirit of OneSpeed and Mahan's celebration of the bike, we rode our one-speed bikes to the restaurant for opening night. Alas, the bike racks haven't arrived yet, so we locked our rigs to a signpost across Folsom Boulevard. Mahan's bike rack is going to consist of several reclaimed old bike frames welded together.

Referring to the big night, Mahan drew a deep breath and said with a laugh, "I'm pleased because I've never owed so much money in my life."

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