The phrase "exciting restaurant news" and "Natomas" don't often appear in the same place, and that's too bad. No, the land of franchise eateries has had little to cheer about in the way of dynamic, locally owned food choices.
But that just might be changing, thanks to a new venture that pairs two of this region's most creative and ambitious chefs - Aimel Formoli (Formoli's Bistro) and Billy Ngo (Kru, and the recently closed Red Lotus) - to bring a new food experience to Natomas. I admire the work of both chefs, so I'm anticipating big things -- and ready to fire up Google Earth to chart out a decent bike route from downtown so we can visit soon!
I chatted with Formoli last night about plans for Pork Belly Grub Shack, which is expected to open in about a week. It will be at 4261 Truxel Rd., Suite A.
Formoli tells me the new venture will be casual and affordable, but that doesn't mean they will be cutting corners with ingredients or skimping on creativity. The food will have a farm-to-table approach that emphasizes sustainable, quality products and the menu "will have a little bit of everything."
Formoli and Ngo have developed quite the culinary partnership in recent times, joining forces to host periodic beer-centric dinners that have won raves from those lucky enough to attend. While their main gigs won't be neglected, Formoli and Ngo plan to rotate in and out of the Grub Shack, which also will have a dedicated head cook of its own to hold down the fort.
The menu has yet to be revealed, but I understand it will feature fresh takes on burgers, sandwiches, tacos and more - featuring pork belly and several other meats. A banh mi sandwich? That too.
"We don't want to be pigeonholed," said Formoli, whose wife, Suzanne Ricci, is also involved in the project. She is well known to regulars at Formoli's Bistro.
We'll have more on Pork Belly Grub Shack after it opens. Until then, keep up with them by searching for them on Facebook and Twitter.