Most restaurants have signature dishes. If Sacramento has a signature restaurateur, it's the pioneering Randy Paragary.
The "corporate menu" of the Paragary Restaurant Group includes Paragary's Bar & Oven, Esquire Grill, Centro Cocina Mexicana and Spataro. Add to the list four Cafe Bernardos, the newest one opening a couple of weeks ago downtown along the K Street mall. It's serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends. Its menus offer more choices than its three siblings' menus.
The new cafe is inside the converted former site of Paragary's Cosmo Cafe. It closed in December because it didn't "resonate" with the cabaret crowd that frequents the neighboring bars and nightclubs, Paragary said in December.
The most dramatic element of the Cosmo-Bernardo conversion is the 60-foot-long trellis-covered patio, which has been the go-to seating area as the weather warms up.
How's it going so far?
"People are happy to have us in the neighborhood, with our wide variety of food (55 menu items) and nice atmosphere," said consulting general manager Stacey Johnson.
Any specialties of the house?
"Hmmm," she mused. "I'm choosing three as proven winners - tri-tip sandwich, pan-seared Petaluma chicken breast and our black bean burger, which is worth mentioning for vegetarians."
Cafe Bernardo is at 10th and K streets, Sacramento; (916) 446-9800, www.paragarys.com. There are two more Cafe Bernardos in Sacramento and one in Davis.