February 1, 2013
Vanilla Bean Bistro sold to chef, Gonul Blum focuses on Trio


When Gonul Blum opened her second restaurant months ago, it slowly but surely underscored one basic reality: she couldn't be two places at once.

Blum recently sold Vanilla Bean Bistro to her longtime chef so she could focus on Trio, her new restaurant downtown. Vanilla Bean will become a Turkish bistro, Blum said, owned by Murat Vozkurt, who cooked for her for six years.

Does this news say something about the potential pitfalls of tinkering and changing locations? Perhaps. A couple of years ago, Blum swapped locations on J Street in East Sacramento with Formoli's Bistro, which took over Gonul's J Street Café. Gonul's downsized and became Vanilla Bean. But both places found themselves struggling at times in their new locations.

Meanwhile, Blum found herself stretched too thin.

"When I opened Trio, I wanted to be at Vanilla Bean as much as possible, but I couldn't," she told me. "It was hard to manage both of them because I am it - I don't have anybody else. I am a perfectionist, and if I am not there I am not happy."

Blum says she is happy - and possibly relieved - about the sale. And she will be able to devote all of her time to Trio. I dined there once and found the cooking to be very good. But the restaurant has yet to catch on.

"I am happy, but we are slow," Blum said. "The food is excellent. I give a lot of my love to the food. Once people know about it and try it, they come back."

Trio Restaurant is at 826 J St., downtown.

We'll give you more information on the Turkish bistro when we get it. We're told it could open in the next 10 days.

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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