Cathie Anderson: Fine dining truck could serve arena construction crews

06/15/2013 12:00 AM

06/18/2013 9:11 AM

The promise of a downtown arena is motivating restaurateur and chef Chris Nestor, owner of House Kitchen & Bar and Ink Eats & Drinks, to put a food truck on the road.

"I'm thinking about doing a food truck for House, and the reason why is the construction and the construction workers that the arena's going to have for two years," he said. "I was just with two investors who are going to put in for the food truck. ...

"Have you had our prime rib sandwich down there (at House)? We're going to slice it on the truck. We're doing Korean short-rib tacos and we're doing our pulled pork sandwich."

Nestor is following the crowd by rolling out a food truck, but he's been something of a pioneer in his 10 years as a chef-owner in Sacramento. At midtown's Ink, he proved that a locally based, full-service restaurant could not only survive on a late-late-night dining crowd but could thrive on it.

He launched his fine-dining venture, House, at 555 Capitol Mall with tough competitors Il Fornaio and Morton's within two blocks.

Nestor tasted failure with Icon at 1431 R St., which he said was a product of poor timing. He opened before a critical mass of restaurateurs filled the building. He wants to avoid a similar mistake with a food truck, he said, so he won't launch one if the arena isn't certain. If it is, however, Nestor said his truck could be rolling in the fall.

Landmark changes hands

The original Kronk Gym in Detroit had "it." So does RCA Studio B in Nashville. And, here, in Sacramento, you'll find "it" at Jointed Cue Billiards over on Fruitridge Road.

As sacred as they are humble, such shrines draw young hopefuls gunning to make a name for themselves. But the old structures are not always easy to keep going, as the shuttering of the famed Kronk shows.

David Stonier has put in long days, often seven days a week, as proprietor of the Jointed Cue. It was a mantle passed onto him when his father, Terry Stonier, died unexpectedly in 2001.

"When Dad was alive, I had a partner," Stonier said. "We did it together, and since then, I've just been doing it by myself. I've been doing it about 40 years."

In recent years, the 54-year-old Stonier said, the loyalty of veteran pool players such as Ted Ito, Roy Futternick and Jim Fabionar is what kept him going. Then came an offer out of the blue.

Michael Murphy, a teacher who had been laid off from his job at Sacramento High School, expressed interest in buying the business. He said he wanted to make it successful for generations to come while also respecting the legacy. It struck Stonier that the 45-year-old landmark needed new blood, new energy, new life.

The 37-year-old Murphy and his wife, Emily, recently acquired the pool hall. Stonier is showing them the ropes for 30 days. His last day will be July 13.

Longtime Sacramentans will remember Terry Stonier as the man who lured famed pool players such as Minnesota Fats, Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter and Louie "St. Louis Louie" Roberts to compete for purses of $10,000 and $15,000. Dave Stonier will never forget a tournament at the once-dazzling El Rancho Hotel in West Sacramento where a young Futternick was on fire.

"This was one of the tournaments with every top player from all over the country, and this kid who grew up at the joint, he finished second place," Stonier said. " None of the top players in the country wanted to play him."

Merger triples her sales

Susan DeMichelle is witnessing the impact of linking her DeMichelle Deposition Reporters in Fairfield with a court reporting firm that has national reach.

DeMichelle completed a merger with Huseby Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., on April 1, and already she's tripled her business.

"There were a lot of large law firms, even in San Francisco, that would not use a small court reporting firm," she said. " If they're calling from San Francisco or Sacramento, let's say, they want to be able to make one phone call and tell them, 'I have a deposition in Texas,' and have them set it up."

DeMichelle's has offices in Napa, Sacramento, Dixon and San Rafael. Besides expanding DeMichelle's national reach, the merger allowed the firm to add services such as expert trial consultants, technology equipment rental and Web conferencing.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, www.sacbee.com/anderson. Follow her on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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