The Dead Zone

There are certain parcels of land that seem jinxed.  No matter what kind of store, service provider, or restaurant sets up shop in particular spots, they are almost doomed to fail based solely on the track records of previous tenants.  

Here are a few that come to mind:

Where Kozen is now, on Fair Oaks between Howe & Munroe: Kozen has been open for a while now, and they appear to run a brisk business.  However, the same held true for former occupants Amadeus, Fish Emporium, and a slew of other restaurants who came and went too quickly for their names to be etched in my memory. 

The free-standing building in the strip mall on Fulton just north of Hurley: The number of countries represented in the cuisine that has been served at this location rivals the United Nations.  The same goes for the restaurant on the far south side of the strip mall on Fulton that also houses the 21st Amendment liquor store.  It’s been Japanese (Shogun), Kenyan (Safari – YUM!  I miss that place and its chapati), Mediterranean (Charif), and is now Mexican (name unknown since the Charif sign still shines through the new banner.) 

Some places were too doomed to remain standing.  There was a restaurant on Fulton on that strip that goes diagonally behind Loehmann’s Plaza.  It was near Ethan Allen furniture, and it was no fewer than four different restaurants until it was razed to make way for the upscale, empty-nester, overpriced condos, which we affectionately call, “The Pavillas.” 

Fortunately, Giovanni’s Pizza has broken the curse (knock on wood) of the spot in Loehmann’s Plaza that formerly housed Deluxe, Penguin’s Yogurt (or was that where Jamba Juice is now?), and countless other short-lived establishments.  

Why is it that some quality joints like Shogun and Safari can attract full dining rooms every night with nummy food go out of business, yet there is somehow a market for literally hundreds of nail salons, cell phone stores, and check cashing places?  

20 thoughts on “The Dead Zone”

  1. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see if the old Shell station next to Cortis becomes anything other than the lovely square of dirt its been for months. If so, I don’t think whatever it is will make it. That location is horrible.

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  2. Wasn’t that spot (The Pavillas) the previous location of the horrible (and sac-eats confirmed) Cafe Napoli that mysteriously burned down?

    And great call with the Giovanni’s Pizza place. It got to the point that each time I’d stop by that area it would be something new. A Leatherby’s once resided there, right?

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  3. That place on Fulton north of Hurley must be the most jinxed site in the county. I wonder if the former home of WowSushi (on Howe, just south of the Ford dealership) will be the next most? Yokohama was there for many, many years (I think they owned the building) but Wow didn’t last a year. Shame, because it was wonderful.

    Giovanni is a double jinx-breaker, by the way. Its location on Folsom has been a lot of different things (including an Ikeda’s) before the Big G moved in.

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  4. Actually, I stopped by the Subway that is in the same plaza as Kozen. It was dark that night but I saw signs in the building occupied (or formerly occupied) by Kozen, that said there was a change of ownership. Maybe I didn’t see it clearly and made assumptions about it, but I believe that Kozen is no longer.

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  5. FauxPaws — long time no read! Nice to see you back again! You’re correct that an Ikeda’s used to occupy the space on Folsom Blvd. They left not because business wasn’t strong (it was), but because they had a hard time finding good management who could uphold their high standards. I worked in the bakery of the Auburn location throughout high school and summers in college, and the Ikeda family ranks high among the hardest working, most ethical and fair, and nicest people.

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  6. Correction: The spot on the Fulton extension behind Loehman’s was not Cafe Napoli, but rather, if memory serves, a Greek restaurant. And as far as I can remember, the place next to the Albertson’s in Loehman’s was never a Leatherby’s. It was “Deluxe” which was a burger joint owned by Paragary (I think), then Pizza Romeo, now Giovanni’s.

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  7. Napoli used to be in the same complex as Kozen, etc. YEARS ago. It was in the back next to Sara’s Hair Salon (just a few doors down from Supercuts) and that tennis shop.

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  8. Hmmm, time to hop in the Wayback machine, RG and SE…I’m talking like 1997-ish.

    I had dinner there once, and it was Italian. And I remember the Napoli part pretty clearly. I think the Greek place was after that.

    And Deluxe was like early 2000-ish? I’m, once again, going back to the late 90’s with the Leatherby’s call…

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  9. The place behind Loehmann’s WAS Napoli for a brief time..you’re right! It was there AFTER being at “Trolley Plaza” (where Kozen is/was?) and before its current location on Fair Oaks near Walnut.

    I’m still not remembering Leatherby’s though. I’m sure it was a Penguin’s Yogurt in the early ’90s.

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  10. The Penguin yogurt was, most definitely, located where the Jamba Juice now is. Speaking of good yogurt, anyone remember J. Higby’s? It was where the Starbucks in University Village is now.

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  11. I think the ice cream place in question was a “cold stone’ type shop. Anyone remember the Cinnamon Roll shop as well in Loehmanns?

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  12. at some point are we going to just drift down Fulton on over to Mr. Steak and figure out Matt Chicken once and for all?

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  13. Sorry DMZ, no luck on the Mr. Steak. Hometown Guy, it was a Spinners cinnamon rolls place before it was Deluxe, and Sac-Eats thinks it may originally have been Cinnamon City (which is now across the street in the same center as Fins.) And you’re right, it was a Marble Slab or similar ice cream place at one point too.

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  14. new idea: The Sac Rag’s retail location timeline. We start with city maps, and then we chart every location as far back as we can with the help of other dorks. (Note: including myself)

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  15. Great idea! Do you have some sort of online software we can use for this? This is similar to the idea my friends & I had many moons ago about commissioning a wall at the 2Me to draw a huge “family tree” type deal that precisely showed how everyone in Sacramento knows everyone else.

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  16. The place in Loehmans that someone thought was Italian was STRINGS!!! EEgads, that was early 90’s I believe. My pops used to love Mr. Steak on Fair Oaks in early 70’s (where Pavilions is now). A few of my childhood friends enjoy discussing our 15cent ice cream cones at Thrifty–best bargain in town!

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  17. UPDATE: The place on Fulton that has been Shogun, Safari, Charif, Caspian Cafe, and no fewer than three Mexican places, is now ANOTHER Mexican place called “Cilantro’s.”

    Also, I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed that the El Torito at Fulton & Hurley is closed.

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  18. Here are a couple more candidates for the “dead zone” awards:

    – Pretty much anything in the same shopping center as Mountain Mikes Pizza on Fulton just north of Hurley. There’s a small post office in there and a gym for women only, but not much else seems to survive in there.

    – I’m starting to wonder about the corner of 48th & J (across from 2Me & The Pasty Shack.) It was a Kinko’s, then I think it was something else before Room & Co., and is there something else there now?

    Kozen still seems to be going strongly; although, almost a year ago we got “The Clipper” in the mail that had a coupon for an offer at a new sushi joint, and the address was that of Kozen, but it was not Kozen’s name in said Clipper ad.

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