Over the Fence

Classic Ford Thunderbird at the DIY Car Club

Classic Ford Thunderbird at the DIY Car Club

Tucked away off Fruitridge Road, east of the railroad tracks, is a cool, do-it-yourself auto club where people can meet, mingle and work on their vintage automobiles.

It’s the Sacramento DIY Classic Car Club. Robert Mitchell, a self-described car nut, runs the auto club.

If you have a vintage or classic vehicle, you can come to the shop and do anything from a tune-up or a complete restoration. Robert formed the car club because the city, homeowners associations, and some neighbors don’t want you tinkering with your car on your driveway.

According to Robert, there’s a backlash against auto do-it-yourselfers. “It’s actually become epidemic,” he said.

The car club is a good place to work on your hot rod or classic car without the neighbor worrying about the “eyesore” on the driveway.

The idea of the DIY Auto Club started when Dwayne Zajic of Zajic Appliances had a vacant building that needed a lot of work and he gave Robert a deal on the rent if he fixed the place up. Dwayne told him, “Turn it into a toy box.” And that’s what Robert did. It’s a giant toy box full of vintage cars in the middle of restoration.

Classic cars are in Robert’s blood. He actually grew up in a machine shop near the Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway. That’s where his love of the automobile began.

He’s currently working on a 1959 F-100 truck. He’s taken her all the way down to the bare frame, sandblasted it, and now he’s putting it back together. It’s his lifelong hobby.

The folks at the car club are trying to keep young people involved in the automotive and restoration hobby. “There are a lot of young people out there that love old cars,” Robert said, pointing out that there are no auto shops in the schools anymore and kids are discouraged to work on the newer cars unless they’re an electronics genius. “When the young folks come in, we try to hold their hands and help them,” Robert said.

Robert’s face lighted up and his voice became animated when he led me over to a classic, black Ford Thunderbird. “This is one of the most beloved classic auto mobiles in the country, the Ford Thunderbird,” he said. According to Robert, the Thunderbird and Corvette were the two most beloved classic automobiles in the country. These cars have their own clubs internationally and they’re very rare and hard to find.

The club member’s Ford Thunderbird had been sitting in the garage for 12 years collecting cobwebs. The owner got it started the other day and decided to bring it in. He’s been working on it day by day after work. “He tinkers with it a little bit and we’ve got this thing running beautifully now. It purrs like a kitten,” Robert said. There are still a few things that need to be done to the jet-black classic Ford Thunderbird, but when he’s done with it, he’ll be able to take it out on the street and drive it every day. It’s the perfect car to cruise on over to the Westwind Drive-In and watch a double-feature under the stars.

Trying to find parts for the vintage automobiles is like searching for buried treasure, which is part of the fun of vintage car restoration. Robert scours the Internet for car parts, and other times, he checks out local salvage yards. In Northern California, there are a few old salvage yards that are dedicated to vintage automobiles, including in Winters, Williams, and Colfax. There, he rummages through the parts, looking for the ones he needs.

There’s a fee charged to become a car club member and it has to be a classic car “from the muscle car era back.”

I joked, “So no AMC Pacers?”

Robert paused and told me, “If somebody had an AMC Pacer, they would be very welcome. Believe it or not that has become a classic car,” Robert said.

He added that he was at a car show in Lincoln and somebody had completely restored an AMC Gremlin. The Gremlin was the laughing stock of the auto world back in the 1980s and now it’s considered a classic car.

The young AND the old partake in the DIY Auto Club. One member of the club is 87 years old. He has a collection of 23 classic cars and he still comes in and tinkers. There’s a father and son who are restoring a 1965 Mustang. They live in San Francisco and there’s nowhere they can work on their car. They are coming up on weekends for a father and son restoration project.

I told Robert, “I wish I knew how to work on cars.”

And he told me, “That’s what we’re here for.”

So, even if you have a low IQ for working on cars, you can learn by joining the DIY Car Club. They provide all the tools and know-how that you need. You may even end up a greasy-monkeying car nut!

If you’re interested in learning more about the DIY Auto Club, they’re located at 2700 Fruitridge Road, and, on the web, at www.sacdiyccc.com. Their phone number is 916-202-3649.

Over the Fence

If you want to check out this 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt, it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

If you want to check out this 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt, it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

Last October, I mentioned in “Over The Fence” an enormous 3,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house in Carleton Tract was getting a complete makeover by Lincoln Creek Builders. I made a few wisecracks about how it didn’t fit the neighborhood and also told of the colorful history of the home. Most of the homes in Carlton Tract, which is north of Hollywood Park, are three bedrooms with one bath and less than 1,500 square feet.
The biggest house on the block is now up for sale. Charlotte Kyle of Lincoln Creek Builders contacted me about it. She wasn’t even upset about my initial column, although she wasn’t fond of the term McMansion, which is isn’t. It’s the Hotel Carleton!
Charlotte says she loves the place because it’s “full of personality” just like Charlotte.
There have been some elegant upgrades to the home. They also kept some of the cool original things too. It’s not ticky tacky. The home has a colorful history…there was even a counterfeiting operation back in the 90s. I asked if they found any cash in the walls, but no such luck.
The house is solid, not fancy. “We take pride in what we do. We aren’t your ordinary fix and flip type of people,” Charlotte said. Charlotte and her business partner Ray Post both have lifetime construction backgrounds.
I asked Charlotte, “Why this house and why Carlton Tract?” She said, “The price was right and looking at the house we could already see it done. We’re visionaries. It’s just built into who we are. We care about tying in with the style of the house and uniformity. We take a lot of pride in who we are and the product we put out and I think it shows.”
The first thing I noticed when entering the two-story house is the two elegant staircases. One to go up and one to go down. The French doors upstairs lead out to the deck where you can look down at the newly landscaped backyard. The deck had been taken down when they moved the house from behind the Land Park Ski and Sports many years ago.
All the improvements are too numerous to mention. There was a lot of attention to detail. The bathrooms were gutted and double sinks and a jacuzzi tub were installed. Charlotte boasted how she did all the elegant tile work, too. The kitchen is all new with quality Viking appliances and a neat-o pantry. All new lighting, too. I bet Giada De Laurentiis would love to cook linguine in clam sauce in the redesigned kitchen.
Charlotte and Ray have both enjoyed being in the Carleton Tract neighborhood. Even though it’s hard work, Charlotte told me, “we’re kind of on vacation because we’re in a new area and we get to meet all the nice interesting people in the neighborhood.”
I thought, Carleton Tract isn’t exactly Catalina Island!
They have kept some of the original character of the home including the bird aviary in the backyard. They cleaned it up, painted it, and redid the new birdhouse. Charlotte said, “I didn’t have the heart to just get rid of it.”
While I was talking to Ray about the aviary and landscape, Charlotte interrupted saying, “Somebody’s gonna get in trouble if they put that hose on top of my plants one more time.” Ray said, “I didn’t do it.”
I asked, “Are you sure you’re not married?”
If you want to check out the house that Charlotte and Ray rebuilt it’s at 2361 20th Ave. Debra Sciotto of Keller/Williams is the agent.

I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream. Right? It’s hot in Sacramento in the summer and a refreshing ice cream cone is a good way to cool off and enjoy a tasty treat.
That’s what a group of customers in Land Park thought, too. I noticed a large group of Asian American folks leaving Happy Corner Café and heading to Rite –Aid on Freeport Boulevard for some of their famous Thrifty Ice Cream.
They all went over to the ice cream counter and peered through the glass to see what flavor they wanted. Rocky Road? Orange Sherbet, Cookies and Cream? All the while laughing, talking and enjoying the evening together.
I heard over the Rite-Aid sound system: “Assistance in ice cream, please.”
I was in the antacid aisle getting some Rolaids when I noticed a woman come from the back of the store. She slowly made her way to the main counter…not the ice cream department.
The group of folks waiting for ice cream were waiting…and waiting…and waiting…until they eventually just gave up. They all walked out of the Rite-Aid together.
It was quite a scene, too. They made their displeasure known by just walking out the door. A silent protest.
Maybe they should screamed for ice cream!
Not sure why the Rite-Aid employee did not help them. Perhaps scooping ice cream is above her pay grade? Some customers looked puzzled. There was an air of uncomfortableness in the store. A giant band of customers just left the store together and the employee said, “Oh well, it’s just ice cream” and proceeded to carry on a long conversation with an elderly male customer.
Then a new group of people wandered over to the ice cream counter. Folks love Thrifty Ice cream! The employee kept on chit chatting when the other worker told the customers waiting patiently that she’d “be there in a minute.” You could tell she was irritated by her co-worker completely ignoring the patrons waiting for two scoops of Vanilla.
When I left the store the employee was still chit chatting with a customer about something and there were more people waiting in line to order a scoop of Mint Chip.
Maybe Rite-AID could use a full-time ice cream scooper – somebody with big forearms that stands there waiting for hot, sweaty customers jonesing for an ice cream cone.

A duo of dishes in Land Park has made for interesting conversations between neighbors.

A duo of dishes in Land Park has made for interesting conversations between neighbors.

Love Thy Neighbor…except if they own a satellite dish.
That’s what is happening in Land Park. Both parties did not want their real names to be used, so I went with Pro-Dish/Anti-Dish to identify them.
A woman on Land Park Drive is flabbergasted by her next door neighbor’s satellite dishes. Two satellite dishes peer down on her backyard and taunt her from the side of her neighbor’s roof. Her family moved to the charming Land Park home more than a year ago with the satellite dishes next door “not understanding it had such an impact on my landscaping. Visual damage is being done to my property,” she said.
The anti-dish lady told me, “I can see them outside every window. Every window. They’re in my sight line…and I told my neighbor that. They are a visual imposition.”
An unsightly satellite dish is hardly the biggest problem a neighbor can be faced with. Loud obnoxious parties, a constantly yapping dog, or even a meth lab would seem to be more of an imposition.
But I guess to some people a satellite dish is a neighborhood eyesore, especially when it’s staring right back at you. #firstworldproblems right?
The two families were actually friendly with each other in the beginning. Their children played together and they had dinner a couple of times. I joked she was probably buttering them up to get rid of the satellite dishes.
“Would you like some dessert…and can you dump the dish?”
At first the neighbors tried to work together to come up with a solution. “When you move into a neighborhood you always hope that people can work together and that your neighbors care what you’re looking at.” The anti-dish lady said.
The pro- dish couple were thinking about switching to Comcast after their Direct TV contract was expired to placate their neighbor. That would have been six months down the road which was too long of a wait for the anti-dish lady.
Moving the dishes, which are facing south, would have created a reception issue.
The pro-dish lady said, “I guess I feel like it’s not that we weren’t willing to compromise. I felt like she really took control of the situation before we really had a chance to compromise.”
The anti-dish lady has forged ahead with her own solution. She had a designer come in and design a pergola that was up to code and attached to the fence. She also purchased large planters and has planted bamboo to camouflage the two dishes.
Only time will tell what this might do to the pro-dish neighbor’s satellite reception as the bamboo grows to the sky. Right now, they seem to have no problem with it.
The pro-dish neighbor said, “She sort of took ownership of the fence so they could do whatever they wanted to do to the fence. And we were OK with that.”
There are some other innovative ways people are camouflaging satellite dishes.
In Germany, there is an artist who has come up with a creative way to make satellite dishes more attractive. Daniel Knipping calls it satellite dish art. He paints images like a ferocious tiger, a happy baby, even a classic Chevy Chevelle, directly onto the dish to make it more eye-catching.
Another way people are camouflaging satellite dishes is through the website, www.sqish.co.uk/gallery.php.
It’s billed as a “discreet alternative to a satellite dish” with various patterns pasted onto it from faux-brick finishes to fake wood-slat patterns and more.
Even if you think a satellite dish is an ugly eyesore and would like to tear it off your neighbor’s roof, you can’t. It’s not legal. People who own satellite dishes have rights.
When Congress passed the telecommunications Act in 1996 they instructed the Federal Communications Commission to adopt the Over-the-Air Reception Devices rule concerning governmental and nongovernmental restrictions on viewers’ ability to receive video programming signals from direct broadcast satellites. The rule has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming.
In other words, I’m watching “Game of Thrones” on my Dish, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I asked the anti-Dish lady if they’ll still have dinner parties after all this and she gave out an exacerbated, “Noooooo.” But who knows? Maybe they can patch things up and all watch “Neighbors” together when it comes to Direct TV.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

OVER THE FENCE with Greg Brown

A minivan owned by the Crouse family of Hollywood Park got a dent from a parent driving recklessly away from LdV School. The school has been encouraging better driving from parents. Photo by Greg Brown

A minivan owned by the Crouse family of Hollywood Park got a dent from a parent driving recklessly away from LdV School. The school has been encouraging better driving from parents. Photo by Greg Brown

The Raley’s on Freeport Boulevard has really stepped things up. They have repainted the entire front of the building and spiffied up the classic neon Raley’s sign. They have an all new interior; the outdated orange has been replaced with modern brown. “Farm To Fork For You” signs made of dark wood and more tract lighting to set a mood. I also noticed more lighting in the liquor aisle…easier to see the Fireball Whisky! The employees are also using headphones and mics to communicate…no more “Cleanup in aisle 5” over the loud speaker.
Raley’s has also been playing hipper tunes over the speaker system, too. I actually heard Prince! I even saw a dad doing some air guitar near the Doritos.
Kiss from Prince, Modern Love by David Bowie, even the song “Politics Of Dancing”, a hit song by the British New Wave band Re-Flex. I guess it’s a musical 1980s retro revival at Raley’s on Freeport.
A female employee was shakin’ it over by the flower department to the Miami Sound Machine. The new and improved Raley’s has turned into Dancing With The Employees!
Raley’s has also finally caved to the craft beer revolution and is now offering Track 7’s finest pale ale. They labeled it “A Bomber Sale” right up front when I walked into the supermarket.
Raley’s new slogan could be…Raley’s home of all your favorite 80s hits!

There’s an old Bob Dylan song called “Ninety Miles An Hour (Down a Dead End Street).” That’s sort of what’s happening on Larson Way next to Leonardo DaVinci School according to Darcy Crouse and her husband Matt.

Darcy Crouse and her husband have lived in their house on Larson Way in Hollywood Park for about three years. Darcy says she loves it and they have “amazing neighbors.”

Unfortunately, some parents dropping off and picking up their children at the school have been flying in and out of the neighborhood. Making wide u-turns, blocking their drive-way, driving too fast, and putting a large dent in the Crouse mini-van.
She thinks the kids and the cats are in danger.
It has caused Darcy to get frustrated with the whole thing and created a lot of tension between her, parents and the administration.
There’s been middle fingers flying, parents sticking their tongues out and cuss words exchanged…and remember…this is from parents not children.
The Crouses have a big window in the front so they can see everything on Larson Way.
One lady in a grey Jeep Cherokee, who came flying up, whipped around and went on the sidewalk right where the driveway is. Darcy ran outside and asked the driver to slow down. She admitted, “I wasn’t being nice but I definitely wasn’t being rude.”
The woman asked, “Who are you, the Police?”
This was the first of many frustrating responses and incidents according to Darcy.
Mrs. Crouse had felt the woman in the Jeep came in at an inappropriate speed for a dead end street. She used both sidewalks to turn her car around.
They have contacted LdV about the problems on Larson Way through e-mails, calls and personal visits. It hasn’t curtailed the problem.
I reached out to Principal Devon Davis, via e-mail, and she told me that they run articles in their school newsletters, discuss parking needs at the PTC meetings, and have actively worked with parents to demonstrate proactive community relationships. Unfortunately she wrote, “a few rude and disrespectful parents have given the Crouse’s an overall negative feeling about the school and entire parent body.”
Darcy said, “we’re not looking for parents to stop dropping their kids off from school.” She just wants an overall awareness that there are children running around that run out in the street and “it’s our job as parents to make sure that they’re safe,” she said.
Got an item for Over The Fence? Greg@valcomnews.com

Over The Fence

The DIY Network’s Yardcore has set its sight on Hollywood Park…. again! Yardcore and Yardcrashers have both invaded the middle-class neighborhood with charming 1950s era homes to produce their home improvement shows on numerous occasions. Gobs. They’ve lost count. A week earlier they were in South Land Park filming an episode.

I guess Sacramento is a big DIY destination.

Landscape professionals Jake and Joel Moss, the sibling hosts of Yardcore, set homeowners up with the yard of their dreams…or at least they hope they do. The brothers get a quick look at the yard and a short tour of the home’s interior to get clues as to what the homeowners style is. “I always look inside their house first and try to pick out clues. We are literally bringing the inside out,” Jake said.

They draw up the blueprints and have to make it all happen in 48 hours while the home owners anxiously await the end result at a local hotel.

Chopsaws, sandblasters, compressors and a Bobcat littered the front yard of the home on Irvin Way. An army of workers furiously were moving rocks, dirt, and mulch in big blue wheelbarrows, all in the name of showbiz.

When I spoke with host Jake Moss about the show workers were busy tearing up the Hollywood Park backyard with Bobcats and shovels. I asked Jake why Yardcore chooses a lot of homes in the area to create their backyard makeovers. Moss said, “We love coming into old neighborhoods like Hollywood Park, Land Park, Curtis Park. They all have houses with character.”

Jake added, “You’re working with more eclectic styles when you’re dealing with these neighborhoods. They’re not cookie cutter. Oftentimes, we find people who are into collecting art. They’re interested in styles like Mid-Century Modern, this one Hollywood Park house in particular is French Country. We find an interesting array of folks.”

They don’t even get to meet the home owner, which means they get to go a little crazier than they normally would. It helps the creativity of the backyard makeover. They also don’t have to worry about the homeowners supervising and telling them, “Don’t you dare tear out our Begonias!”

“Another good aspect about the homeowners not being there is that we do get to be a little more creative and the end result is a yard that they probably couldn’t have dreamed up themselves,” Moss said.

He enthusiastically added, “We want them to fall in love with this yard!”

Wanna backyard makeover Yardcore-style? They’re looking for local Sacramento folks to cast in future Yardcore episodes. If you’d like a fabulous backyard makeover without lifting a finger, check out their website. Tell a little about yourself and your backyard. Include a couple of photos, too. Maybe you can get the backyard of your dreams.


E-mail them at:


Good Brew News!

Fountainhhead Brewing Company coming to Hollywood Park

Fountainhhead Brewing Company coming to Hollywood Park

There’s a new brewery coming to Hollywood Park on 24th Street. It’s just what the neighborhood needs, a local gathering spot where people can eat, drink, and be merry.
It will be called The Fountainhead Brewery. One of the owners, Mark Bojecsu, was thinking “water theme” and his partner Daniel Moffatt was thinking literary titles or characters. “We eventually came across the Ayn Rand novel that seemed to cover both of those,” Daniel told me.

Maybe they’ll have an Ayn Rand Ale!

Fountainhead Brewing owners Daniel Moffatt and Mark Bojecsu

Fountainhead Brewing owners Daniel Moffatt and Mark Bojecsu

Fountainhead Brewing is going to take over the TS Auto Repair shop on 24th street. Neighbors received the notice and were ecstatic to hear there would be a new gathering spot within walking distance. Although, the owner of the auto shop Sam Lee was caught by surprise by the news. I’m sure he’ll find another spot to fix cars. Besides, the neighborhood is thirsty! There are a voluminous amount of auto repair shops in the area. Sacramento breweries are a Sacramento institution. Auto shops are a dime a dozen.

They’re going to turn the old run-down auto repair shop on 24th Street into a unique gathering spot where local folks can taste an IPA or Imperial Ale and hang out.

Daniel is the brewer. He’s very experimental. One of his most popular craft beers at the Shack during Beer Week was the coffee porter. It’s one of Daniel’s personal favorites and one he runs out of the most. “It’s for the dark beer tasters out there,” he said.

He also brews an IPA with four different kinds of hops. “It’s pretty straight forward and not overly aggressive like you’re chewing on hops,” Moffat added.

They’ll also brew some Imperials, Daniel likes Imperial reds a lot. Belgiums and barley wines, sours too. So like the neighborhood, the craft beer selection will be eclectic.

In the back of the property there’s a spot where they’ll have outdoor seating and a nice pergola where people can sip the suds of their favorite new brewery. It will be family friendly as well as dog friendly.

They also will be serving food. They won’t have a full kitchen but they’ll have some fryers and also serve up some sandwiches. “We definitely want some choices other than a random food truck once in a while. More stability and reliability,” said Moffatt.

They should be open by July. USA! USA! USA!

Fountainhead Brewing is very excited about coming to the neighborhood. They have been talking with Panama Pottery to partner up for events. The folks from Panama Pottery came to one of their tasting events at The Shack and “we had a lot of fun, they’re super nice people,” Moffatt said.

The guy with the hot rod shop next door who’s got a thing going on every Thursday in the summertime. “So they’ll be some activity over there.”

It’s a narrow lot so we’re debating on how we’ll either do parking or make it a social area. We’ve already talked to the city about trying to get parking on the other side of the street since there’s no parking on either side of 24th street.

Daniel told me it’s a dream come true. “We’ve talking about this for over two years and it’s finally coming to fruition. We are beyond excited.”

Sounds like it will make a great addition to the local brewery scene. New Helvetia, Track 7 and now Fountainhead Brewery. A trifecta of tasty craft beers.


Over the Fence

Fatty Cow Hot Pot is a new business where Futami Japanese Restaurant was before, 5609 Freeport Blvd. This logo of an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot, was the winner of a logo design contest. Photo by Greg Brown

Fatty Cow Hot Pot is a new business where Futami Japanese Restaurant was before, 5609 Freeport Blvd. This logo of an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot, was the winner of a logo design contest. Photo by Greg Brown

It’ll be Off The Bike Chain.
Is your bike road ready? My bike has been sitting in the garage collecting cobwebs all winter long. I’m dusting it off and taking it over to the Neighborhood Bike Tune-up Clinic in Hollywood Park.
The Bike Tune-up Clinic takes place on Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 2208 Murieta Way inside some lady’s garage. That lady is Glenda Marsh and she’s opening up her garage to help people get ready for spring and summer bike riding. Get advice on good routes about town, safety equipment, and how not to get mowed down on Freeport!
Perhaps you haven’t hopped on your bike for awhile. Maybe you have a creaking saddle or squealing brakes. Some dudes from the Bicycle Business will be at Glenda’s garage to let you know what you need done. Free advice!
Minor bike adjustments will be done on site for free. You’ll get a list of what you might need done on your own, or at a local bike shop. We have quite a few great bike shops nearby. Bicycle Business, College Cyclery and Vintage Bicycle Supply are all in the area.
I know I have to get my rear end off the La-Z-Boy recliner and onto my Electra Cruiser.
If you need more info about the bike tune-up, email marshmellow8562@yahoo.com
Vintage Bicycle Supply is now on Broadway. Look for the small neon sign in the window just past 17th Street on Broadway. The shop was originally housed in a warehouse space in Hollywood Park, but owner Mike Shaneyfelt wanted a store front. “We were looking for a place with windows and a showroom and all that stuff.”
He actually wanted to stay in Hollywood Park, but couldn’t convince building owners on a location on Freeport Boulevard for needed renovations. He still does restoration work out of the warehouse in the HP.
Shaneyfelt found the perfect storefront at 1710 Broadway – a nice, small space that used to be a Mail Boxes Etc. He recently installed a sign that lights up cool neon at night.
He’s selling vintage bikes, vintage parts, new parts, fix gear. They do restorations; they’ll service your vintage bike, anything you want or need. They also buy sell and trade. Drop in if you’re looking for an old Schwinn.
“We customize stuff here, we try to set the bike up to what somebody wants. If they don’t like that color, we’ll paint it.”
He also doesn’t charge exorbitant prices to tune up a bike, just about $40 for a bike with gears.
Vintage Bicycle Supply also puts on events and swaps.
Mike and his friend Ted put together an annual custom bike show and swap meet called “Sacramento Cyclefest” in Fremont Park. This year it will be on Sunday, May 18. “Everybody comes out to the park and it’s a lot of fun – real kid-friendly,” Mike told me. They have jumpers and all that stuff. Food trucks, too.
I guess new owners had taken over Futami Japanese Restaurant a few years ago and it was all downhill from there. Some folks on Yelp! even cautioned, “Stay away from the sashimi.”
Futami’s is now closed.
The restaurant (5609 Freeport Blvd.) has been empty since last year, but will have new life under a new name and new owner.
They’re calling it Fatty Cow Hot Pot. I’ve had a Hot Pocket but never a hot pot. For those who don’t know, hot pot is stew or soup simmering in the middle of the table with a variety of thinly sliced meat, seafood, leaf vegetables, wontons and egg dumplings. Fatty Cow is “looking to serve the younger and more hip crowd,” according to the owners. The interior of the building will be getting a big facelift, too.
Perhaps you’ve seen the irreverent sign driving down Freeport Boulevard. The logo is an animated cow licking his lips with a big ole soup spoon soaking in a hot pot. The owners had a logo design contest on the website, 99Design.com. They asked for a logo that is catchy and “represents our business name.” Also, they didn’t want anything “too high-class looking.”
“I do not want to scare customer away making them think that they can’t afford to eat here.”
I hope the restaurant is as good as the new logo.

Over The Fence with Greg Brown

Photo by Greg Brown

Photo by Greg Brown

I’m a little late to the party on this one. Eddy’s Deluxe has moved from its East Sacramento location on J Street to a new warehouse location right next to Track 7 Brewery in City Farms. This all happened last September. Again, late to the party.
Better late than never, right? And the kick in the dungarees is, it’s right next to Track 7!
It’s now just a one-woman show at Eddy’s Deluxe. One woman, one barber chair, same retro barbershop theme. “If no one shows up, it’s just me,” owner Rea MacSems said. She now takes appointments. While I was there, a few guys wandered in accidentally looking for Track 7 Brewery. One guy even had a growler in his hand searching for a refill. She’s gonna get a lot of accidental business. Spillover you know? It’s ingenious!
The warehouse location on Pacific Avenue is where Rea has her Cock Grease hair pomade empire. She’s also been slapping together some cool live music shows a couple times a month.
Get a haircut, get a Panic IPA. Rea told me, “The shows have been pretty sweet, too.” They just rolled up the metal doors to see what would happen and folks just came filtering in.
“The shows have been low-key and fun. Very people friendly,” Cruz Ordonezy, who was getting his hair coiffed and cut by Rea, said. They actually met over at Track 7 when Rea told him about her new barbershop location next door.
Back in February, they had the Booze Bombs all the way from Germany, as well as, the Twilight Drifters. Coming up on March 23, they’ll have another free show with The Hucklebucks performing some New Orleans Blues.
They were having a real hootenanny at the Cock Pit when I dropped by recently. A fun little record party at the Pit. Cactus Pete, a soft-spoken gentleman, came by to spin ‘78 and ‘45 vinyl records for a few hours. He’s a big collector of Old Country, Boogie Woogie stuff from the 30s, 40s, and hot jazz.
Then he put the needle down on Struttin’ With Some Barbeque. “It’s an old classic”. Pete said.
He followed that up with a song called “Trucker Boogie” from Arthur “Guitar” Smith. Cactus Pete added, “When you’re middle name is Guitar, it means you must be awfully good on guitar”.
People were dancing along to Cactus Pete’s hot jazz tunes and putting some cash in his tip jar. There were quite a few couples dancing to the Lindy Hopper’s Delight, too!
A lot of the folks were taking advantage of the Track 7 brewery next door and the food truck parked outside, too. The sliders from the Krush Burger food truck were being devoured while people listened to Cactus Pete’s Record Roundup.
Eddy’s Deluxe is a marvelous addition to the new vibe over at City Farms. Perhaps, it will spur even more coolness to the neighborhood.
Rea MacSems cuts hair at Eddy's Deluxe, which is located in City Farms, next to Track 7 Brewery. Photo by Greg Brown

Rea MacSems cuts hair at Eddy's Deluxe, which is located in City Farms, next to Track 7 Brewery. Photo by Greg Brown

And more retro-ness….SacMod, based in South Land Park and all about retro-ness, will be hosting a “Double Feature Drive-in Event” at the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-in. SacMod has teamed up with Director and Producer April Wright. She has a documentary called “Going Attractions-The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie”. She will be at the SacMod event to answer questions and give a presentation about the documentary. Almost everybody has fond memories of going to the drive-in movies, especially Baby Boomers who grew up watching them on the big screen under the stars. My wife, son, and I recently went to the Sacramento 6 Drive-in together to see “Turbo and Planes”. It was a great family experience!
The numbers of drive-in movies is sadly dwindling as developers swoop in and tear them down for a more lucrative commercial development. But that’s not always the case. A lot of drive-in movies are simply just abandoned graveyards due to a cultural shift. According to the press kit, “A cultural movement is emerging among drive-in enthusiasts and families who want to return to simpler times and values. This film reflects the feelings of people who believe this American icon is worth saving for future generations.”
The SacMod Drive-in event is a double feature. The classic Oscar-nominated film, “American Graffiti”, will be the second movie featured at the Sacramento 6 Drive-in – a perfect double-feature. Cruising in 1962 Modesto. Maybe drive-in movies will make a spectacular comeback and the Sacramento 6 Drive-ins will be here for many more years. The SacMod Event is on March 29 at the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In, with ticket sales starting at 6 p.m. See you there Daddy-O!
Have any local neighborhood newsy news? Shoot me an e-mail at Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence

Shoki's Ramen house shown here on 24th Street will be taking over the old Ford's Hamburger stand on Sutterville Blvd. Photo by Monica Stark

Shoki's Ramen house shown here on 24th Street will be taking over the old Ford's Hamburger stand on Sutterville Blvd. Photo by Monica Stark

A few months ago a woman was scoping out the former Ford’s Hamburger stand on Sutterville Boulevard. I immediately pulled the car over to ask her “What’s up?” In a thick European accent she told me Asian cuisine would be moving in. That is all the information she had. It was an Over The Fence item. I recently received some inside information about who will be taking over the former popular hamburger joint. Shoki’s Ramen House, known for their soups, noodles and broth, will be taking over the little building on Sutterville Road. People go nuts for their noodles! Very exciting for the Land Park neighborhood.

However, It’s not going to be a ramen house specifically. I heard a rumor that they were going to serve breakfast. I spoke briefly with Shoki manager Saho Yueyana over the phone and she was very tight lipped about the plans. I asked if the new venture would be breakfast and lunch and she told me, “that’s still up in the air but definitely breakfast“. She told me a couple times it was a “corporate secret” and they’re only sharing the information with a few people at this moment. So look for a Japanese breakfast joint opening up sometime in the Spring. Just don’t tell anybody, it will be our little secret.
How would you like to be awarded $500 and help clean-up the neighborhood, too? That’s what the City Of Sacramento awards citizens for information regarding illegal dumping. There would have to be an arrest and conviction for you to pick up the cash reward. If you witness illegal dumping in progress, jot down the license plate number as well as the make and model of the vehicle. Contact the Sacramento Police non-emergency number at (916) 264-5471.

I noticed some illegal dumping on Freeport Blvd in the parking lot of what used to be the Land Park Academy. It was hard not to notice. There were four discarded mattresses in the parking lot as well as large piles of garbage strewn all over the property. Plenty of hazardous materials all over the lot, too. Roundup, motor oil, old rusty cans of paint, spray paint and insecticide. Which made the rotted garbage not seem so bad.

What was most alarming was out of the corner of my eye I noticed a person wrapped in a filthy blanket on a discarded old mattress. Just another discarded member of society. My anger about the garbage soon turned to sorrow. He was somebody’s child at one time. Perhaps the homeless person was responsible for all the garbage all over. Maybe they were sniffing the spray paint cans. I have no idea. The garbage and rubbage can be cleaned up, but what about the human being with the mental health issues? I called the 311 operator and she took down the information. They told me they’d have to call out the fire department to take care of the hazardous material. Not sure what what will become of the homeless person. I guess they’ll be shooed off to another part of town. It seems to me we should be doing something to get people like this off the streets and into shelters or housing. Welcome to the world of the homeless and their effects on neighborhoods.

I spoke briefly to Joan Burke, director of advocacy at Loaves & Fishes, and she told me “the police are generally wonderful and act more like social workers than police officers”. Occasionally the police will transport the person to Loaves & Fishes where they try and help. Joan told me there’s also a winter sanctuary shelter program at night that has room for between 100-120 people. The pick-up point is at Loaves & Fishes and the Capital Christian Center transports people to different churches each night.

Volunteers of America used to have an outreach program that would take vans out with trained volunteers to see if they could help that person. Due to social service cutbacks that program is no longer available.
Perhaps the $500 cash reward for reporting illegal dumping should go to Loaves & Fishes or a church that advocates for the homeless and mentally ill.
The Annual St. Baldrick’s Day is coming in March . It’s a great cause that raises money for childhood cancer research. They take great care of the funds raised by volunteers and supporters to direct every possible dollar to carefully selected research grants. They don’t throw the money away on needless red tape. The signature head-shaving event will be held at several local businesses in the Land Park area. Giovanni’s Pizza and Florez Mexican Restaurant in the South Land Park shopping center will be hosting events as well as New Helvetia Brewery on Broadway.
Giovanni’s Pizza will host their annual head shaving event on Sunday March 23rd at 1:00 pm. It’s a cause close to the owners hearts since their son, Lucas Luigi, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed at the age of 5 with Stage IV neuroblastoma cancer – a cancer of the nervous system. The original tumor was attached to his adrenal gland and wrapped around many of his vital organs. by the time they found it, the cancer had spread to several other locations in his body, and his bone marrow was 90% cancer cells. He is 12 years cancer free! This year as his senior class project at CKM, Lucas will be organizing the entire event. It will be a family affair because his mother Jean Luigi, her husband, as well as Lucas will be getting their heads shaved for this year’s St. Baldrick’s Event at Giovanni’s. Lucas and his brother Jake have been shaving their heads for the past 12 years in an effort to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Florez Bar & Grill will be hosting their first St. Baldrick’s event all day long on March 15th. Also, New Helvetia Brewery will have their event on that same day, March 15th. Owner David Gull has put together a team and will be getting his head shaved to raise money for St. Baldrick’s. For more info check out stbaldricks.org


Paul Petrovich presents his new proposal to Curtis Park residence at the Sierra 2 Center. Photo by Greg Brown

Paul Petrovich presents his new proposal to Curtis Park residence at the Sierra 2 Center. Photo by Greg Brown

Back in December I told you how the Curtis Park Village project will no longer have a park that was in the original plan. A pond will replace the park. Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer had to be the bearer of bad news at the CPNA meeting.
At the recent Curtis Park Village meeting, developer Paul Petrovich and his trusty sidekick architect Phil Harvey recently presented the proposed changes to a packed house at the Sierra 2 Center. It was standing room only.
I should have brought popcorn and a Coke. It was quite a show.
The meeting was started with Schenirer telling everybody that the proposal has “a lot of pieces down the road.” It will have to go before the Sacramento City Planning Commission and also the Sacramento City Council. In other words, it’s not a done deal.
Schenirer was a great opening act. He assured residents that he would listen to their cares and concerns about the new proposal and that their input was valued. He said, “you will be heard by me and you will be heard by the developer. That’s my commitment to you.”
Then it was Paul Petrovich’s turn. Paul asked, “Can you hear me without the microphone?” The crowd immediately all started to shout out, “No” and “Use the mic.” That’s when Paul said: “Our first controversy”, creating some laughter. It broke the tension in the room.
And that’s how it began. I was transfixed by the whole thing. Petrovich and the active community in Curtis Park have a history. There’s no love lost. There’s a lot of passion and drama with a dose of sarcasm.
Back in June of last year, Petrovich found out the detention requirements for the project had resulted in the existing neighborhood pushing 250,000 gallons of water into the site. He says that destroyed their ability to have the park as they presented it before. Drainage law states that if you have an existing condition, the new developer needs to deal with it.
He showed a visual of Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School’s playground where they have a 4-acre detention basin. Petrovich called it, “Muddy, mucky, and really can’t be used.” So, Petrovich and Company decided against a detention basin.
The new plan is to build a year-round pond. There would also be green space surrounding the pond 100 feet wide and 340 feet long with benches and play structures. Instead of a detention basin like da Vinci has, a retention pond.
They are also required to have a certain amount of park space, and since the project doesn’t have enough park space, they have to pay $1.9 million in Quimby fees, which are costs to a developer in lieu of park space. They hope to use those fees to improve the existing 17-acre-park in Curtis Park. Petrovich called it a “win win.”
Then it was time for questions by the Curtis Park residents.
A couple of residents were concerned about the 20-foot deep pond not having a fence around it. He invited them to go to Natomas or McKinley Park. Then the resident said, “McKinley isn’t 6 feet deep. Petrovich responded by stating, “What’s the difference after 6 feet deep?”
Most of the concerns were about less green space for the Curtis Park Village project. Water is not park; it’s not useable space. I can see why the residents would be concerned and not all that thrilled with the proposed change.
Some residents came up with other ideas to make the project more green.
Dan Pskowski mentioned that all detention basins are not muddy and mucky like the one at Leonardo da Vinci. He pointed out that Banfleth Park at 950 Shamus in South Sacramento has a detention basin with trees surrounding it. He said kids play soccer on it and there’s supposedly no muddy mess.
Petrovich said, they’d look into it.
Another resident asked what other storm water solutions were explored? There are French drains and other Subterranean best management practices they could use in lieu of the retention basin.
Petrovich said “after all the engineering and working with the Department of Utilities, the pond was the optimum solution.”
Another idea was for a couple of little pocket parks. Former Curtis Park President Rosanna Herber said her biggest concerns was Petrovich has added so many more homes and taken away so much green space.
She suggested to Petrovich that he “give us a couple small pocket parks in the development. Maybe even one little pocket park around the heritage tree that everybody has fought to save.”
Herber ended by saying, “I just want everyone to know that the decision maker in this room is that man over there (pointing Jay Schenirer). I don’t believe that Paul Petrovich is going to walk away from this project or build a huge amount of commercial space when with a little more compromise, this could turn out to be great.” The crowd roared its approval.


Freeport Asian Market, a new grocery store on Freeport Boulevard recently held its grand opening. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. Photo by Greg Brown

Freeport Asian Market, a new grocery store on Freeport Boulevard recently held its grand opening. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. Photo by Greg Brown

The line has been drawn on Freeport Boulevard. There’s a new Chinese market on Freeport Boulevard called Freeport Asian Market. It’s right across the street from Ho Chin Chinese Market. A Chinese market throw-down!
The Freeport Asian Market had its grand opening last week and it was anything but grand. When I walked in there was a female teenager behind the register. I had a few questions but she had no answers. Looked to me like she was babysitting two younger siblings, too.
The store wasn’t really stocked to the gills with Asian specialty food. Their hot food section wasn’t so hot. They mostly offered dry goods like dry mushrooms, noodles, and fish. They did have a whole aisle of Chinese treats like umbrella cookies, cream wafers, and rice snacks.
Perhaps they’ll stock up in the New Year.
Then I crossed the street over to Ho Chin, a small Asian mom and pop grocery store with lots of character. Ho Chin is dark, dingy and packed wall to wall up to the ceiling with Chinese groceries. They have it all…even dried octopus and chicken feet for the adventurous eater. Anthony Bourdain wouldn’t bat an eye.
Ho Chin has been at the same location for over 20 years. They even have a kitchen in the back where you can order hot Chinese food to go.
I wanted to ask them what they thought about the new Chinese market across the street. They were crowded on a Saturday morning with long lines of Asian folks stocking up on their favorite Chinese goods. They had no time for some pesky writer.
I seriously doubt Ho Chin is worried about the competition across the street.

People stand in line, waiting for their tasty lunches. Photo by Greg Brown

People stand in line, waiting for their tasty lunches. Photo by Greg Brown

A new food truck has been hanging out at the former Capital Nursery spot on Freeport Boulevard. Move over King of Curls RV! North Border Taco has been parking its food truck in the empty lot for a couple months.
Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Damian Avalos and his mother Maria cook up some tasty Tex-Mex tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas and more. Mom does most of the cooking and taught Damian everything he knows.
The North Border Taco truck has a large array of Mexican food on the menu. They even offer the Southern Boy Taco. It’s beef or pork coupled up with bacon then topped with onions, cilantro, guacamole, and corn. Yeehaw! A taco fit for a good old boy.
Damian told me between orders the best seller is the Taco Truck Taco. And it’s only $1.50! Damian quipped “That’s the Stockton price right there.”
North Border Taco is a brick and mortar inside the Sherwood Mall food court in Stockton. They recently launched the food truck business and are invading Sacramento every week.
Out of nowhere a group of hungry people started to gather and order the Tex- Mex creations. Richard Andaya dropped by to check it out. He ordered the Asada burrito and said it was “awesome”. He added it was “not quite as good as Zocalo’s but much better than Lagarancha’s” as he wolfed down an asada burrito.
North Border Taco will be hanging out every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Freeport Boulevard. Slow down. Stop by. Check it out.

New Helvetia owner David Gull looks over blueprints to the new kitchen. Photo by Greg Brown

New Helvetia owner David Gull looks over blueprints to the new kitchen. Photo by Greg Brown

New Helvetia 2.0 is coming and the food trucks are going. Let’s just call it Phase 2. The brewery on Broadway and 18th will soon be serving up some tasty pub grub to go with the delicious craft beers via a new kitchen. When I dropped by New Helvetia on a Saturday afternoon owner David Gull told me, “We have plans for some burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads. The standard fare you would expect but I think the way the kitchen is being designed, there will be an opportunity to do much nicer stuff as well. We’ll have a couple items on the menu that will push the limits beyond the pub grub.”
I hope it involves bacon.
Gull unraveled the blueprints and showed me how it’s all being planned. The kitchen will be located in a small 400-square-foot room behind the courtyard of the brewery. There will be minor changes to the courtyard like a cut-through window and an overhang to keep the bird droppings off the tater tots. Other than that, the brewery will still have the same feel. “It keeps us essentially like a brewery tasting room that we are now except we don’t have to worry about a food truck now showing up,” Gull said.
Gull added, “We’re not going to have valet parking; we’re not going to have a hostess stand or the vibrating red light gizmos.“ The kitchen will operate much in the same way the food trucks operate. It will stay casual.
The small 400-square-foot room will cost as much to improve as the entire brewery when they first launched it more than a year ago. It‘s a major financial investment. The costs of expanding have skyrocketed. Gull said, “It doesn’t help little guys like us to get our dreams built, but I suppose in the grand scheme of the economy it’s a good thing.”
New Helvetia will also remain a family operation. Gull has brought in his cousin Steve McKay and his wife Rita to handle kitchen duties. They’re both Cordon Bleu trained chefs who live in Hollywood Park. They know the culinary arts.
The kitchen will also allow New Helvetia to expand their days and hours. They’ll add Mondays and Tuesdays; they’re currently closed those days, and they’ll also have lunch hours. Gull hopes to get some of the DMV State workers to walk over, grab some lunch, and maybe a pint once the kitchen is up and running.
And when will the kitchen be up and running? As fast as New Helvetia and the City Of Sacramento can make it happen. And yes, there will be a phase 3 coming to New Helvetia. Stay tuned.
In other brewery news, New Helvetia Brewing Company is having a Name That Buffalo Head Contest. Owner David Gull just came up with the spur-of-the-moment idea after a couple craft beers. Some of the best ideas come after a refreshing pint! Gull purchased the large wooden Buffalo head off eBay. Some of the names have come from Facebook and others via hand written name tags in the brewery. Gull said, “Not sure how we’ll give credit to name tag entries since no one wrote their name or contact info.” So far, the name Lou is the frontrunner. Other suggested names are Woody, Buffy, and Herman, the original brewer at Buffalo Brewing Company.

If you have any local newsy news or items of interest e-mail me. Greg@valcomnews.com

Over the Fence

Brownie’s Lounge now has a drive-through. Well, it did temporarily last week. A guy nick-named “49er Steve” barreled into the adjoining business and crashed through the wall at Brownie’s. He wasn’t a patron. He was wearing a foot cast and had a problem with the gas pedal of his Ford SUV. Don’t wear a cast and drive people! Scott the bartender said, “It sounded like a bomb went off.” He also told me “The jukebox is dead.”
Nooooo! Not the jukebox. The jukebox was full of cool. It was a cavalcade of classic rock. The Who, Doors, Zeppelin to name a few. Even some of your favorite Irish tunes. They have now brought in an Internet jukebox. I’m thinking of starting a Change.org petition to protest! Bring back the old school jukebox. It played CDs. I’m in mourning. Brownie said, “The jukebox is what saved the car from going through the bar and hitting the bartender.” I told Brownie, “I guess no more Clancy Brothers.” Another patron piped in, “It also had Louie Prima!” The good news is nobody was injured. The jukebox actually helped prevent injury because the bar was full of regulars that night. Claire Brownie told me “We can laugh about it now but when I pulled up in front I thought Oh shit somebody might be dead in there”. So next time you’re at Brownie’s Lounge, play some “Crash Test Dummies”.

The Curtis Park Village project is humming along. The orange cones are everywhere in Curtis Park along Sutterville Road. Lots of men in orange, too. The backhoes and excavators are moving and digging dirt… It’s Teichert-mania!
Councilmember Jay Schenirer had to be the bearer of bad news at the recent Curtis Park Neighborhood Association meeting. There will be no park in Curtis Park Village. Huh? What? Are you kidding? 4.3 acres were supposed to be used for a park and drainage. It got to the point where it was mostly drainage and not so much park. It’s not so much Paul Petrovich as it is the city. The City of Sacramento is saying that the area would have to be able to take 250,000 gallons of water during a storm.
What Petrovich is considering is getting rid of the park altogether and making it a water feature. It could be 2.12 acres of water features with benches around it…and more housing. Not a very green solution.
The trade off, according to Councilmember Jay Schenirer, is because Petrovich is no longer doing a park he’ll have to pay Quimby fees and housing fees: 1.9 million in Quimby fees and $2.5 million in housing fees, $4.3 all together and that could be spent on Curtis Park…the park itself.
Then Jay took questions….
One resident mentioned, “It’s a serious trade-off. That $4 million will be spent but that public space will still not be there. If you spend the $4 million on Curtis Park that’s still the only public space to support the new development and the existing neighborhood.”
Schenirer answered by saying the water feature would be a public space with benches, just not green public space. And then the resident mentioned, “Then they’ll have to spray for mosquitos.” Jay retorted, “Always look at the glass half full.” Jay just wanted to give everybody a head’s up that this was coming. He didn’t have all the details and all the answers because he had just been informed about it. Curtis Park resident Rosanna Herber said, “One thing that concerns me is that things get chipped away like the street that was in front of the park that got taken away because we want to make sure the kids have an easy way to get over to the park and play. Losing that road was a significant benefit for Petrovich but not so much to the people who will be living there. She added, “This is what bothers me. Now we have this change, now we’re making another change, and it’s a slow whittling away of the benefit that we’re trying to keep in the development.”
“I think people need to see the stuff we continue to lose as this gets dragged out.”
I wonder if Paul Petrovich will suggest a gigantic metallic soaring eagle or maybe a giant silver metallic unicorn where water shoots out the horn. Stay tuned because I have a feeling this whole thing ain’t over.

Following up on a story I mentioned last week in Over The Fence, Mexican grocer Mercado Loco is vacating their location at Franklin and Sutterville. When the lease runs out, a CVS will be moving in. A lot of neighborhood folks were caught off guard by the news. Some were outraged. It’s even sparked a Change.org petition online. So far over 355 people have signed it. Will it make a difference? Some of the neighborhood locals hope so. One of the petition signers was Gretchen Steinberg who said: “I’d rather people be able to walk to their local store to get fruits and vegetables than hobble over there to get overpriced junk and medicine designed to counterbalance poor access to fruits and vegetables. C’mon Sacramento — follow through on your ‘Farm to Fork’ principles that you touted earlier this year!” Magic Munson added: “It is important to me because too many smaller businesses are forced out of business by these larger companies. Being a small business owner who can see Mercado Loco from my business window, I don’t want to look at a CVS.“
If you have any news or items of interest feel free to e-mail me. Greg@valcomnews.com.