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Sacramento chef Jason Lockard is drawing up plans to entice customers to his new restaurant and bar, Blue Prynt, expected to open this month.
The 30-year-old will use social media marketing, drink specials and tie-ins to popular community events to attract clientele to a somewhat hidden spot where several restaurants have failed.
Lockard, who has been the chef at Brew It Up! for seven years, is opening his first business inside the Best Western Sutter House at 11th and H streets.
After Sofia restaurant closed in that location last September, Lockard is developing plans for events and specials to coincide with the Second Saturday Art Walk and Friday Night Concerts in the Park at nearby Cesar Chavez Plaza.
"Right now, we're kind of on the edge of everything," he said.
Second Saturday events are concentrated in Midtown. He wants to team up with Naked Lounge across the street to expand Second Saturday events to their area. Lockard is working out logistics to host a farmers market, art show, wine tastings and live music starting at 3 p.m. on second Saturdays.
The market will start small, with a few farmers' stands on a front patio and inside a small banquet room beginning in early April. He said he hopes to get the city's permission to close off the parking lot at 815 11th St. so a larger farmers market can be set up there.
He hopes to hold art show openings featuring as many as four to five artists and set up live bands to play in the evening on Second Saturdays. The Citrus Heights resident is also talking with a local farm to see if the restaurant can be a drop off/pick up spot for residents who want monthly produce deliveries.
The restaurant will offer lunch and dinner with an emphasis on quick, affordable lunches for downtown workers.
The menu of appetizers, sandwiches and entrées includes American and French dishes such as crab cake canapés, a blackened pork tenderloin sandwich, burgers, chicken cordon bleu, flat iron steak, fish and chips, and wild mushroom risotto. Prices currently range from $6.99 to $23.99.
Lockard said he will also promote banquet facilities and happy hour to draw customers to linger after work when downtown often empties.
He hopes to turn Blue Prynt into an after-hours spot to bring customers over from Friday night concerts two blocks away. A DJ or band will provide music. The bar will announce drink specials via social media and pass out fliers at Cesar Chavez Park, he said.
"Those things will snowball real quick if sent to the right people and it's a good enough deal," said Lockard, adding that he may launch Friday night specials before the Concerts in the Park begin in May.
The name, "Blue Prynt," is a nod to one of his two investors, who is an engineer. "Prynt" is spelled with a "y" so a martini glass could take the place of that letter, Lockard said.
His father, 52-year-old John Lockard of Auburn, was at the restaurant last week to help get the place up and running. The interior is undergoing some redecorating, with retextured walls, new light fixtures and new paint featuring blue accents. A small lounge area with two new flat-screen TVs has been set up near one of the two bars.
He expects to hold a soft opening within seven to 10 days, once a liquor license is approved – with a full opening March 21. Hours will be 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. - midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
Lockard has worked in restaurants for half his life – starting out as a 15-year-old dishwasher at Headquarter House in Auburn. He's getting a chance to use everything he's learned to create his own establishment, he said.
"I've seen a few things that work and I've seen a few things that haven't," he said. "I think I know what people want: quality, comfort and good value."
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.