We're running a monthly series called "Food for Thought," in-depth conversations with groundbreakers who run farms, restaurants, wineries, breweries and bars around California and are shaking up the way we eat and drink.
Our second talk is with a couple of "empire builders" in the region's restaurant scene: Chris Jarosz of Broderick Roadhouse fame and Garrett Van Vleck, one of the partners in the Shady Lady crew. Neither of them are top chefs or award-winning bartenders, but they sure know how to build brands and turn concepts into drink and dining hotspots.
Listen to Jarosz and Van Vleck talk about how their pasts, presents and futures, where they're rolling out the next phases of their dining empires, and how they manage all these places without losing their sanity.
* O to 4:40 min - Intro to California Groundbreakers
* 4:40 min - "I'm Garrett Van Vleck and I'm an exotic dancer . . . " - the panelists introduce themselves
* 9:10 min - A drifter with tattoos and "jail time" - Chris Jarosz's back story
* 21:25 min - Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . the childhood home that comprises 1.5 percent of all land in Sacramento County - Garrett Van Vleck's back story
* 27:30 min - "Either they're going to be okay over there, or they might be dead" - turning derelict buildings in not-so-great locations during the Great Recession into today's hot spots
* 37 min - "When someone walks into a place, they should look around and say, 'I know what this is'" - turning a concept into a fleshed-out establishment
* 45:30 min - "I spent two years saying 'I can fix this' . . . and the next thing you know, I'm almost $1 million in debt" - biggest failures, and biggest lessons learned from them
* 56:45 min - "We argue about every little detail, all day, every day" - the Shady Lady crew branching out from bars to food-focused spots
* 1 hr, 1:25 min - "People are coming through from all over the world and the message when they go home [should be], "Holy shit, Sacramento is pretty bad ass" - Chris J. branching out into the 'burbs and into the State Capitol
* 1 hr, 13:15 min - "Keep it small" - Garrett V.V's top advice for aspiring restaurateurs
* 1 hr, 16:40 min - "For what we deal with in our lives, I think we need to be more appreciative and value every day that we have" - Chris J. on the Marines and the military
* 1 hr, 21:45 min - "They kept going after me" - what made Garrett V.V. take the plunge
* 1 hr, 24 min - "He does not like Davis. He will never go to Davis." - how to pick locations outside Sacramento to open up a new place
* 1 hr, 28: 45 - "There were 30 restaurant permits pulled recently in the City of Sacramento area alone, and we're all thinking, 'Oh shit, how are we going to get through this?'" - camaraderie vs competition in the business
* 1 hr, 32:35 min - "A lot of us are standing on the sidelines and waiting to see what happens over the next couple of years" - would you open up your next place in Sacramento today?
* 1 hr, 38 min - "I'll never forget the first time we started putting on the menu, 'This cocktail was made by this bartender'" - the cocktail-creation process
* 1 hr, 42:25 min - "At the time, he was running around with a shotgun, trying to take out food trucks. I have the bullet holes to prove it." - how being a restaurateur is kind of like being a politician
* 1 hr, 47:45 min - "Joe's Crab Shack is the highest-volume restaurant in the entire city" - can Old Sacramento ever become the city's next hot spot?