The Painted Table catering kitchen will expand into a full restaurant in February 2019. Image via The Painted Table

published on December 14, 2018 - 3:45 PM
Written by Edward Smith

A catering service that once went to you is now hoping you come to them when they open up their spot in the Tower District to the public.

Owners at The Painted Table are expecting to open a restaurant at their location at Wishon and Olive avenues around February 2019, according to Jeromie Hansen, managing partner for the company. It will be out of the same location as the catering company’s kitchen, where they’ll still be preparing daring meals for events up and down the state.

What Hansen envisions is a French-bistro style dinner spot for people before they start their Tower night out, filling a niche for a quiet sit-down restaurant that isn’t “too stuffy.”

It won’t be French in terms of food, but rather in atmosphere. He hopes to serve “small bites and beautiful desserts” for people in a relaxed environment.

For the catering end of the company, small bites have always been a reliable revenue stream. Dishes including miniature short ribs, tomato compote or crispy duck wings can give guests options without being overwhelming.

He got the vision from his own experience at restaurants when perusing menus and ultimately choosing from the appetizer menu. It’ll be more on the comfort-food spectrum, Hansen added.

“You’re not coming to get a plate of nachos, that’s not us,” he said. “If we do nachos, it’ll be like lobster nachos, or something very ‘gastro-pubby’ – something my chefs will be interested in doing.”

Handmade items are their specialty, Hansen said, with fresh desserts a favorite.

One of the notable dishes Hansen wants to serve at the restaurant is short ribs braised in port-wine atop Gorgonzola polenta. It wouldn’t be too much to also order their Sambuca prawns with arugula aioli or Crab-Louie salad and sourdough bread bowl. Then it can be finished off with carrot cake topped with coconut and pineapple.

The space isn’t too big – Hansen plans for no more than 20 tables. But the goal is to fill the need for a quiet place In Tower for those who might want to ease into their evening before heading into the loud atmosphere of clubs like Fab or Bobby Salazar’s.

Their location near The Tower Theater also gives them access after-show crowds seeking to “decompress.”

Amidst their growing clientele keeping them busy with 10-20 events a week, Hansen and his husband Rodney made the decision to expand when their accountant told them they needed to put their location in Tower to better use. For both of them, the catering side of their business has allowed them to expand.

“It carries the load of many things,” Hansen said.

Hansen said he and Rodney are no strangers to new ventures like these.

When they wanted to add burgers to their menu, they took over the Brown Bag Burger Bar in Caruthers. Chefs from their company went there to train, Hansen said. And when the PBS show “Valley’s Gold” did an episode on beef, it featured the burger bar, growing excitement around the restaurant.

“It ended up being way too busy of a project for us,” said Hansen. “We were growing in our catering company, we were growing at the burger bar, so we had to make a choice and we closed that down.”

The Painted Table recently won the International Catering Association’s Signature Caterer for Best Event award for a dinner held at the Forestiere Underground Gardens. They were also invited to be members of the Leading Caterers of America, which only has 62 members in the United States. The LCA only allows one company in each region, meaning they essentially represent the entire Central Valley.

Hansen compares himself to a dog with a bone when it comes to business – unrelenting.

“We don’t give up,” he said. “When we hit a wall, we go in a different direction.”

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