Wednesday, July 30, 2008

boycott good eats, obvs

Over dinner at Queen Sheba my dining companions and I were talking about what can be done to help out Corti (besides offering to help him move some vintage port....into my mouth). I'm going to write a letter to the mayor to call her attention to the situation and urge the city to contact him and see if he needs help. Can anybody think of anything else? Where the hell can he move? It's got to be an existing building or he's going to be closed for months. As soon as I get paid I'm going to go blow a bunch of money there. He has my favorite cheap sherry there (La Gitana) among a million other things. Oops, looks like the mayor has already stepped in. I'll send her a letter congratulating her on that, I guess, but now I feel like I can't help at all. There's some good comments on this one. I like the idea of the secret Comptons becoming a Corti Bros. Hell, I love that idea. But I think that Comptons does ok.

I had one of the most enjoyable dinners of my life on friday night at Waterboy. He's got a new menu. Cash in your change at coinstar and go eat there as soon as you can. I've really done that before. I got the skewer of grilled lamb and housemade herbed potato sausage, with polenta and vegetables and the combo of flavors was wonderful. The gulf shrimp salad with chickpeas was also a standout. I want to go back and try the Early Girl tomato gazpacho.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.sacbee.com/103/story/1119168.html

Here's a pretty nice follow up

M. H. said...

How about urging the mayor to subsidize Corti's rent? I would consider Corti's to be a strong revitalizing force. It sounds like the only obstacle to his reopening somewhere else is the possible rent hike a new landlord would require. If the city subsidizes businesses like IMAX and god knows what else, why not a viable healthy business that makes Sacramento worth living in?

Liv Moe said...

Yes! I was thinking the same thing! Shit, the city considered subsidizing a corporate theatre chain to move in across the street from the Crest at one point. How 'bout we shift gears for a change and put money back into our local economy as opposed to undermining our community's small operators.

nick said...

I think the city should subsidize housing for those in need before it goes subsidizing specialty foods retailers.

Should Corti move to Downtown Plaza?

M. H. said...

Yes, Nick, subsidizing specialty food retailers should not take precedence over subsidizing housing for those in need. Mine and Liv's point is that a subsidy for Corti seems like it should take precedence over a subsidy for businesses like IMAX.

Apparently the city does subsidize things besides services for the poor, because they perceive a subsequent benefit for the city. And if they are willing to do so, why not Corti's?

I think somewhere on K Street would be a great location if it weren't for the parking problem. I don't care how loyal Corti's customers are, they like to park when they go grocery shopping. So maybe Downtown Plaza is a good idea! Its always easy to park in the garage there.

Billy said...

Oh and the Crest was subsidized by the city, so they would have no room to complain about another subsidized theater.

Subsidizing a business is usually only considered if said business is moving into an underutilized and/or redevelopment area. The point being to help minimize the risk associated in moving to such and area.

IMO, Downtown Plaza is too much of a risk. It would be interesting, and they're always talking about a Nugget or something similar there. But it would be a shame for Corti Bros. to end up a failed experiment.

Liv Moe said...

Actually, the Crest would have had room to complain. While they were indeed subsidized by the city it was not to the the tune that UA or whatever it was the city was looking to help out was going to be. Also, said chain would have run films that would have directly competed with the Crest's audience if they had been able to even get the same movies. Major corporations have relationships with film companies that the Crest would have had a hard time rivaling. So sure they were helped out but if a competitor was then helped out as well that the Crest couldn't have competed with then what?

Which brings me to another point. Corti's is a locally owned, and operated union establishment. There is a much different investment involved in a situation like that. A large corporation doesn't have as much to loose as a small family owned operator like Corti's or the Crest. In addition to feeling terrible about what's happening to Corti's, it also makes me sad to think about the affect this has on those who work there and they contribution they make to our community.

Anonymous said...

"Over dinner at Queen Sheba my dining companions and I were talking about what can be done to help out Corti"

---

lol.. for a start, you could've bought dinner at Corti's?!

beckler said...

yeah, total lol

Anonymous said...

You guys crack me up. You want the city to give our money to a store that can't compete based on its own business model? Revitalization means bringing in new businesses with the legs to stand on their own. That's what's happening with Good Eats. I shop at Corti's and you can damn well count on me shopping at Good Eats if it offers the same quality food and value. If it doesn't, and it can't pay its rent, then it will go away, too. Can we get real, please?

talkaboutcharles said...

That last comment doesn't even make any sense. They didn't loose their lease from lack of business. They lost their lease cuz the building owner wanted to make more money on rent and there are laws in place that prohibit building owners from jacking up the rent too high too quickly.

Charles

talkaboutcharles said...

Who says Corti's can't compete? They'll be fine just in a crappier building not close to downtown. That sucks for us bike riders and the city.

If revitalization is about ruining Sacramento institutions like Corti Brothers then fuck revitalization.

Charles

beckler said...

OK, let's not turn this into a rants and raves cuz none of us need the aggravation. If this dick wants to shop at Wal-Mart or Save Right or wherever offers the cheapest goods for the buck, then he/she is free to do so. If s/he doesn't understand passion, and local roots, and high standards, and heart supplanting the bottom line, then s/he is a just a robot with a cold, dead soul and we can't really help him/her. Oh wait, did I just kind of turn it into a rants and raves? If so, I'll conclude by calling him/her an asshat and telling him/her to take his/her meds.

Liv Moe said...

all hail the anonymous poster! the value of your convictions are clear as is evidenced by your reluctance to attach your name to your comment.

beckler said...

it's exhausting trying to be gender neutral!

beckler said...

if you think corti's "can't compete" re-read that article from yesterday, carefully. there were some pretty dirty dealings going on. why does this guy need this specific location?

Anonymous said...

I would ask the same question Becky, especially if what an anonymous poster on Liv's blog states - that Good Eats is indeed going into the Andiamo's spot. I've looked around online this morning, but can't find any hard evidence on that claim.

If Good Eats is going into that space, does Teel continue have designs on Corti's space?

There's an obvious shady element to this deal, but it seems that there's still a lot left to be determined.

Dani

Anonymous said...

"Revitalization means bringing in new businesses with the legs to stand on their own."

Like Rite Aid? -Ed C.

Anonymous said...

good eats, two spots.

http://www.goodeatsgrocer.com

nick said...

I would shop at Corti's in the Plaza. Free parking. Easy bike access. Plus, moving to a populated area like Mid/down ensures that they'll make up for lost neighborhood clients, who'd been shopping there for generations and likely encompassed a big chunk of their base.

Corti's in the plaza would also put a new face on Westfield and give them more cred with the community. Maybe people can e-mail Mike Ault and the PR dude at Westfield to plant the seed.

wburg said...

You know where would be a cool place for a new Corti's?

The Greyhound station.

nick said...

True. And since Corti's produce is just so-so, you could have a farmer's market in garage area.

smitty said...

Liv didn't mention that when the city was going to subsidize the theatre across from the Crest, that it would've meant the end of Tower. The Crest might scrape by off music events, but Tower would close (no if and or buts). The new theatre was supposed to have 10 or 12 screens and sadly, that's far more art films than Sacramento wants.

Crappy use of city subsidies is Sacramento's motto. They really need a RiteAid sushi bar where Greyhound is.

Geoff said...

You people will buy into any silly little underdog story.

Like Corti is some feeble old man, incapable of going up against big business.

Like poor little Tower can't help itself, or even try to help itself.

I am thoroughly entertained by you all sticking up for a high-end grocer run by the very wealthy people you're normally scared to death of. And then you're sticking up for the out-of-state corporate slumlords that own the Tower.

When in reality Corti is shopping the city for cheap rent, handouts and sympathy and the international corporate owners of the Tower squashed a potential competitor and did nothing to prove themselves worthy of being protected at all.

Katy said...

Get Good Eats involved in legalese for stealing Alton Brown's good name?

talkaboutcharles said...

No one here sticks up for the Tower beyond the fact that if Reading left, we'd lose a cool old theater, possibly. (i.e. no one has the balls/is-dumb-enough to take up the reins)

Comparing the Tower and Corti's is way off the mark. Tower = NYC corporate jerk-faces. Nobody in -the-know bough the "Save the Tower" bullshit.

Corti's is local and unique and the only place to go for some pretty sweet kinds of meat and wine. I've only been there a few times but I love it. A little something different in a sea of genericness.

Charles "this is our town" Albright

Count Mockula said...

I'm boycotting. Wealthy or not subsidized or whatever... Corti's is an institution and they've treated me well. Good Eats seems to have done some shady dealings behind the scenes to steal the location. It bugs me. And therefore I won't be going, just like I don't go to the old "Little Al's" Rite-Aid.

Anonymous said...

Much as it's true that I'll pay good money for any silly little underdog story without embarrassment or compunction, I think the Corti thing shouldn't be the source of such smug amusement.

In many ways, it seems this Corti story has a similar theme to many others that have occurred recently all over the country. Small businesses failing and/or being pushed out by large. Maybe this particular case is a little different, but it strikes the same nerve.

What I value about Corti's is the sense that they are interested in and love food & wine (and beer). This is why their business exists.

Good Eats, being the product of the man responsible for Raley's, and a technology company entrepreneur and investment banker, are likely jumping into this niche because they think there is money to be made due to increased demand for this kind of distinctly non-Raley's type of market. They're even hiring for the position of director of wine & spirits, which suggests they don't know shit about it themselves.

In one case, the business grows out of an interest and passion in the products purveyed. In the other, a keen business sense has found an area ripe for business opportunity. The exact nature of the business is secondary. In other words, Corti's business is food. M2 Venture Partners business is business. Perhaps there's nothing technically wrong with that, but it is people and their passions and interests that make life interesting to me, not business.

Admittedly, this is all pretty pointless speculation (but isn't that what blogs are for?) I've made assumptions about M2 Venture Partners and the Raley's guy. Maybe the Raley's guy has harbored for decades the desire to sell better products.

Nevertheless the perception that an interesting institution is being pushed out of the way by yet another financially superior lame ass is the source of my (and I suspect others') disappointment/irritation. The fear is that if blind business sense is left to dictate all our shops, goods and services, we will lose all the cool, unique and interesting stuff. And that would suck.
Obviously Corti has some clout and capital, so maybe they'll be fine. Maybe Good Eats will be great, too, who knows (monumentally lame name, though.

JD

smitty said...

Reading (Tower) is trying to help itself. There's no point in investing in a theatre if the city will subsidize competition in another bone-headed attempt to fix up K Street.

Sacramento can't support a 10 screen arthouse theatre that Century offered to build. Hell, that'd be a pain to pull off in San Francisco and everyone involved knows that. My guess is that as soon as Tower shut down, Century would be "forced" to stop only showing niche films.

Nationwide chains and international chains aren't concerned with one city (except there's the un-businesslike NIMBY stuff businesses take personally -- in the theatre world that's NYC), it's a global perspective. Century will try to force Reading into deals in other cities to allow them to keep Tower open.

Reading wants to own the property before they invest. There is some love of the Tower building by Reading. If Reading buys the property, there will be massive changes. I know what their longterm plan is, and I've seen what they want at one of their theatre complexes in New Zealand.

It's like a shopping mall where Tower is the fancypants store that brings people to the mall. Final destination will often be the theatre, but people will go to the Reading owned Tower Cafe, or drink a specialty beer at the Reading owned Joe Martys. The smoke shop and the comic shop will be removed and replaced.

Reading isn't a theatre business. They're a real estate investment firm that uses theatres as a way of bringing in cash flow. They also own a chain of grocery stores in California, some live theatres and some other stuff.

My problem is I like locally owned businesses. I shot myself in the foot by leaving Tower to "run" a locally owned theatre. The verbal promise of job duty, pay and benefits didn't happen, so I left that one too. I'm trapped by my own idealism. That's life.

JD said it right, "if blind business sense is left to dictate all our shops, goods and services, we will lose all the cool, unique and interesting stuff".

M. H. said...

Geoff,

I don't think anyone who has met him thinks of Corti as a feeble old man. Quite the opposite: he's a giant. The reason we are so interested in getting him "handouts" from the city is that for him, the worst case scenario is that he retires at the age of 66. For us, the worst case scenario is that Corti Brothers no longer exists. Similar to the Tower situation...for Reading, they could just pull out of Sac. For us, one of our treasured landmarks might fall into disrepair and eventual destruction.

I don't think we are naive. We just care about the stuff we care about.

Anonymous said...

Bemoaning the triumph/unintrestingness of business-model over local-passion while commenting on a google owned forum instead of a Usenet newsgroup could be construed, no offense, as hypocritical.

Just saying.

-nate

Liv Moe said...

dear nate,

ug.

smitty said...

Nate, has it been more than 20 minutes since someone called you a douchebag? If you think it has been, you should have your hearing checked.

Usenet is getting cut off from the US of A in order to "save the children". ISPs are getting threatened with lawsuits over this so they walk away from usenet. Therefore, I add "ignorant" to calling you a douchebag. You ignorant fuck.

Next time I'm in Sacramento, we can talk about this.

The Armeniac said...

??????????????????? Just saying what?

Anonymous said...

Great argument Nate! That really blew my mind & made me realize that until I'm 0% reliant on any corporation that I should just keep my mouth shut! Thanks!

-miller

Anonymous said...

If your head is far enough up your ass, you can pretty much construe anything as anything.

JD

Anonymous said...

Just tryin' to have a little fun folks.

But your nuanced comments really put me in my place. I'll fall back in line with your historicism and go back to the books. which are up my ass.

--
nate

oh and usenet death pangs were sounded in 1993 with the cavalcade of aol.

beckler said...

I would say that last line was a snap but I have no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

beckler said...

I would say that last line was a snap but I have no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

beckler said...

the dreaded double post! remember when those happened all the time?

Anonymous said...

The real dis was that the responses weren't nuanced enough. That one really stings.

-miller

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9997051-38.html

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found a novel way to shake down law-abiding broadband companies: accuse them of harboring child pornography and threaten to prosecute them unless they do what he wants. That might just happen to involve writing Cuomo a hefty check.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon Communications, AT&T and Time Warner Cable have gone along.

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT GOOD EATS

Corti has been serving sacramento for years. We are soooo lucky to have such a special store in Sacramento.
Teel is just a wanker taking over Corti's hallow ground.