The Downtown Club is reopen and you don’t need a membership to eat there now.
After closing in February due to falling membership and growing debt, new owners have reopened the Downtown Club restaurant at 2120 Kern St. It’s open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
Much of the restaurant looks exactly the same. It’s still got the bright and airy feel, and a quiet atmosphere perfect for talking business. The new owners have kept some of the old menu items, including the steak salad and the club sandwich. Some of the staff have been rehired too, including a chef of 35 years, and Karl, the smiling doorman and valet (whose shoe shine business has moved to the Patterson building on the mall, by the way).
What’s different? The prices have been lowered so most are between $11 and $14. And they’ve added some new dishes to the menu, including a popular grilled chicken fatoush salad, a salmon BLT and a Mediterranean veggie plate. The menu will continue to evolve. The bar isn’t open yet, but will be as soon as the business gets its liquor license.
This time around, it’s not a board of directors, but a group of investors running the show. Nick Farid — who will probably come by your table to chat if you eat there — is one of several partners who bought the building and the business. They also bought a struggling business in Selma and turned it into what is now Famous Shish Kebab. They bought a closed restaurant in Fowler and opened Kebab City there.
There’s another new business going in next door. Remember Mabel’s Kitchen? Her old location closed, but she’s gearing up to serve breakfast and lunch in the former Kern Street Coffee space. I’ll keep you updated on that one as she gets closer to opening.