With downtown businesses coming and going, the owner of the new restaurant Our House is striving to bring more class to Davis’ downtown scene.
Set for a June 1 grand opening, owner Charlie Swanson said the restaurant will serve what he calls modern comfort food in a cocktail lounge type environment.
The restaurant will be replacing Aioli’s Bodega Española Restaurant which served Spanish cuisine. Aioli first opened on Second Street in 2006, taking the place of Café California, which closed in 2005. Aioli closed down in February, though the Sacramento location remains open.
The new restaurant is currently undergoing remodeling. Painting was recently finished, while the bar and kitchen are still undergoing construction.
Swanson has lived in Davis since he was five and has been in the restaurant business for 25 years. Swanson has owned The Davis Graduate for the past 10 years and is married to Davis Mayor Pro Tem Rochelle Swanson.
“There’s a lot of things we can’t do at The Grad,” Swanson said. “People having been asking for a place with a good atmosphere for gathering and fantastic appetizers.”
Swanson signed the lease and is partnering to open the restaurant with Jon Sanchez, who is director of operations for the restaurant.
Sanchez is originally from Sacramento and worked as a chef for 16 years, in restaurants such as Victoria Station, Fat City, California Fats, Arco Arena and Tower Café. He has lived in Davis for the past 17 years and is now a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker in Davis.
Sanchez and Swanson first met three years ago. Sanchez’s wife was on the Davis Chamber of Commerce with Swanson, and they became good friends.
At the end of last year, the two began talking about ideas for opening a restaurant. At the beginning of this year, they chose the downtown location for their venture.
“We want to have a relaxing cocktail lounge environment with handmade cocktails,” Sanchez said. “There’s a limited number of lounges in Davis and we really want to open an upscale, nice place.
“It will be called ‘Our House’ because we want everyone to feel at home. It will be family oriented and a good time.”
Though the partners are still developing a menu, Swanson said food should include items such as steak, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, salmon and ribs.
Sanchez said the two want to incorporate local farms’ and ranches’ harvests into the restaurant, even in their fresh cocktails.
Back in March, their signature soup, a cream of five onions, was featured at the 2011 Taste of Davis – an event that features a range of appetizers and drinks from restaurants in Davis.
“There are a few good, solid restaurants in Davis,” Swanson said. “We just really want to bring chef quality food at a semi-reasonable price. I think people would love a classic restaurant with fresh ingredients.”
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at email@example.com.