The intersection of 4th and Main streets in downtown's Old Bank District has the potential to become a restaurant mother lode. The Medallion multi-use development has signed on Bigmista Barbecue, Sushi Zo and vegan restaurant Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe. In addition, it's expected to be the home of a permanent farmers market.
Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe is set to open any day now with a sugar- , dairy-, gluten-, yeast- and caffeine-free menu. The 150-seat restaurant is owned by Charles Tien and named after his mother, Juliet Tien, who is also the source of its recipes (reflecting her style of "macrobiotic, gluten-free and Ayurvedic cooking with an Asian flair").
On the menu, for example, are the spicy greens rice bowl and "supersnack" cookies. There's indoor and outdoor seating, a bakery section, smoothies and juices, take-away meals and a mini-market.
Meanwhile, Neil and Phyllis Strawder of Bigmista's Barbecue are opening their first restaurant (Bigmista's currently caters and has regular stands at farmers markets). Now the Strawders will have a permanent home for Neil's roster of brisket, spare ribs, rib tips, smoked turkey, links and meat combos. Its opening is expected by the end of the year.
Under construction in the 1,700-square-foot corner space at the Medallion is Sushi Zo, the downtown location of Keizo Seki's sushi bar. The original Palms restaurant is where Seki apportions his omakase, with a strict attitude, pristine fish, warm rice for the nigiri and his own soy sauce.
More restaurants are being courted for Saeed Farkhondepour's reimagined development, which opened three years ago and only recently has drawn retailers. And John Edwards, head of Raw Inspiration, a company that runs 21 farmers markets in Southern California, has been tapped to spearhead a full-time farmers market in a 27,000-square-foot space originally intended for a grocery store.