While the city of
Kaplan, a Sonoma resident, and San Francisco restaurateur opened her latest location in the heart of this iconic wine country town “six weeks” ago and immediately came under fire for what she had done to one of the town’s well-known spaces, Deuce. Kaplan decided the d?cor of Duce didn’t fit her “shack” theme. Although signs of sledge hammers are not apparent she morphed the space with a remodel in mind from casually elegant to one step below Eddie’s Ghetto in
Of course, the town which boasts eateries of an ilk that would make the mouths of
In a town where they arrested a man for having chickens, causing a stir with spaghetti and meatballs might not be so tough to chew. They don’t take things lightly here. So when Kaplan decided – in the course of her remodel- to rip up the front yard gardens of Deuce, delete the roses, and cut down a tree or two, it was a thorn in the side of some of the “locals”.
More obscene, in the eyes of town folk, was Kaplan’s vision for the inside of the building once housing a mortuary where some relatives of the locals where laid to rest. In her quest, I presume, to “shack it up” Kaplan painted the inside of the once oak and mahogany space a deep rose tone- ironic isn’t it? – mixed with a shade of blue-green that in varying degrese of sunlight could be consider, well, horrendous. But her concept is spaghetti shack- the key word being shack. And, she certainly has accomplished that goal. One would be hard pressed to find another operator who could perfect the art of theme by taking a space known for fine dining and transforming it into shack as quickly as Kaplan managed to do. It appears she is a master of conceptual focus through previous concept destruction. The question here is whether or not it will work?
The case study is going to be of interest to every restaurant owner who has ever spent fortunes on high priced interiors, lavish booths and banquets, equipment, lighting and artwork. Add highly paid culinarians and professional waiters, managers, and sommeliers. Tally up the overhead, add the rent, linen, taxes and salaries for musicians and entertainment and running a restaurant in today’s world is a gamble of astronomical proportion.
Kaplan has also fired a shot across the bow of another famous shackster – Mary.
To take the concept full circle, Kaplan has posted her hours next to the entrance of her space on a five-dollar hardware store-hours sign, while not opting for the typical sign announcing closings and opening hours. And, for the piece de resistance, she has posted an employee, in the bike lane of Broadway, holding a sign that reads, “Yes, we’re open”, which in the world of dumbing-down a concept is at the top of the heap.
Will Kaplan’s concept work? Only time will tell. There have been other shacks before, Joe’s Crab Shack, Gump’s Seafood, and Famous Dave’s all began as shack concepts. However, none has perfected shackism as well as Kaplan.
This will be an interesting summer as we watch the Sonoma Spaghetti wars add spice to life in the valley.