Magpie’s Happy 15th, April 1 (and we missed the party)
Seasonal and Sacramento Since 2005, 15 Years of Magpie
Magpie Started with a Name
Magpie is named after the endemic yellow-billed magpie (Pica nuttalli), a solid Central Valley name.
Janel and I stumbled on this name while doodling with the Hawaiian word Makai, which means “towards the sea”. Before we set our sites on starting Magpie, we toyed around with the idea opening an island style place that focused on sustainable seafood. We liked the name Makai or Hunakai (hunakai is Hawaiian for sanderling, Calidris alba, a surfbird that migrates from the Pacific Coast of the Mainland to Hawaii). We liked what maikai meant and we liked bird names. After a bit of putting our heads together we decided that mainlanders would never eat poke. (Cut us some slack, it was 2004 after all!) So we put more energy into our other passion- seasonal and local foods in California. We imagined that we would focus on foods of The Central Valley. We would make a cuisine that would be more rustic/less refined than the California Cuisine of other parts of the state. When we plugged some English vowels into the word Makai and out popped Magpie, a bird, and the connection to Sacramento was not lost on us. We got started on Magpie right away. Our name became our road map.
Local style Hawaii food sometimes pops up on our menu without explanation
Magpie’s Original Website was pretty sleek for 2005. Back then most people were still using dial-up. Smartphones weren’t even around for another two years and Facebook was just a pet project on an Ivy League campus. Magpie started with ad in the yellow pages, a website built by a friend, a Costco Credit Card and kitchen on Del Paso Blvd that we rented by the day.
We thought that as a catering company we could do something different and interesting, we wouldn’t offer tomatoes and asparagus in the winter. Check out the original website. When we opened on April 1, 2005 C-Webb, Bibby and Peja were still on their way to the playoffs.
Sacramento is a place in the middle of The Great Central Valley
Being our best Sacramentan is about being a Sacramentan. When we are away from town, what is it that we want to remind us of home? Food trends and food culture aren’t the same thing. We always think about what it might be like to drive through Sacramento and to visit for the first time. What are the memories that a visitor takes back home with them? Do they find the same things that they do in LA or the Bay Area? Or do they feel like they are somewhere different? Does land and culture matter? Or is eating just some part of an international social media driven fast fashion? Is it culture or entertainment?
The Delta Breeze and The Sacramento River connect Sacramento to the Oceans of Earth
Sacramento can be a hot and dry valley town, but the Delta Breeze always reminds us that the ocean is not that far away. The Sacramento River is full of animals that call both the Pacific Ocean and the Central Valley home. When people visit Sacramento they are sometimes shocked to spot sea lions 100 miles from the ocean. They are even more shocked to hear that the Sacramento River has been visited by humpback whales twice in the last 35 years.
Tomato Season Starts 4th of July Weekend
The Restaurant Business is about People. Support restaurant people by supporting Universal Healthcare.
Making foods by hand and serving it is labor intensive. People are important. Magpie is proud to have taken many risks by creating a more progressive relationship between the culinary and service staff members. For folks not in the restaurant business our advice to anyone interested in making the lives of independent restaurant employees better is simple- support universal healthcare for all.
Post by Ed