Former King Kenny Thomas on his new restaurant and competition on K Street

The former Sacramento Kings player is co-owner of El Rey taqueria, which is scheduled to open Aug. 11 near the Golden 1 Center. More than 30 new bars and restaurants are set to open in area in the near future.
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The former Sacramento Kings player is co-owner of El Rey taqueria, which is scheduled to open Aug. 11 near the Golden 1 Center. More than 30 new bars and restaurants are set to open in area in the near future.
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Business & Real Estate

Grand opening set for El Rey restaurant on K Street

By Chris Macias and Dale Kasler

cmacias@sacbee.com

August 24, 2016 02:34 PM

Downtown’s Golden 1 Center is just weeks away from its grand opening, and one of the major restaurant projects planned near the Sacramento Kings’ new arena is set for its own debut. El Rey taqueria, at 711 K St., will open to the public at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31.

The ownership team behind El Rey includes Kenny Thomas, the former Kings power forward, along with Sacramento restaurateur Trevor Shults and local nightclub maven Bob Simpson. El Rey, which translates as “The King” in Spanish, is part of a 14,000-square-foot development project at K Street’s Ochsner Building. Two additional restaurants, including the Irish pub-styled Malt & Mash, are also being developed at the space and are expected to open in the following weeks.

The opening of El Rey is helping to usher in a slew of new food and drink options debuting near Golden 1 in the following months. By the end of 2017, more than 30 new restaurants and bars are expected to open along the K Street mall and its adjacent areas. Among them are up to nine more food and drink vendors on the 700 block of K Street and a “culinary concourse” with 10 operators at the D.O. Mills Bank Building at Seventh and J streets. Another eatery announced plans this week to locate in Downtown Commons, the plaza adjacent to the arena.

Estelle’s Patisserie, a bakery at Ninth and K streets, said it’s moving to a space next to the new Kings arena and the Sawyer, the hotel tower the Kings are building. Estelle’s made the announcement in a posting on Facebook.

The bakery said it will close its K Street location next Wednesday and reopen next spring at Downtown Commons, also known as DoCo. “Loyalty from customers like you has fueled continued growth, making a move to a new facility necessary,” Estelle’s announced.

The bakery becomes the fifth restaurant set to open at the site formerly down as Downtown Plaza. The others are Punch Bowl Social, Sauced BBQ, Popbar and State Fare Kitchen and Bar.

A block over from the arena, El Rey is being positioned as a high-energy Mexican restaurant catering to crowds heading to and from Golden 1, which opens Oct. 4 with a sold-out concert by Paul McCartney. El Rey’s menu focuses on tacos with a range of fillings, including slow-braised beef and pork, and seafood. Prices per taco are expected to run between $3.50 and $5. El Rey’s drink menu will specialize in mezcal, the smoky agave-based spirit, with house-made cocktails priced between $7 and $11.

El Rey will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will be closed Sundays.

For more information, visit: www.elreyonk.com/.

Chris Macias: 916-321-1253, @chris_macias