Famed Sacramento Chef Oliver Ridgeway to Headline Camden Spit & Larder - Food & Beverage Magazine

Famed Sacramento Chef Oliver Ridgeway to Headline Camden Spit & Larder

Where Sacramento Bounty Meets Modern British Eatery

Officially open as of December 1 at 555 Capitol Mall in Downtown Sacramento, Chef Oliver Ridgeway, formerly of Grange Restaurant & Bar with an international pedigree prior, debuts Camden Spit & Larder, a modern eatery dedicated to showcasing the pristine ingredients of the surrounding California region served with proper, convivial British hospitality. With a bold design informed by a contemporary haberdashery, bustling bar scene, ample alfresco seating, prime private dining facilities, and a refined sensibility with British swagger, Sacramento welcomes its hottest new dining destination.

The Chef

Chef Oliver Ridgeway Returns with a Concept All His Own

Arguably one of the most acclaimed chefs in Sacramento, Chef Oliver Ridgeway’s seven-year tenure at the Sacramento Bee four-star Grange Restaurant & Bar encompassed six years leading Outstanding in the Field, two times helming the coveted annual Bridge Dinner, and three years at the annual Pebble Beach Food + Wine festival. Long championing the rich bounty of Sacramento, Ridgeway has become known for his reverence of local ingredients, treated with the whimsy and innovation of a skilled imagination, and the technique and sophistication honed during his international pedigree in such kitchens as the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, the Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Liner, Paul Prudhomme’s K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen, and Santa Fe’s lauded Anasazi Restaurant.

Camden Spit & Larder marks Chef Ridgeway’s first fully-realized, chef-driven restaurant deriving personal inspiration from his London-born roots, while crafting a cosmopolitan eatery dedicated to a modern interpretation of the Northern California growing region.

The Menu

A True Sacramento Establishment, Inspired by Cosmopolitan London Brasseries Featuring Innovative Expressions of the Region’s Pristine Ingredients

A continuation of Chef Oliver Ridgeway’s hallmark food ethos sourcing pristine ingredients from the surrounding area, the menus are reflective of sustainability and seasonality, celebrating the Northern California growing region, while honoring his British roots. The restaurant’s name references the spit-roasted meats that are central to the menu, with an abundance of seasonally-inspired sides, while Ridgeway looks to Sacramento’s bounty as his larder, or “pantry,” for supreme ingredients. Ridgeway’s goal with the menus is to give people an opportunity to experience things they’ve never tried before in an unpretentious, approachable way.

Celebrating the best local produce and proteins with Ridgeway’s quintessential whimsy and innovation, dishes include, Vegan Mushroom Pate with pickles, mustard and grilled bread; Wagyu Steak Tartare with fermented horseradish, cured egg yolk, oyster aioli and Worcestershire potato chips; Whole Grilled Trout with smoked delicata squash, shallots and roasted almond and raisin agrodolce; Charred Broccoli with black garlic soubis, confit carrots, green olives and chermoula; and Double Cut Rack of Pork with creamed spelt, Belgian endive, pine nut and pickled grape glace. Some British accents slip into the repertoire with highlights including Sausage Rolls with proprietary pork sausage, hot English mustard, curried ketchup and house pickles; Salt Cod Fritters with malt mayonnaise, charred lemon and living watercress; and Roast Rib of Beef with fermented horseradish, Yorkshire pudding and beef jus. Local Caviar will always be on offer, accompanied by mini crumpets, crème fraiche and chives; and shareable sides include such delicacies as Chicken Fat Rice with green onions, chicken cracklins and black garlic; and Sea Salt Fingerling Fries with malt vinegar mayo.

The lunch menu features additional robust salads, like a Capitol Caesar and Kale Cobb, and memorable sandwiches, like the CS&L Burger and Oliver’s Fish Sandwich. For a trusty business lunch, the “Dine & Dash” option includes a daily soup selection, simple salad, daily baguette and seasonal spritzer, with the check presented at time of order to ensure a timely return to the office.

The Design

Modern-Day Haberdashery with Handcrafted Quality and a Sense of Humor

In the skilled hands of Brendan Koon, principal of the San Francisco and Sacramento-based VITAE Architecture Planning Interiors, Camden Spit & Larder welcomes guests with a subversive and high-minded aesthetic. Koon found the design concept to be buried within Chef Ridgeway’s origin story, when his father was once a tailor in London before becoming a restauranteur. “That small, intimate little tidbit from his roots seemed to me to parallel his attention to detail and elevated flavors, his quiet personality and his ability for refinement in the simplest of ingredients,” explained Koon. Inspired by the modern-day, high-fashion London haberdasheries of Savile Row, the large space features bold and vibrant mixed prints, rich textures, custom chandeliers, banquettes in deep blues and blood reds, chevron-patterned hard wood floors in taupe and black, modern Windsor chairs, pressed-tin ceilings, walls of mirrors, and exposed concrete and beams. The layers of pattern, fabrics, textures, and tiles are, in combination, both intentionally cheeky and intellectual.

A highly tactical design concept, the dining experience is meant to be as uniquely custom as a visit to a high-end tailor. The furniture is imbued with a more intimate, residential feel, with custom pieces by design veteran Rich Starley IDS. While the shapes are all familiar – the parsons table, the Windsor chair, the wingback chair, the ottomans and servers – each is skewed in its own unique way. Similarly, the combination of fabrics and patterns – pinstripes, plaids, houndstooth, wingtip, patent leather – are all derivatives of men’s suiting, but reinvented into dining chairs, stools, banquettes, tables, tile patterns and the like.

The black-stained, sculpted wood bar is punctuated by recessed paneling textured with a series of 9,214 buttons, with seating areas showcasing large wing-backed chairs in madras plaid and black leather with nail-head detailing, three styles of tufted-backed leather stools at the counter, and grained-porcelain flooring laid in a wingtip pattern. Setting the tone for a bit of sophisticated humor, an exterior window will display a wild boar, aptly named, Winston, enjoying a gin martini and dressed in a two sizes too small pinstripe suit on a houndstooth vespa.  Artwork throughout the restaurant may lean towards the controversial. Echoing Chef Ridgeway’s cuisine, the timeless, hand-crafted quality of all design elements will be filled with twists on the familiar.

The Beverage Program

Playful Beverage Program Blending Classic Sophistication with Innovative Approach and Seasonal Ingredients

Just as Chef Ridgeway’s menu showcases the best of the region, so too does Camden Spit & Larder’s cocktail menu feature familiar classic quaffs reinvented with the use of seasonal produce and boutique spirits. Featuring an eclectic mix of gin offerings from around the globe, including Sacramento, Vermont, England, Spain and Scotland, house gin & tonics will be paired with the likes of fresh pear, juniper berries & thyme and persimmon & cracked pepper to name a few. The S&L Pimm’s Cup gains intrigue with Tito’s, house-made Pimm’s, Junipero, cucumber, mint, lemon and ginger; while the Triple Nickel Martini layers Tanqueray No. Ten, Fino, orange bitters and local caviar. The Full Monty features Mi Campo Tequila, pomegranate, cardamom, Maurin Quina and lime and Trade Route showcases Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Hine, Amaro de Angostura, cinnamon and lime. Another standout will be the Larder Old Fashioned complete with Eagle Rare, Demerara and bitters.

At the helm of Camden Spit & Larder’s bar program is Bar Manager, Brett Heyer.  While working simultaneously with Ryan Seng and Oliver Ridgeway at Grange Restaurant & Bar, Brett flourished to find his own style and love for creative, obscure and beautiful cocktails. While his creativity and speed are impressive, his level of knowledge is what separates him from the crowd.

Serving as both Beverage Director and General Manager, seasoned restaurant professional Kenneth Turner joins the Camden Spit & Larder team following years of experience in the Sacramento Area. Prior to working alongside Ridgeway at Grange Restaurant & Bar, Turner was the partner of a local brewpub, which eventually grew its beer distribution countrywide. He made a brief foray into the mortgage industry before realizing his true passion was hospitality and reconnecting with Ridgeway to launch Camden Spit & Larder.

The Destination

Capitol Mall Welcomes First Chef-Driven, Independent Restaurant Concept

Once purely a business address, the Capitol Mall neighborhood is, with the recent introduction of the Golden 1 Center, the latest up-and-coming Sacramento destination to feature an influx of dining, shopping, cultural and entertainment attractions. Hot on the heels of the arena’s opening, ushering in highly-anticipated concerts and games, the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel opened with a new outpost of Las Vegas’ Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse, in addition to surrounding hotspots including Punch Bowl Social, Sauced, Pressed Juicery and Estelle Bakery & Patisserie.

Peppered with Jeff Koons sculptures and ample outdoor space, there has also been a genesis of businesses adopting a more amenity-rich, lifestyle/work approach with activated street-scapes. Key among them, 555 Capitol Mall, which serves as the home of Camden Spit & Larder, and also sits adjacent (and 147 steps!) to the VIP entrance to the arena. Similar to the evolution of Downtown Los Angeles, Sacramento is ushering in a new leisure destination for locals and tourists alike.

The Larde

Camden Behind Closed Doors

Camden Spit & Larder’s private dining room, The Larder, serves as an extension of the restaurant available for special events, private celebrations, groups and meetings. The Larder seats up to 32 people with patio access, fully serviced by Chef Oliver Ridgeway.

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