Thursday, July 24, 2014

Little Prague bids farewell; Pizza, subs to fill Dimple


From page A12 | July 13, 2014 |

After 22 years, Little Prague Bohemian Restaurant will serve its last meals Sunday. The Farmer’s Wife Bakery portion of the business will close as well. Old Soul Co. is leasing the restaurant, courtyard and bar at 330 G St.

Little Prague will offer brunch Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. Reservations are suggested: 530-756-1107.

“Please show your support and share one last meal with our family,” owners Eva and Vaclav Burger said Tuesday in an email to their customers.

“We have truly enjoyed being a part of so many first dates, proposals, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, family gathering(s), and unique occasions allowing people to come together at our tables. We appreciate you all.”

The Burgers have purchased a restaurant on Kauai and are moving there in semi-retirement, a news release said. One of their sons lives in Hawaii and the other is in Davis.

Eva Burger said she wasn’t ready to comment until now. “I am still heartbroken,” she told me, noting that sometimes life brings challenges.

“We built Little Prague, with our hands, with love, and with our money for the last 22 years. Every time we saved, we put money in that property.”

The Burgers emigrated from Czechoslovakia with baker Sue Brady as their sponsor. They helped Brady turn Farmer’s Wife Bakery into a small, after-hours restaurant serving Eastern European fare. Their combined success helped the businesses move from West Davis to downtown, replacing Blue Mango restaurant in 1994.

There were many more successes: In 1999, the Burgers celebrated the remodeling of the outdoor patio, which coincided with their inductions as U.S. citizens. On March 28, 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had lunch at Little Prague. In 2009, when the Salvation Army Thrift Store vacated its space next door, building owners Grant and Grace Noda allowed an expansion that added a full bar.

The property includes 5,900 square feet of buildings and a 3,000-square-foot patio. It is being leased by Old Soul Co., a Sacramento-based café, coffee roaster and bakery, which could open in late November. Plans are to turn it into a bistro-style café and bar. The bar, called The Handle Bar, will feature 16 rotating taps of local beers.

It will be Old Soul’s first full bar and complete kitchen, allowing it to add depth beyond its Sacramento offerings, co-owner Tim Jordan said. Plans include more than $25,000 in cosmetic improvements to create Old Soul’s modern and industrial look, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Jordan and co-owner Jason Griest spent two years looking in Davis, watching several deals fall through. They are excited about the location and outdoor seating, and hope to draw the non-college crowd.


Two fast-casual chain eateries will open in the former Dimple Records space at 212 F St., likely by year’s end.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, a build-your-own artisanal pizza chain, and hot sandwich specialist Firehouse Subs will lease the spot.

The Blaze Pizza concept is similar to Chipotle, where customers follow along an assembly line as their pizza is made. The menu includes pizzas and salads, including gluten-free and vegan cheese options. It plans to offer wine and craft beer as well.

When the pizzas are assembled, they are run through an open-flame oven and baked for three minutes or less. Jim Mizes, chief operations officer for Blaze, said in a news release: “We’re looking forward to offering local residents artisanal ‘fast-fire’d’ pizzas in the time it usually takes to reheat a slice.”

Founded in 2011 by the family that owns Wetzel’s Pretzels, its backers include basketball superstar LeBron James, former California first lady Maria Shriver, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and movie producer John Davis. Blaze has eateries in California and the Midwest, with a large number in Southern California. Its closest restaurant is a new one in Fremont.

It is set to open six restaurants in Northern California, including Roseville, Gold River, San Jose and another to be announced.

Firehouse Subs is another fast-growing chain. Founded in the mid-1990s by brothers and former firefighters Chris and Robin Sorensen, the restaurant’s sandwiches include meat and cheese steamed together (or cold) and served on a toasted, private-recipe roll. Tuna or chicken salad are the only two that always come cold. Other offerings include chopped salads, chili, chips and a touchscreen soda fountain. It just released a new “Under 500 Calories” menu of subs and salads.

Firehouse Subs has more than 770 restaurants in 41 states. The only other Northern California location is at 3830 Truxel Road in the Natomas Marketplace. Another is planned in Folsom.

The company has a foundation that has given more than $10 million to public safety entities, a spokeswoman said.


Vini Wine Bar celebrates its second anniversary on Tuesday. It’s at 611 Second St. Meanwhile, owner Jeff Day began efforts last week to open a Vini Wine Bar in midtown Sacramento. I’m sure he’ll keep me posted.


Razor’s Edge Barber Shop is back in business in its new space, 130 G St. in the Depot Building, after being displaced. Owner Sukh Banwait said he “only lost two days of business during the transition, which is awesome.”

The shop was one of several displaced from the building at Third and G streets, which is being redeveloped.

In an email last week, he said, “The city of Davis and the community really stepped up in my situation. I cannot believe the support I received. …. The connection I feel with this city right now is something really special, and I am gonna do everything I can to make this the great community even better.”


Its former neighbor, Jeeba Jewelry, moved to 231 G St., in the adjacent Court ’N Cedar courtyard.


The Root of Happiness Kava Bar was scheduled to open on Saturday. It’s at 211 F St. in the E Street Plaza.

Filled with comfy couches, tables and bar stools, the lounge’s hours are 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Kava, a traditional Polynesian, non-alcoholic root prepared as a tea, is touted for calming, anxiety- and pain-reducing effects. It has a bitter, spicy, peppery flavor that makes your mouth tingle. Although not required by law, Lewin said they check IDs and serve only to those 18 and over.

Nugget Markets will provide premade food, including salads, wraps, sandwiches and fruit bowls. An upstairs area will remain closed until more changes are complete.


Velocity Island Park, a water park that allows participants to waterski without a boat, is scheduled to open on Thursday, its Facebook page announced. It’s at Dubach Recreation facility, 755 N. East St., in Woodland, just off of Highway 113.

According to its website,, a cable pulley system allows participants to ski, wakeboard, wakeskate, kneeboard and more. Up to six riders can go around the lake at a time. There’s a sand beach, volleyball, cabanas and a bar. Paddle boarding will be offered from 8 to 10 a.m. The rest of the park will be open daily from 11 a.m. to sunset. Summer camps and instruction will be available. Passes are for two hours, four hours, all day or all season.

— Wendy Weitzel is a freelance writer and editor in Davis. Her column publishes on Sundays. Throughout the week, watch her Comings & Goings Facebook page. If you know about a business coming or going in the area, contact Wendy at

Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing, marketing and design.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Rich RifkinJuly 10, 2014 - 10:15 pm

    "Two fast-casual chain eateries will open in the former Dimple Records space at 212 F St., likely by year’s end." ............. I'm aware Blaze plans to tear off the front facade of that building and move it back several feet to allow more 'outdoor dining space' near the sidewalk. I was asked by city staff if 212 F Street maintains its historic integrity as it is. (That does not imply one way or the other that the building has historic merit. However, if a building has lost its historic integrity, chances are almost certain it would not have historic merit for preservation purposes.) Although I have lived in Davis most of the time since 1965 (when I was a one-year-old), I am not sure if its facade dates back to the late-1950s (when the county records say it was built) or not. My guess, though, is that its front windows were all replaced--they look 1980s-ish to me. The front glass door, too, looks newer than the rest of the building. And it's also almost certainly the case that the semicircular shade structure over the exterior vestibule is not historic. For those reasons, my guess is that this structure has lost its historic integrity. .............. All that said, if any long-time Davis residents who know what it looks like now and know what it looked like in the 1960s or before can comment here (or email me), I'm interested to know what you know about that facade, and whether it retains its essential elements or not in your opinion. Even if it does, that does not mean this project will be held up or altered. But for historic purposes, it would be helpful to have a complete record.

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  • Jesse SkeenJuly 10, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    It's just sad that another record store couldn't have moved in there, as that building has been a record store since Rainbow Records in 1987.

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  • Matt BryantJuly 14, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    I played tennis with the children of the little prague owners and I was never invited with open arms to share a meal with their family like the residents of Davis claim to be, or the readers of the Enterprise. In fact, the owner showed only outward hostility to my mother because I was freakishly tall and could beat their youngest son, who played year round while I only played 2-3 months out of the year, so she, as a single mom never felt wanted to take me there (I offered that place as a food destination so many times growing up, and as a kid I couldn't understand why my mom wouldn't want to go, but as a grown up, I totally emphasize with her not wanting to give money to a business owner who fosters unhealthy competitive environments) As for the dimple record place, Downtown Davis seems to be facing the change that faced NYC's old downtown south street seaport. The community should get ready for plenty of new businesses trying out that space, chains can afford to loose money in small towns though, so traditional signs of small business success won't apply. I think the Pizza and Sub market is a bit saturated though so this does seem like a waste of space.

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  • PCJuly 14, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Matt, you did not miss out on anything. The food was terrible at this restaurant and the service was not much better.

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  • Clay BrandowJuly 14, 2014 - 10:58 am

    Wendy -- Really sorry to see that Little Prague is closing. All the best to Eva and Vaclav in their new adventure. -- Clay

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