Good Eats, good times

Good Eats, good times

For two local businesses, Saturday’s Good Eats Festival is the perfect time to launch a business

By Carl Kozlowski 09/06/2012

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They say fortune favors the brave. Restaurateur Michael Graves is exemplifying that adage this Saturday when he opens his new restaurant The Side Door with a massive food giveaway in the heart of the Good Eats Pasadena street festival. 
In fact, Graves will be giving away 3,000 bite-size desserts at his festival booth, along with samples of the restaurant’s eclectic menu, which features “Pacific-based cuisine” and includes Asian, Hawaiian, Californian and South American-style items. 
Similarly, Marlee Schroll is also making a bold move at the fest, having a coming out party for her inventive new Wine and Canvas studio two months after its opening at Paseo Colorado. Schroll will be hosting a booth that offers free mini lessons in painting, which results in artworks that participants can take home for free. 
Both business owners, and the fest itself, are positive signs that things are booming in the Pasadena Playhouse District, since the 6th Annual Good Eats is as always produced by the Playhouse District Association. According to Playhouse District Executive Director Erlinda Romo, the day offers foodies an unbelievable array of fun and surprises. 
“One of the things in the Playhouse District that’s exciting is the influx of new restaurants and cafes opening in the next few months, plus we have the Le Cordon Bleu chef school,” says Romo. “We have not only some of our restaurants participating, but individual chefs are bringing in their creations from the Chefs Center kitchen. We have a wide variety of baked goods, beverages, chocolates and confections, international foods, jams and preserves, and a couple of specialty oil vendors, spices and teas.”
Romo also spotlighted the fact that there will be a beer and wine garden managed by Noir Food and Wine, featuring craft beers and wine, as well as jazz musicians playing for patrons. There will also be two chefs as guest speakers, including local favorite Leslie Bilderback of the Arroyo restaurant, plus TV chef Nathan Lyon from the shows “Growing a Greener World” and “Good Food America.”  
But for Graves and his Side Door restaurant, Good Eats Pasadena is the perfect way to throw open his doors to the public, because the fest’s eclectic assortment of treats parallels his own ambitious menu choices. He’ll be operating the restaurant from 4 p.m. each day, focusing on sushi specials as a happy hour destination until 8 p.m. each night before expanding the menu after 8 p.m. for “late night” dining that customers can enjoy while watching musical acts perform on the stage of the Terrace Theater, which houses his establishment.  
Meanwhile, he’ll also be sending a food truck called the Bento Factory out on the streets of Pasadena, offering Japanese food on the fly to people while also performing deliveries and catering on wheels.
“I handle the food license for the Terrace, providing all the food for people as they watch shows,” says Graves, who will also spotlight the theater’s upcoming regular slate of shows by showcasing 10 bands at the fest between 3 p.m. and 2 a.m. “We have food that crosses all dietary needs, but which is fresh from farmers’ markets, with nothing canned or pre-made. And with the fact that we’re a mix of local farmers, food and music, it’s a perfect match with the fest and all the things we’re hoping to do.” 
Schroll is also enthused about the fest’s ability to introduce Wine and Canvas to throngs of new customers. Her spacious studio affords patrons the chance to take a three-hour art class with friends or that special someone, during which time they’ll  learn to either paint a classic like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or emulate the work of a local artist, all while waiters deliver appetizers, cocktails and wine to their table. 
“It’s a great alternative to dinner and a movie, and it gives people a great way to interact, even if it’s with friends, bachelorette parties or corporate team-building,” says Schroll, whose location is the first one in Southern California for the Indianapolis-based national chain. “We also can do mobile events, taking Wine and Canvas out to any location people choose, so the fact we’ll be operating amid the excitement of Good Eats Pasadena is the perfect introduction.” 

Good Eats Pasadena: Food Music and Art takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 23 S. Madison Ave, Pasadena. Admission is free, and the first 500 attendees receive a free canvas tote bag. For more info, visit or call (626) 744-0340.

The Side Door is located at 443 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 566-7663.

Wine and Canvas is located on the second floor of the Paseo Colorado Mall, 260 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 223.  For more info, visit or call (310) 903-3425


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