Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Randy Paragary, an icon of Sacramento’s restaurant and hospitality scene, has died after a brief illness at 74, reports the Sacramento Bee, leaving behind a legacy that “cannot be overstated.” The Sacramento native opened his first business there in 1969, a downstairs beer bar called the ParaPow Palace, followed by Paragary’s, Cafe Bernardo, and Centro Cocina Mexicana, among others, and most recently opened the Fort Sutter Hotel last year, which was quickly recognized as a significant addition to the city’s hospitality offerings. Paragary, who once tried to branch out in San Francisco before doubling down on Sacramento ventures, according to the Bee, is also known for launching a generation of industry leaders who worked at his restaurants. Services for Paragary are pending. [Sacramento Bee]
- A new Opentable feature will allow restaurants to tag customers as “verified for entry” once they’ve demonstrated proof of vaccination to the restaurant once, meaning they’ll be cleared for entry on future visits at that restaurant or establishments within the same restaurant group, a press release says. The San Francisco-based company is also launching an SF-based marketing campaign to encourage residents to patronize area restaurants, whether via takeout and delivery or onsite dining, with localized slogans like “You don’t need a reason, you need Yank Sing.”
- SFGate has a profile of famed San Francisco chef George Mardikian, telling the story of how he went from being a survivor of the Armenian genocide to winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1951 and detailing the four decades his Armenian restaurant Omar Khayyam’s served as a top destination for San Francisco diners. [SFGate]
- Seattle’s famous Piroshky Piroshky Bakery is stopping in San Francisco this week as part of its ongoing pop-up tour across the country, which started during the pandemic. San Franciscans can order their piroshkies — Russian handheld pies filled with savory ingredients like egg and cheese, Thai pork, and chicken curry, or sweet fillings like orange cream, cardamom and cinnamon, and chocolate hazelnut — online by August 19 to pick up at an SF Elks Lodge on August 21.
- The latest in the New York Time’s ongoing coverage of climate change in California Wine Country is an in-depth look at two Paso Robles wine producers and their vastly different experiences farming in the climate change era: Dry-farmed vineyard AmByth Estate and Tablas Creek Vineyard, the country’s first vineyard to receive a regenerative organic certification. [New York Times]
- San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho shared the big news Friday that the newspaper is hiring an associate restaurant critic to help her tackle the Bay Area dining scene, and in Ho’s words, to “help me eat all this food.”