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Restaurateur relishes idea of new burger joint

Eatery to open mid-March in El Dorado Hills
By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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Did you hear about the Englishman who emigrated to San Diego, entered the restaurant business then moved his family to Folsom to open a French bistro and a 5,000-square-foot burger and Martini crossover joint in El Dorado Hills? He’s Richard Righton, owner of the successful Bidwell Street Bistro in Folsom, who’s now in pursuit of a winning combination of a menu hamburgers, a selection of fries, milkshakes and Martinis, as well as a full selection of other alcoholic concoctions at a “casual, fun” indoor-outdoor setting. The location: the Montano de El Dorado Shopping Plaza at White Rock and Latrobe roads. The name is Relish Burger Bar, next to Peet’s coffee. You might think Righton, 43, would consider serving the Brit traditional fish and chips but they won’t make it on a menu that will include appetizers, “sliders” (small burgers), salads, zucchini chips, pies and for $4.99 to $6, a kids’ selection of a quarter-pound burger and a soda. The idea is to price meals for the little ones comparable to In-N-Out burgers, a Righton favorite. In fact, overall pricing will be “between the Bistro and In-N-Out,” he said. The adult menu will feature quarter-pound burgers priced at about $10, including a beer and using the same meat source for the half-pound versions sold at the Bistro. These are burgers made from naturally raised meats from the Painted Hills Ranch in Oregon and the Niman Ranch, based in Alameda. “If this works, I would like to open four or five of these,” Righton said about his new restaurant concept. “The way we designed it, it would work anywhere,” with franchising also a possibility. Target markets for Relish Burger, scheduled to open the second week of March, are the El Dorado Hills business park, shoppers at Montano de El Dorado, movie patrons “and the late evening crowd that likes to sit in a bar and have a Martini and a slider or salad,” said Righton. Martinis will cost $6 to $8 and besides standard flavor milkshakes for kids, the restaurant will serve alcoholic milkshakes made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahluha. There will be eight beers on tap and about 20 bottled labels sold. Burger options will include beef, pork, veggie, salmon and ahi tuna. Burgers will be served “naked,” with buns baked in Napa and delivered every morning and served on a bed of lettuce. Buns will be plain, sesame seed or ciabatta breads. Meats will be of the highest grade, said Righton, and all produce will be purchased locally. Wendi Mentink, the award-winning chef at the Bistro since it opened more than nine years ago, is creating the Relish Burger menu and overseeing both restaurants and the quality and training of employees. She’s also creating all the new eatery’s toppings, sauces and dressings. The native of Worcestershire, England, moved to the states 17 years ago with his wife, Maureen, who handles the bookkeeping and public relations for both Righton restaurants. They live in Folsom with their children, ages 10 and 12. The Relish Burger Bar will have 2,500 square feet of interior space, including the bar, plus tables and booths that together will seat about 75. The outdoor patio with bar will be another 2,500 square feet and will have sail awnings over the bar to protect against the sun during warm weather.