Downtown Grass Valley is seeing a change in one of its prominent food venues with more developments in tow.
Kathryn Jechura, who was renting Quizno’s in downtown Grass Valley, changed the restaurant into a KJ’s, which will soon offer Detroit-style pizza.
“You have to think out of the box right now with your food industry and restaurants because there’s a lot of people that are cutting down their lunches and everything because of the economy,” Jechura said.
Jechura will be receiving training from world-renowned pizza-maker Shawn Rendazzo starting Jan. 28 in the Detroit style of making pizza, which involves an upside-down type of pizza with a thick Sicilian crust at the bottom covered in cheese and toppings, more cheese and drizzled sauce on top, Jechura said.
“It’s not a traditional round pizza,” Jechura said. “It’s square — the cheese melts down in between the pan and the bread and caramelizes the bread to make a crystallized crust.”
Randazzo worked for a competitor of Buddy’s, the first Detroit-style pizza company, and won various pizza awards on the East Coast and first place at a pizza expo in Las Vegas, Jechura said.
Jechura has been a longtime friend of Randazzo’s mother and gladly took advantage of Randazzo’s interest in certification and expansion of the market for Detroit-style pizza.
“He’s using me as a test market,” Jechura said. “The Detroit-style pizza is making a wave. Everybody’s interested, and he wants to get the Detroit-style pizza name out there. After certifying me to get the name out there, he’ll then launch his own certification program.”
The prospect of a Detroit-style pizza venue is felt to be a positive addition to downtown Grass Valley, said Julia Jordan, executive director of Grass Valley Downtown Association.
“From the downtown aspect, we’re really exicted,” Jordan said. “We have business owners willing to think outside the box and do something different, and a Detroit-style pizza is definitely different, and they will even have gluten-free options, which is great.”
The change in restaurant gives Jechura a chance to personalize and expose her skills, Jordan said.
“It gives Kathryn the ability to do homemade soups, award-winning jellies and jams that she’s won at the fair, and it’s an opportunity to showcase what she’s capable of,” Jordan said. “This allows for creativity by still offering sandwiches and soups but also having the opportunity to try something new and innovative here in Nevada County without having to leave.”
The lunch aspect of KJ’s, which is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., still gives customers the opportunity to enjoy a sandwich that can be toasted and ideal for a fast meal, Jechura said.
“Lunch express is based on the idea that people that have no more than 30 minutes for lunch can come in, get their sandwich and get out,” Jechura said. “Then after 3, we will be shutting down the Lunch Express and turning on the big deck oven and making open-faced specialty sandwiches like roast beef with gravy, reubens, pastramis and homemade soups.”
Jechura even has plans to install a big-screen TV and host game nights and promotions during football games and have a time where children can use the room for game-playing.
“I want to have a big screen and football night and have a kids day where you can call and reserve that area with the big screen up and have a game night for kids to have that camaraderie for a couple hours after school,” Jechura said.
She also plans to eventually offer beer to provide a pizza and pub environment.
“I will eventually be selling beer to have a pub-style pizza, take-and-bake, by-the-slice and whole pizzas, where you can sit down with a waiter and dishes.”
The official launch for the Detroit pizza aspect of the restaurant will be Feb. 4.
In the meantime, KJ’S Lunch Express will be open at the location on 121 Neal St. downtown.
The Quizno’s on Brunswick in Grass Valley that Jechura continues to operate will still be open.
“They can still get a great Quizno’s sandwich,” Jechura said.
The development of Jechura’s own restaurant allows for expansion of horizons and taking on new ventures.
“I just want to spread my wings, and now with this opportunity with Shawn, it’s going to be something nobody has in this area, not even in Sacramento,” Jechura said. “So if all goes well, I plan on expanding it down to Roseville, Sacramento, and make it a very ambient destination place.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.