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Iconic Sacramento restauranteur Randy Paragary dead at 74

Randy Paragary, owner of Cafe Bernardo, Paragary's Midtown, and Centro Cocina Mexicana, passed away on Saturday after a short bout with cancer.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Iconic Sacramento restauranteur Randy Paragary died on Saturday after a short bout with cancer.

Paragary, 74, had been in the restaurant game in Sacramento for more than 50 years since opening his first venue, The ParaPow Palace, with his business partner Patrick Powers in 1969.

ABC10’s Mark S. Allen was friends with Randy Paragary.

“The minute I hit Sacramento in the late 80s to do radio, Randy Paragary was the name that everybody threw around. ‘Oh, are you going to Paragary’s?’” Allen recalled.

By the time Mark arrived in Sacramento, Paragary was already legendary. It was during the summer of love 1969 when he and Powers put together the incredible concert venue.

“In high school, we really became good buddies. We just started hanging around together. I left for college and then came back a few years later and Randy goes ‘Hey, let’s open up a bar.’ And I said, ‘Boy, that’s a great idea,’” Powers recalled.

Credit: Paragary Restaurant Group

Randy Paragary owned Cafe Bernardo, Paragary's Midtown, and Centro Cocina Mexicana in Sacramento. ABC10 last spoke with him in March 2021, as businesses were confronting staffing issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mark spoke to him just a few weeks ago, shortly after Paragary was diagnosed with cancer.

“We talked in late July. Confidently, he told me what he was going through. Still, he was relentlessly optimistic. I think he was on a high because the Fort Sutter Hotel had just opened up and that energized him,” Allen said.

No details have been released yet about when funeral services will be held.

The Paragary Restaurant Group issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened at the loss of our founder and CEO, Randy Paragary. His vision and leadership has shaped and guided the business for over 30 years. His impact on the restaurant industry, and the Sacramento community, is immeasurable.

We take comfort in knowing his legacy lives on through the efforts of our employees, past and present, and those who continue to patronize our establishments. 

We thank all who have reached out to offer their thoughts, prayers, and condolences.”

California Rep. Doris Matsui, (D-Sacramento), issued the following statement:

“Sacramento has lost a true innovator, whose vision for Sacramento’s culinary scene has shaped our great city for generations to come. Randy held an unwavering belief in Sacramento and its people – his restaurants reflected that passion and built bridges within our community. While he will be remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit and enduring impact on Sacramento’s cultural fabric, I will always remember his kindness and cherish our friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Paragary family during this difficult time. Randy will truly be missed.”

Midtown Association Executive Director Emily Baime Michaels issued the following statement:

"Today we remember Randy Paragary, an incredible force behind the vibrancy that is Midtown Sacramento. Randy was a founding member of the Midtown Association, the organization behind Explore Midtown, a leader in the hospitality industry in greater Sacramento with Paragary's, Centro, Cafe Bernardo and Sutter District, a mentor to so many, as well as a loving husband, father and most recently -- a visionary hotelier. The Fort Sutter Hotel was clearly a labor of love and the Paragary family has created a beautiful, lasting legacy for generations of Sacramentans to come."

Read more from ABC10

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