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Nashville-style fried chicken restaurant Nash & Proper opens amid pandemic

While some businesses are closing down due to low foot traffic and strict health guidelines, others like Nash & Proper are opening for the first time.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Born and raised in the 916, Cecil Rhodes and Jake Bombard are the team behind the spicy, juicy fried chicken people have been enjoying in SacTown for years.

"We are adding bone-in chicken, which you don’t get on the food truck,” Rhodes said.

Nash & Proper, the business that used to just be on wheels will open its doors Wednesday as a brick-and-mortar restaurant on K Street in Downtown Sacramento after months of setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The main thing was the outdoor seating because we can only fit three tables in this area. So they are actually letting us put up some guard rails all the way down to the end of the block,” Rhodes said.

The culinary duo are winners of the Downtown Sacramento Foundation's "Calling All Dreamers" grant. The contest is funded by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation and is meant to help small business owners bring their dream of opening in downtown a reality.

“That helped with getting some of our equipment in here, our refrigeration, and doing some upgrades. We had some plumbing issues that we had to do so we put the money towards that,” Rhodes said.

Not all dreamers have had the same success though. Andy’s Candy, Milk House Shakes and Oblivion Comics & Coffee have all had to close up shop due to the pandemic. 

There were 400 businesses in Downtown Sacramento at the start of the pandemic. One-third of those businesses have closed due to state health guidelines. 

"It’s been tough. They like everyone else...are looking at how they re-invent their business model. Each day brings a new challenge,” Emily Cameron, public affairs and communications director with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said.

This year, the Downtown Sacramento Foundation suspended the 2020 competition and gave money to previous winners by partnering with Kaiser Permanente and SMUD.

“Nash & Proper was able to take some additional dollars and add some physically distant plexiglass and other things that they are doing like touchless payments,” Cameron said.

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