By Melissa Hutsell | photography dan hood
Downtown Lodi’s newest addition, Blend Food and Drink, offers San Joaquin something found nowhere else in the region; all things gourmet in an unbeatable environment that’s entirely exclusive. The centrally located eatery welcomes a big-city vibe, right here in San Joaquin!
Blend fills a much-needed void in the Central Valley dining scene. The business combines food, drink, and music and dancing into a ‘one-stop shop,’ describes owner Michael Thorpe. “I like to think of it as a place where you can come get an amazing food and service in an ultra-modern setting with ability to dance afterward.” He adds, “Now you don’t have to go to San Francisco or Sacramento.” This certainly proves true, as Blend offers diversity as an upscale eatery and bar, topped with a dimly lit ambiance that effortlessly shifts into nighttime entertainment. Blend is first and foremost a restaurant that puts emphasis on fine food.
After 27 years in the food industry, both in the Central Valley and beyond, Michael opened Blend on July 9, 2015. The San Joaquin native, whose father is a business owner in Lodi, says “I have brought what I have learned and what I know people will enjoy [to downtown Lodi.]” His experience in the Sacramento and Las Vegas nightclub and food scene blends the best of both worlds; hence his appropriately named new restaurant.
Also found at Blend is local artwork from artist David Jon Foster, which elegantly compliments the restaurant’s décor. Whether you chose to browse, dine, dance or drink, guests can find full relaxation inside the lounge or dining rooms, at the bar, or on the patio with a refreshing cocktail in hand. Stopping in for an early dinner, a late meal or some live music and dancing? “We can do that as well,” says Michael. Blend leaves no stone left unturned!
Blend’s menu takes the Central Valley’s best and delivers it to your table – locally grown produce and the utmost freshest food possible. “We really focus on fresh, local produce that makes for a better meal, even in the cocktails [where we use] a lot of different fruits and spices.” With options like basil and cucumber martinis, peaches and mint, or a burning mandarin – you can expect bursts of fresh local flavor, no matter what you order.
Chef De Cuisine, Shane Tracewell, says the menu he has helped create delivers an exclusive and slightly experimental food and drink menu that changes with the seasons, allowing the staff to be playful while catering to their customer’s desires.
Chef Tracewell began cooking meals for his family by the age of 12; inspired by generations of family members who shared his passion for food. It wasn’t long before this passion led him to the culinary world. Now, he offers San Joaquin mouthwatering dishes with his own twist of highly innovative, perfectly appetizing features such as Sweet Potato Gnocchi, made with brown butter, Spanish-style chorizo, green chard and cheese. Other mouthwatering selections include; an over the top double artichoke dip using hearts and leaves, a 16 hour sous vide short rib, and Bruschetta that brings together seasonal fruits, such as apples from Golden Bear Ranches. In addition to these impeccable entrees and appetizers, Blend serves up Sunday brunch with options including a Bloody Mary Bar and Bottomless Mimosas.
Blend represents San Joaquin’s diversity by featuring themed evenings that cater to a variety of interests. This fall, the week will begin on Monday nights with football game screenings, complete with a select menu of wings and happy hour all day, Taco Tuesday with half-priced sangrias, Wednesday will highlight half-priced select bottles of wine, Thursday will be dedicated to the ladies and include dancing with half-priced drinks and special bottle prices. Blend welcomes the weekend with alternating themes on Fridays such as country night and 80s night. Be sure to check their website for updates! Each Saturday at Blend will incorporate an upscale environment and dress code after 10. Sundays, of course, are dedicated to the brunch-lover in us all. So dig in San Joaquin! This new paradise awaits.
For More Information:
Blend Food & drink
115 S. School St., Lodi