Last week, a joyful Chris Hollen announced the sale of her restaurant Folie Douce to Jacob Masslich, who'll be spending the summer transforming it into The Kitchen Arcata. Hollen says she's excited for Masslich and relieved the sale is completed, as it never was when Reda Salhi briefly took it over in 2019. The Folie Douce name and recipes remains with Hollen.
The restaurant itself isn't the only thing the 26-year-old Masslich will be revamping. His concept for The Kitchen Arcata revolves around a special that changes daily, rather than a broad menu.
Masslich came to Humboldt from Utah, where he grew up on an organic vegetable farm. He says he started working in kitchens doing prep and line cooking at Plaza Grill, then cooking and working front of house at Moonstone Grill for four years.
Now he's excited to create his "dream job," without the constraints of a traditional menu. “I can serve a zucchini roulade one day and a pancake breakfast the next
day, and nobody can tell me otherwise.” The food he's planning will lean vegetarian and focus on seasonal produce. (Evidently, you can take the boy out of the organic farm but you can't take the organic farm out of the boy.) If it turns out to be too unpredictable for diners, he notes that he’s always got the pizza oven to fall back on.
Sourcing ingredients locally and seasonally, Masslich says, will keep costs down, along with minimal staffing. In fact, he'll likley operate solo for a while with counter service, “Like a fine food deli counter.”
As for when he'll be open, like the menu, it's not set in stone. “I’m hoping to be open by the end of August but at this point it’s up to the beer and wine licensing … that’s my target but it’s a very loose target."