On June 23, Sacramento is getting a new night market, Our Street Night Market. A tribute to the bohemian spirit of the R Street neighborhood, the nightlife addition promises to be one hell of a good time, curating the culinary and creative talents of the region on one block.
Sacramento365 got in touch with men responsible for the much-anticipated event, Yellow Brick Group, to learn how the market came to be and how the group is working to contribute to a Sacramento on the rise.
A vision by hometown kids, the marketing/branding agency Yellow Brick Group — comprised of Curtis Currier, Shawn Kahan, and Damian Lynch — are working on the “betterment of the city above all else.” Individually, they worked with Sacramento’s heavyweights David Garibaldi and former Sacramento Kings center Demarcus Cousins to bring projects to Sacramento’s core. By joining forces, the team hopes to produce bold and unexpected events to our region.
“[Yellow Brick Group] want[s] to build up the energy in Sacramento. It is truly amazing to see this change we’re currently going through. How often do you get to directly contribute to the creative culture of your city? It’s a gift. It’s a responsibility for us to use our talents to…create things we want to see here,” says Kahan.
“For so long we were looking outwards for influence (the Bay Area, Los Angeles), but that interest in Sacramento wasn’t reciprocated. So why don’t we turn that lens around and look at the [people and ideas] here?”
Position: Logistics Man
Fun Fact: Along with throwing events as part of the millennial-run entertainment company Hall of Fame (locally known as HOF), Lynch is a part of the Mayor’s Tech Council.
Position: Marketing Maven
Fun Fact: Kahan created his clothing company, Cloud9, at 17. He credits the experience for teaching him the essentials of marketing, branding, and creative direction.
Position: Graphic Designer Extraordinaire
Fun Fact: A sought-after deejay in the area (Jurts), Currier won the Red Bull DJ Thre3style College Edition regional qualifier in 2013.
One way they hope to move the city’s creative needle is through their passion project, Our Street Night Market. Dead set on countering the narrative that Sacramento falls asleep at 5pm, the free market will showcase Sacramento’s local food scene on June 23 from 7pm-1am on R Street’s 1100 block.
Announced food vendors include Milk Money Donuts, Yolanda’s Tamales, LowBrau, La Cosecha, Mayahuel, Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining, Wandering Boba, Conscious Creamery, The Craft Service, Market 5 ONE 5, Skool Restaurant, Camellia Coffee Roasters, Puur Chocolat, Fire Wings, Nixtaco Mexican Kitchen, and Kodaiko, a new concept from Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine and Fish Face Poke Bar’s Billy Ngo.
Southside Park’s Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse will curate the Green Acres-designed beer garden and Device Brewing will pour their brews on the 11th Street side of the block. Kimo Sabe Mezcal margaritas will be served at the event’s two bars.
“At Our Street, chefs and restaurants can play with new concepts and recipes in an experimental atmosphere,” says Currier. “We want this market to be an incubator for new ideas. We’d love to see a participating chef meet someone with the financial means to back their concept. Our Street has the potential to create new businesses and jobs in our city.”
Along with serving up late night eats and drinks, the night market embraces the energy of the neighborhood by highlighting its artists. You’ll find structures by Trent Dean, event details curated by fashion designer Yennie Zhou, and an undisclosed art installation at David Garibaldi’s studio.
To operate well into the night, Our Street forgoes amplified speakers for headphones with a silent disco powered by Hall of Fame and Hella Good Company. Arcade games and salsa dancing are other entertainment options offered.
All in all, the night market is meant to feel like something you’ve never experience in Sacramento, but at the same time feel be grounded in the local community. Local being the imperative word.
“Right now, R Street is really cool, really vibrant. It’s everything that an arts district should be, but there are a number of corporate entities moving in to capitalize on what is going on here. So ‘Our Street’ is a play on words on ‘R Street,’” remarks Kahan.
[Editor’s Note: A Starbucks opened across the street from WAL’s Bottle & Barlow.]
What’s remarkable about this first-time event? The fact that the Yellow Brick Group committed the concept just three months ago. The impetus? A healthy obsession and the question, “why not here?”
“Shawn came to me one day and was like ‘we got to do a night market’ and just kept with it. We would be working on other things, but he would keep harping on this idea. It was getting to the point that it was going to happen no matter what,” laughs Currier.
Kahan sees a night market as the perfect solution to the public’s growing desire to find nightlife experiences outside of conventional club- and bar-hopping: it adds to the city’s Farm-to-Fork reputation and fills the limited late-night eats void.
After this trial run, Yellow Brick Group hopes to produce two additional markets this year. Five to six markets are slated for 2019.
Another motivator? Continuing the legacy of friend, mentor, and developer Ali Youssefi.
“Without him, none of this would be possible. He literally put a roof over our heads and gave us the opportunity to have the creative freedom to do what we do. We don’t have worry about paying for rent. And living in [the Warehouse Artist Lofts] gave us the chance to connect with some of the artists that we work closely with today,” says Currier.
“This entire event is dedicated to him. He built [the Warehouse Artist Lofts] so artists could focus on making Sacramento more beautiful and that’s what we intend to. We feel an obligation to pay him back for what he has done for us,” echoes Kahan.
[Editor’s Note: Read this Sacbee article to learn more about the legacy of the developer.]
While the trio had very little difficulty getting partners to buy into the night market, (Visit Sacramento, The City of Sacramento, and the R Street Partnership to name a few), they did face challenges with the City’s permitting processes.
“The City’s been great and bought on to our crazy idea from the very beginning. That being said, there is a laundry list of hurdles that you have to go through when you are doing something like this. There are so many departments that you have to work with…and if you don’t have previous experience in this area, you’d be overwhelmed by all the rules and regulations. You wouldn’t know where to begin,” states Currier.
“Let’s put it this way: our processes are a reflection of what kind of city we want to be. What I hear from our Mayor is that we need to make Sacramento vibrant and we are heeding that call. We are playing by the rules, but there is a lot of room for improvement. It would be beneficial to have a conversation to rethink some regulations and permits. It will make Sacramento more attractive for new businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do amazing things here.”
Currier sums it up best, “let’s find ways for people to try new ideas without having to leave their hometown to make it a reality.”
Looking to contribute to Sacramento’s Renaissance yourself? The Yellow Brick Group has a few pointers on what you need to make it in Sacramento’s creative community:
Note: Sacramento365 spoke with Yellow Brick Group members Shawn Kahan and Curtis Currier during this interview.