Posts About Paul Martin's American Bistro

Paul Martin's hospitable interior(left) and menu favorite, Hill Farm Pork Chop(right).

August 20, 2008

Paul Martin's American Bistro Named
Sacramento's Top New Restaurant

Congratulations to Paul Fleming, Brian Bennett and Chef Kevin Rose.  Paul Martin’s American Bistro in Roseville, Ca. has been named by Sacramento Magazine as the best new restaurant in Greater Sacramento.  This resourceful restaurant team manages to deliver mostly organic and local fresh fruits and vegetables as well as local meats and poultry on their deliciously affordable menu.   For out-of-towners, the restaurant’s proximity to Interstate 80 makes it a convenient place to stop for lunch or dinner on the trip to Lake Tahoe.

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Butcher's Board - a selection of artisan salume and local cheeses served at Paul Fleming's newest restaurant, Paul Martin’s American Bistro.
Photo by Kent Hanson

January 16, 2008

One Man's Work: Knowing What We Like to Eat

The son of a superior court judge and a great southern belle, Paul Fleming grew up in an antebellum house in rural Louisiana where delicious, unpretentious food was plentiful. Small farms produced a bounty of fruits and vegetables; fresh fish and wild game were close at hand.  That food had a life that began long before it reached his plate was a reality he understood from boyhood.

Seasons announced themselves by delivering crawfish, tomatoes, red fish and duck.  Paul raised rabbits, fished and hunted.  His mother and father gathered the family and friends around the dining table at every meal.  “We always ate together.  Our family employed great cooks and the family cooked,” says Paul.  “We thought our home was large, but it was just larger than what other folks had.  We really didn’t have a lot of money, but everyone else was so poor that we felt better off.  We thought the weather was great, but now it looks god awful.”  The Flemings were a blend of a poor family that raised pigeons for income and a family of some means from the oil business.

Theirs was a life rich with culture and simple pleasures.  So, was it any wonder that Paul would make his life’s work figuring out what people want to eat?   Since 1985 he’s been opening restaurants.

Paul graduated from Loyola University and after his oil business pursuits abruptly ended with a market dive, he partnered with Ruth’s Chris opening what would become the first of many restaurants for him in the demanding market of Beverly Hills, California.  With the help of his wife Kelly who he recalls simultaneously balancing the books and a child on each knee, he methodically became an expert in every aspect of the business.=

In concert with several partners, he’s begun companies and concepts that have grown to over 300 restaurants across the United States with names like: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro; Pei Wei Asian Diner; Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse; Z’Tejas Grill and Blue Coral Grill.  In the summer of 2007, he invested in Habit Burger Grills started by Brent Reichard in Santa Barbara.   With each of these ventures he’s been on the forefront of freshness.  Fresh ingredients and fresh ideas.  Fueling these high volume restaurant groups are menus that rely on quality meat, fish and produce delivered and prepared daily.  Margins are built smartly by eliminating waste, not by skimping on food quality or employee compensation.  In that respect, they have all been sustainable businesses. Paul is generally thought of as one of the most successful restaurant concept developers in America and has won the Nation’s Restaurant Group Hot Concept Award an unprecedented three times.

It could be that his next restaurant, Paul Martin’s American Bistro, which just opened in Roseville California this past October, has been inspired by Kelly Fleming and her eponymous Kelly Fleming Cabernet Sauvignon made exclusively from organic estate fruit. Paul moved with Kelly to Napa Valley in 2001.   Wine country life with its emphasis on casual eating, range fed beef, udder-fresh cheeses, and purely seasonal, mostly local organic produce was something he took to immediately and naturally.  “It was as though I’d come full circle to the way we all ate in Louisiana when I was a boy,” says Paul.   Naturally, the next step was that he wanted to share this way of eating in a new restaurant.

Kelly Fleming’s arcadia grew to include an organic vegetable garden, fruit and olive trees and a stone house, largely of her own design.  She’s added an outdoor pizza oven, fireplace and beds of myriad herbs. Most nights Paul and Kelly sit down to dinner with selections from Paul’s long-nurtured wine cellar and good friends to share the in the moment.  With the opening of Paul Martin’s American Bistro, residents of south Placer County can scoot their chairs up to that same proverbial table.  Paul and his managing partner Brian Bennett say this bistro is where they’ve always wanted to eat. ###

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