Hello, I’m Gonul Blum, and I must tell you… that when we opened our first restaurant in 2003, it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I was raised in Turkey, a country with a rich culinary tradition based on farm-fresh ingredients and artful, exotic spicing. (My family is in the spice business, so my childhood memories are awash in the taste and fragrance of fresh saffron and the famous Maras pepper.) When I moved to the States I became a cardiac surgery nurse, and did that for 12 years – until a “fortunate” injury curtailed my career. One door rudely closed, but another door swung open. It opened to my dream. First – to Napa’s Culinary Institute of America. Next – to a home-style catering business. And finally, encouraged by the community’s warm response – to Gonul’s J Street Café. A genuine touch of the Mediterranean I was most proud to offer in East Sacramento.
After 9 years and a lease disagreement with our landlord, I briefly moved to 33rd and J with my second restaurant, the Vanilla Bean Bistro in 2011. I am still the chef and use the same high quality herbs and vegetables which I grow in my garden and source from locally grown produce.
In 2012, after almost 10 years of running my restaurants, I again decided to not only make some changes, but to expand to a second location. Trio was born from a desire to grow the business and share my love of food with a larger audience, downtown Sacramento. I am now a certified producer, growing my own herbs, grapes, some vegetables and tree fruits. With all these products available for food preparation, I have decided to expand their use and sell my products in the new Trio Restaurant, Bakery and Market. With the growing success of Trio, the Vanilla Bean closed in early January 2013.
I am excited that the Kings will be moving a long block away from Trio in a couple of years. Look for more changes and improvements — on the table: a full bar and outdoor seating.