By Katherine Matuszak | Photos by Manny Espinoza
This summer, Carmel welcomes a new dining experience to its historic streets. The team behind Carmel’s Folktale Winery is currently putting the finishing touches on a restaurant named after its prime location in downtown Carmel: Seventh & Dolores, or “7D.”
Folktale Winery owner Greg Ahn, who has lived and raised his family in Carmel over the last 12 years, felt inspired to open a restaurant in the city they call home. “We had been looking for the right opportunity to bring our brand of hospitality to downtown,” Greg says, “and Seventh & Dolores was the perfect place.” He wants his family’s home to grow and prosper, and he’s hoping Carmel benefits by creating a community gathering place, providing more career opportunities, and growing the local economy.
While 7D may look like a big city restaurant, Greg and his team work to ensure you’ll feel like you’ve entered a familiar neighborhood hangout. The space is dramatic, with a very unique look for Carmel: it has an open floor plan, high ceilings, and is drenched in natural light. Their plans will also provide guests with a view into the kitchen for a little peek into the magic. Some of the more luxurious offerings include valet parking, outdoor seating, a private dining room for larger parties, and a fire pit lounge area.
There are also big plans for the menu. The concept for 7D could be described as a boutique steakhouse with an earnest desire to create delicious meals. Besides classic steakhouse offerings, Executive Chef Todd Fisher and Chef de Cuisine Jeremiah Tydeman will also deliver some modern twists. Chef Todd entices the imagination with his description of the menu: “Top quality, all-natural steaks and seafood, specialty dishes, and addictive sides made with a large helping of heart and soul.” The plan for the beverage program is a focus on mainly Monterey wines and some modern takes on classic cocktails, but Chef Todd assures, “we also plan to offer some luxurious touches and some fun surprises as well.” During the day, 7D will cater to Carmel’s brunch lovers.
“What we envision for 7D is a friendly space that is full of energy. Steakhouses can be stuffy,” Greg says, and stuffy is the last thing he wants for 7D. He envisions a warm neighborhood restaurant delivering world-class quality, and more than anything, he wants to create a space that is joyful.
According to Greg, that all starts with the right staff. John Fitzgerald, VP of Hospitality, overseas all front-of-house operations and has been instrumental in driving the success of Folktale Winery. John is confident that he has brought together a team that can deliver on the high level of hospitality for which they strive. Led by Managers Joe Valencia and Jaime Morales, every person in the organization embraces this vision. ”We invested a lot of time in training, not just in service, but in hospitality. If our staff is joyful, then that feeling will be passed onto the guest experience,” says John.