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Carlton lounge to open Sept. 15

Posted: Friday, Sep 3rd, 2010

Paula McCambridge/Atascadero News John Shockley will open the restaurant at the Carlton Hotel with his partner, Kimberley Ness. Shockley’s at the Carlton will open its lounge with hors d’oeuvres available Wednesday, Sept. 15 and plan to open the full restaurant the beginning of October.

John Shockley and Kimberley Ness are softly opening Shockley’s at the Carlton Sept. 15 with a fully stocked lounge and hors d’oeuvres and planning their full restaurant opening the beginning of October.

There are three chefs on site this week preparing menus and the kitchen for the restaurant’s opening. Two chefs will remain full time, the lead chef, Arlis Borden, and a chef de cuisine. A consulting chef will temporarily be on site to assist the others through the restaurant set-up. The trio have previously worked together in Saratoga restaurants.

The menu will feature California cuisine that will include everything from pizza to smoked chicken to pork tenderloin to vegetarian dishes.

“It’ll be casual, but it will be upper-end casual,” Shockley said. “Our menu will have a rich variety of flavors, and we’ll utilize local growers. Our goal is, we want the locals to come a couple of times a week and to appeal to people from the Bay Area as well.”

The lounge area will be cozier than in years past with fewer tables and more sofas in the fireplace room. And for TV-watchers, sports fans and others, there will be six televisions throughout. There will also be live music on a regular basis.

Shockley and Ness are from the Bay Area but are looking for a home on the Central Coast where they will live full time.

“One of us will be on site pretty much all the time,” Shockley said.

Shockley’s will also be doing the valet parking for both the restaurant and hotel. Parking is a challenge, Shockley said, because there will be a large need for spaces for staff and guests to be balanced with parking for nearby downtown businesses.

There are currently a limited number of spaces behind the Carlton, a lot across from the restaurant on Traffic Way and street parking available.

Shockley and Ness first noticed the Carlton Hotel’s vacant restaurant space while they were passing through Atascadero last spring on their way to Ness’s son’s graduation from San Diego State.

The Carlton restaurant and lounge closed its doors the beginning of February after the California State Board of Equalization pulled the sellers’ permit.

Seven months later, Shockley and Ness, seized the opportunity to run a restaurant on the Central Coast, though, until they saw Atascadero, they had been planning to look at opportunities in San Diego, Shockley said.

“It’s great here,” Shockley said. “We can be to the beach in 20 minutes and to Santa Barbara in [an hour and a half].”

Shockley said he and Ness are excited about working with the city of Atascadero as it builds its tourism identity.

The pair both have backgrounds in the food industry, and Shockley will continue doing his other work as a food broker.

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