The Empress Rises to New Depths!
The Empress and the Crest Theater
The historic Crest Theater was originally opened in 1912 as the Empress Theater and was used as a vaudeville venue for some time before it became known as the Hippodrome. But the name change seems to have brought bad luck with it. It’s said that during one of the vaudeville acts a trapezist fell to his death under suspicious circumstances; and in September 1946 the Hippodrome’s marquee suddenly fell to the pavement below, killing one bystander and seriously injuring another. Shortly after the tragedy, in 1949, the building was completely remodeled to its present form as the Crest Theater.
But there’s more for Downtown/Midtown to enjoy…
In 1986, Sid Garcia-Heberger and three partners – her husband Bill Heberger, Andy Field and Gary Schroeder leased the property and got involved in the running and restoring of the Crest to its present-day glory. Then in 2011, Robert Emerick, a fifth generation Sacramentan purchased the property because he “wanted to preserve a signature regional asset.” When the tenant’s lease came up for renewal last year, landloard and tenants were unable to agree on terms and Bob Emerick took over the operation of the theater, expanding the “going to the movies” concept to include serving alcohol and eventually food.
Bob Ermerick has also put together a group to renovate and re-purpose the Crest’s lower level (AKA the basement) with a side entrance. They’re putting in a restaurant/bar called the Empress Tavern serving high quality “pub food” with seating to accommodate couples, individuals and groups; and perhaps cooking classes too! But the big news is the old world atmosphere they are aiming to create: brick-lined, arched ceilings reminiscent of some of the taverns of London’s Soho district or parts of France.
Very Euro, very cool!