by Sacramento Magazine · Meet eight women who are leading the way toward a better Sacramento ·
From the increasing momentum of the farm-to-fork movement, to groundbreaking legislation protecting victims of sex trafficking, to finding new ways to celebrate diversity among people and industry, Sacramento seems to be getting cooler by the day. The eight women profiled here are some of the most influential architects of cool here in the City of Trees, using their passions, skills and unwavering civic pride to shape the city into a place where women from all walks of life can thrive personally and professionally.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Deputy Attorney General Amy Alley work to make streets safer, creating and enforcing policies with both empathy and objectivity. Restaurateur Molly Hawks and River Cats owner Susan Savage train their staff members to ensure that diners and fans always have a place to come together to unwind and have a good time. As chief operating officer of Dignity Health’s Mercy General Hospital, Clare Lee works to help people get better with an understanding that healing is about more than medicine. Kelly Rivas, transition chief for the office of Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg, and Kim Tucker, executive director of 3fold Connect, are tirelessly making connections to empower underserved community members and foster thriving community programs. Oak Park native Maria Harrington is injecting language and culture into the city through the work of her Spanish language school and cultural center, bringing people together over the simple act of conversation.
Sacramento is a city that is constantly in motion, and these eight women can be found at the center of it. Representing a wide swath of backgrounds, interests and paths, they help make the city what it is today while using their influence to sketch out a blueprint for the future, which is looking cooler than ever.
Owner/Chef, Hawks and Hawks Provisons + Public House
After frequent visits to Granite Bay to visit her parents, who had retired there in 2005, Molly Hawks and her husband, Michael Fagnoni, felt there was a lack of family-owned, individualized restaurant concepts in the area. “Granite Bay is a meat-and-potatoes kind of community, and it seemed like the only options were big chain restaurants,” she notes. After attending culinary school as a reprieve from medical school, and working her way up in the kitchen in San Francisco’s Village Pub, Hawks decided it was time to shake up the local fine dining scene. She opened Hawks restaurant in 2007 with her husband. The restaurant was immediately successful, and the couple expanded the concept to Hawks Provisions + Public House in East Sacramento in 2015.
You opened Hawks before people were using the term “farm to fork” in Sacramento. How has the local F2F movement shaped the dining scene since then?
There’s a lot of curiosity among our customers about fun items we bring in for our menu. The farm-to-fork movement has brought so much awareness to where food comes from and how that impacts quality and flavor, which allows us to bring in produce from small farms and actually see it sell. We do a dish with roasted peppers and jalapeno cream, for example, that’s such a simple dish. But the peppers are just perfect, and people get it because they understand what we’re doing.
There’s been a lot of growth in the city as a whole and especially in the local restaurant scene since you opened your doors. How have you adapted over the years?
The recession hit not long after we opened, and that’s really when we learned how to run a restaurant. Rent was expensive and we had a hard time for a while, but we stayed true to ourselves and our product. We learned how to tune in to what’s needed and not be afraid to make changes. That’s when we started offering a Sunday Supper, which was a three-course prix-fixe menu for $35. People loved it.
Any creative ideas that didn’t do as well?
I had this idea to do picnic baskets once, and I was convinced it would be awesome. I think we sold about five! We’re constantly fine-tuning.
You’ve had three kids while you’ve been running Hawks. What’s it like to grow your family while simultaneously growing your business?
It’s been crazy. My kids have grown up in the restaurant. I was constantly carrying my oldest around on my hip when we first opened, and I was kind of embarrassed about it at first, like, “Oh my God, we have this fine-dining restaurant and here I am with a baby in the dining room.” But our guests were really receptive to the fact that we were a family-owned restaurant. I don’t think it would have gone over as well in San Francisco or Los Angeles, but it’s a more friendly scene here. It brought some personality.
Where do you go to eat when you’re not at Hawks?
We eat at our restaurant a lot because we know our kids won’t get kicked out! But we also love sushi at Kru, and even though it’s not a full restaurant, I love what Ginger Elizabeth is doing.
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