Janky is as janky does

Sacramento’s journal of jankiness, Midtown Monthly.

Sacramento’s journal of jankiness, Midtown Monthly.

Our friends over at Midtown Monthly just published a piece about one woman’s campaign to “keep midtown janky” via a bumper sticker/T-shirt campaign.

Melanie Dinos’ efforts are all about retaining Midtown’s quirky vibe—an essence that is “a mix of junky and skanky.”

“We mean it to be more synonymous with funky,” she said.

The interview, in turn, prompted a heated discussion over on the Yelp message boards—not just about what it means to be janky, but about the very definition of the word. Although I often use the word to indicate something that’s more junky and skanky than funky, I like Dinos’ definition in relationship to Sac—and I wholeheartedly support her efforts.

While the Midtown district has greatly benefited from some gentrification efforts—the R Street Corridor is a great example of redevelopment done right—other endeavors have fallen flat, stripping Midtown of some of its longstanding, inherent charms in the process.

Take, for example, Kupros Bistro. Kupros is the new “gastropub” housed in the two-story building that was once home to Cheap Thrills.

Cheap Thrills, which has since moved to a smaller locale next door to its original digs, is the living, breathing definition of janky done good—it’s embodies Sacto’s history with a funky, slightly junky charm. And by “junky,” I mean awesome vintage clothing with character, wear and history.

This is not to say that the owners of Kupros didn’t make some nice improvements to the building. The place practically lights up the sky with all its gleaming mahogany, twinkly lights and cozy booths.

I ate dinner there last week and was initially excited about my artisanal cheese plate, Caprese salad and vegetable gratin.

By the time I walked away from that high-gloss wood table, however, I realized that the best part of my dinner had been my hefeweizen beer. The food was bland, the portions ultra tiny (which I suppose is supposed to signal greatness) and the prices unnecessarily high. Factor in the blaring, odd mix of reggae and light Top 40 pop, and the experience was, well, less than janky.

Obviously Kupros is new and should be given time to work out the kinks, but as I savored the last sip of that refreshingly spicy, lemon-infused beer, I couldn’t help but miss the original Cheap Thrills—packed to the rafters with racks and racks of old, dusty and totally janky vintage charm.