Out with the old and in with the new will ring from one of downtown Grass Valley’s staple restaurants.
Kane’s Fine Food in downtown Grass Valley is undergoing renovations that blocked off its front door, but a back entrance can still lead guests into the open restaurant.
“We are expanding, and I’m knee-deep in blueprints now,” said John Kane, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Maria, also owner of Maria’s restaurant.
The renovations involve additions to the patio, which will be partially enclosed, and the bar top, which will expand to twice its current size.
“We are taking up the entire pad of the patio and doing some infrastructure changes,” Kane said. “Half the patio will be enclosed year-round, and we will be adding 1,000 square feet to be almost like an atrium with all glass and stone and brick with skylights throughout, and the bar will probably be one of the largest bars in Nevada County.”
The focus of the restaurant will be more of an outside seating lunch area by day and a lounge and restaurant at night, Kane said.
“During the day, primarily for lunch, people can sit out there, and we’ll have our palm trees back in there with better seating, and at nighttime, more of a lounge for my demographic of older folks who want to sit by a fireplace and listen to a little bit of jazz and blues with live music seven nights a week.”
The extension of the bar will likely improve profit, Kane said, as the real money is in alcohol sales.
“You can only max yourself out so much with food. Margins in alcohol maximize the profit center,” Kane said. “This restaurant is screaming for a lounge for people to be able to come in and have a cocktail.”
Kane used to work in San Francisco and wanted to bring a bit of the cosmopolitan ambiance to Grass Valley.
“I worked there as a kid for years, so it’s got a very similar feel, kind of has that cosmopolitan feel with the kitchen open to the public; you can sit at the bar and watch them cook,” he said. “And for our demographic — there’s a lot of older folks from the Bay Area with discretionary income — all I want to do is give them an opportunity to sit and have a high ball and listen to music and have dinner.”
The restaurant’s ability to expand did not come easy, as the years of the struggling economy shook the industry, Kane said.
“(The years) 2006, 2007 were painful, but for those who survived, it taught us to go in a different direction,” Kane said. “We’re so grateful that we have a great following, a great local clientele. We would never have made it, so I’m totally grateful to our locals.”
Kane said it was difficult to make the decision whether or not to renovate the restaurant but he researched the topic beforehand.
“The first thing I did before I even started the project was research. You have to do your homework and look over your business plan, which is like having your teeth pulled. You do everything you can to make the right decision,” Kane said. “If you don’t move forward, you don’t grow, and we are trying to put something back into our business and make it better.”
The improvement should be complete by mid-June, Kane said, and he hopes the closed front entrance to the restaurant in the meantime will not deter customers.
“This had to be done. We had to bite the bullet and do it, and my only uncertainty now is for the next four months,” Kane said. “I’m doing so many things creatively with menus and deals coming out. Every week I have something going on to keep people knowing we have a rear entrance and hopefully our business stays. You always have that fear of losing business when you lose front access.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.