Surviving the wild ride: Wild Eye Pub celebrates three years, embraces creek-side dining and live music
Special to Prospector
What do you get when you mix a couple with artistic backgrounds and interests with a building that predates the city of Grass Valley? In this case, a renovated multi-use venue serving locally sourced and organic food along with a full bar: Wild Eye Pub.
Wild Eye Pub opened in 2018 after long-time resident Beth Moore and her husband Dave Kuczora took their dream of opening a space for artists to an entirely new level.
“Dave and I were making upcycled art and thought it would be fun to open a small restaurant or diner that offered tea and soup of the day or something. Where artists and makers could get together to create and have a little nosh while they worked on projects together,” said Moore. “Somehow we bought this place and have never done art again!”
The former special education teacher said Wild Eye Pub became a manifestation of the couples’ interest in community activism, supporting many nonprofit groups who put work into efforts that are important to them, including sustainable and organic farming in the community, buying local, and preserving Wolf Creek.
“I have been here almost 40 years,” Moore said. “I raised my children here. I have been active as a teacher, past board president of Meals on Wheels and the Senior Center and involved in the music and art scene.”
Moore also volunteered as the producer of Earth Day for over 20 years. She said the pub gives them a tool to support those efforts in a different way — be it hosting a fundraiser or by serving meat, produce, beer and wine purchased from local growers, as well as offering a space for artists to perform. Moore has also been able to employ some of her former students.
“Part of my special education role was teaching students with varied disabilities how to transition into their adult lives and how to prepare for what they envisioned for their future. I got to hire some of my former students who were trained, with support, and went on to more demanding jobs elsewhere, and that feels really good,” said Moore.
Kuczora came to the Nevada County from the Bay Area about ten years ago, after working in the tech industry and in food service including at The Good Earth, Living Foods and locally at BriarPatch. Moore said their varied backgrounds helped them through an extensive renovation of the building, built in 1851. It took 13 months and two escrows to close, and they spent another eight months renovating the building. Their wedding day was book-ended with shovels, according to Moore.
“We stopped shoveling out the greasy particle board under the stoves in the kitchen, got dressed, got married, went out to dinner with our families, changed back into our work clothes and picked up the shovels and started shoveling again!”
Resolving 30 years of health code changes — including new sinks, floors, and moving bathroom stalls to comply with the ADA — took time and resources. Wild Eye Pub opened in June of 2018 and began booking acts.
“In 2019, our only full year outside of COVID, we did 283 live shows,” said Moore.
While the years since opening have been full of challenges, Moore sees the positives. She is focused on what can be done, not the limitations. She said the community has been incredibly supportive throughout the pandemic. With their location at the south end of Mill Street, walk by traffic is rare, so they were forced to take an evaluation of their assets.
“There have been many silver linings with COVID — not when we got shutdown, not when we couldn’t serve inside or outside, not when we sold personal possessions to stay open — it was when we went out and started doing stuff by the creek,” explained Moore. “We have 100 feet of Wolf Creek (front property) that we own!”
Now the creek has become a favorite of patrons and the couple is putting resources awarded through a Restaurant Resilience grant toward improving the parking lot and outdoor area.
Wild Eye Pub is always looking to host goups, whether for fundraisers, classes, family reunions or any other large get-togethers.
Moore also has a long history of singing and has formed a new band. The vocalist joins Gary Regina and other artists as Moore’s Code and will be performing at their 3rd Anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 6, beginning at 6 pm.
“We will kick off the evening with a re-dedication toast. We want to express our deep gratitude for the small and great acts by hundreds of people to bring us through to this moment. We feel like we traveled through this dark tunnel and are now emerging to this shining light,” said Moore.
Moore attributes their survival to folks who bought gift certificates they didn’t plan to use, donated stimulus money they didn’t need, gave a few hundred dollars as a thank you for hosting a past fundraiser, and those who kept getting takeout on a weekly basis.
They look forward to picking up with more live entertainment both inside and out. Her strongest request is to have people make reservations.
“There is a shortage of labor across the country and certainly in Nevada County. Everyone is excited to come back out, but we are not staffed up. It would be a great favor and courtesy to all local businesses and especially to those who are still following the guidelines – as we have for the past 14 plus months – to call and let us know you are coming so we can be prepared, which is not to say we don’t want walk-ins.”
Look at their website http://www.wildeyepub.com or Facebook page to see who will be playing and make a reservation for a meal and drinks.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Wild Eye Pub 3rd Anniversary Celebration featuring Moore’s Code
WHERE: Wild Eye Pub 535 Mill Street, Grass Valley
HOW: Reservations at 530-446-6668
WHEN: Sunday, June 6, at 6 p.m.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
After two back-to-back sold out shows Nevada County’s funniest return to the Miners Foundry for a night of standup comedy. The show will be headlined by Jori Phillips, local Canadian and Chief Whimsy Officer of…