Organic to-go |

Organic to-go

Ron and Valentina Masterz (left), with Valentina Masterz's sister Albina Terzi posing inside of their restaurant's kitchen.

Valentina and Ron Masterz, owners of a Grass Valley local bistro and bakery that closed in February, are opening a new restaurant, Valentina’s Organic Bistro & Bakery, that will focus on providing customers with organic, and gluten-free meals to go.

“It’s going to be different from the last one,” Valentina Masterz said. “This is going to be a more get in and get out kind of concept. Before we had more of a you sit down and you order and wait till your food comes in. But this one will be you come in, you get your food and you go, and the food will be right in front of you to choose from.”

In February, the couple closed Valentina’s Bistro & Bakery after six years, due to an extensive warm weather season that caused their power bill to reach as high as $3,900 per month. This time around, though, they say the utilities should not be a problem.

“This is a newer building, it’s just three years old,” Ron Masterz said. “So all of the air conditioning and power structures are world-class. We’ve taken a look at the utility bills that previous businesses have paid in this space, and our energy bill will drop by 80 percent.”

In order to reopen, the couple said they needed to raise around $40,000. So they sold their car to pay for a portion of the funding, and in April launched a letter-writing campaign to some of their most dedicated customers, asking for donations to help them open another restaurant.

“This community has become a part of our family. We’ve met so many fantastic people,” Ron Masterz said. “We’d be walking around town and people would ask, ‘Are you going to reopen? Are you going to reopen?’ and that just gives you a sense that it’s not just a business, or a town, it’s a community.”

Customers donated more than $15,000 to help the couple fund the new restaurant, with an additional $1,000 coming from an online crowd-sourcing campaign fund. In May, the couple signed a 10-year lease for their new restaurant space located on the 800 block of Sutton Way, which was previously two separate spaces occupied by Quiznos and Liberty Tax franchises. The new restaurant is less than a block from their old location.

“In a way, this will be a community-owned restaurant,” Ron Masterz said. “We couldn’t have done this without the support from the community and our customers.”

The couple plan to open their new restaurant on the first or second week of August, and begin to serve what they call “organic fast food.” The new bistro and bakery will showcase some of the same menu items as their previous business, which will include their salads, soups, and Peet’s coffee.

“It’s going to be a build your own,” Ron Masterz said. “You’re going to walk down to the deli and you’re going to get to choose what you want on your sandwich, on your salad or burrito. But there will also be set and custom made things that you can choose from, like our Greek and Asian salads.”

Valentina Masterz says the change in their restaurant’s concept comes from a community need.

“The only restaurants available for you to get in and get out are Taco Bell and McDonald’s, and we don’t need that food,” Valentina Masterz said. “So the choices were quite limited for you to get healthy food, and fast. So when we closed, we knew if we ever were going to open again we wanted it to be fast and healthy.”

Ron Masterz said the fast-food platform will also give their new restaurant more business than they got in the past.

“At our old restaurant, some people would only have a half-hour to eat, and they would come by and if there was a line they would just keep driving because they didn’t have time to wait,” he said. “So this time we want to feel good about what we serve, and we want it to be fast so we can apply it to a wider spectrum of people.”

Valentina Masterz says that opening a new restaurant less than a mile from where they live gives her comfort.

“There is just a special vibration about Grass Valley,” Valentina Masterz said. “We want to thank everybody for being a part of our lives, and we would love to stay in this town as long as we can. This is our home.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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