The Stone House launches soft opening, targets mid-May for upstairs dining, lounge (VIDEO) | TheUnion.com

The Stone House launches soft opening, targets mid-May for upstairs dining, lounge (VIDEO)

Stephen Roberson
Staff Writer
Christi Nasser, sales manager at the Stone House, stands inside the building's refurbished bar area Thursday afternoon in between remodel work. Though the establishment is open for business, there are still some finishing touches that need to be put in place in advance of a mid-May grand opening.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com |

THE STONE HOUSE

HOURS: Wednesday-Saturday 5-9 p.m.

BRUNCH: Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

PHONE: 530-265-5050

WEB: https://www.stonehouse.io/

TWITTER: @StoneHouseNevadaCity

It’s taken longer than expected, but The Stone House in Nevada City is back in business.

The bar and restaurant, which has been closed since former owner Nikko Wu was arrested in October 2015, launched a soft opening last week of the bar and event room with a limited menu.

The plan is to open the upstairs fine-dining area and lounge by May 15, the patio in the first week of June and the third floor by late summer.

The original plan when Jonathan Rowe bought the building in February 2016 was to have the 136-year-old structure reopened by summer. Summer turned into October, which turned into December, which turned into spring.

So why did it take so long?

Sales manager Christi Nasser gets asked that question constantly, and there are a number of reasons.

Rowe didn’t hire a major contractor. Virtually all of the labor, metal work, woodwork and materials stayed local and schedules had to be accommodated.

Rowe operates two businesses in San Francisco and only comes out to Nevada City a couple days a week. So if he didn’t like something or if there were questions about his wishes, the next step had to wait a week.

And, most significantly, Rowe is a perfectionist.

“He is so passionate about this building and so passionate about this project that he won’t take (shortcuts). … If he doesn’t like it he changes it,” Nasser said. “Everything had to be perfect in this building to reflect the historical era.”

What you’ll find in the restaurant: an industrial look with vintage brick, stone, glass, metal and rustic wood.

What you won’t find: plastic, silver, drywall and anything shiny.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The main downstairs bar is a point of pride for the restaurant. One of the major projects was to take a 30-inch-wide doorway and expand it into a 9½-foot opening that joins the bar with the event room and its concert stage with high-end sound and lighting systems.

“Nobody wanted to take on the project,” Nasser said. “We were calling people and they were saying, ‘No way, it’s too weight-bearing.’ … When we got that finished, it made a world of difference. It literally combined those rooms as one.

“Now you can have a concert going on, be in the bar, and you can see the concert, you can hear the concert.”

Events, Nasser said, are a top priority. And while the restaurant is currently closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, The Stone House will open for events.

Nasser figures weddings will be a big winner for the restaurant. The third floor is being converted into a three-bedroom apartment for bridal parties, preparation and wedding nights. The deck outside the apartment leads down the stairs to the patio for ceremonies and receptions.

A LEMON

The more construction progressed the more it became clear how bad a state of disrepair in which the building had fallen.

“I thought I was just going to come in here and the place was going to be ready in a few months, and then I’d be selling weddings,” said Nasser, who’s been on board full time for about a year.

“Then it turned into this lemon, basically, that (Rowe) had bought. We had to replace everything: every light fixture, every sprinkler, every outlet, every piece of drywall.”

To contact Staff Writer Stephen Roberson, email sroberson@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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