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Brewery reborn as restaurant

After four years, extensive renovations, and the hard work of a handful of people, a Nevada City landmark has been brought back to life with the fling of holy water.

The Stonehouse Restaurant opens to the public today in the old brewery building on Sacramento Street. It has been almost exactly four years since the last business occupied the stone building, located at intersection of Sacramento, Nevada, Boulder and Broad streets.

Now, Greystone Partners LLC has turned the site into a large, two-level restaurant capable of serving 343 people.



It took six months for partners Carsten Owens, Mimi Boardman and her sister Pam Scanlon to renovate the space. The place has been taken apart from the inside walls out, Scanlon said.

The room that once housed large stainless steel vats now accommodates an open, rustic dining area. One of Stonehouse’s two executive chefs works from an open kitchen that overlooks diners. From his heightened vantage point, he makes appetizers, along with the rotisserie and grilled platters, served downstairs and in the bar.




The chairs, all handmade in Indiana, look as if the limbs had just fallen off hickory trees. Across the way, the bar offers another focal point: a new back bar, originally made in the 1880s. Its first home was The Chicken Ranch, a former Texas brothel. From there, the large wooden bar ended up at Grapes in Sacramento. When that restaurant failed, Greystone purchased the bar, which the owners thought would fit well with Nevada City’s historic building, Scanlon said.

Two fireplace mantels from the Kidder Mansion have been put back to their original use, placed in front of gas fireplaces in the banquet room and the bar.

Upstairs, a second, larger kitchen serves more upscale entrees to diners. Executive chefs at the Stonehouse Restaurant are Lewis Radoff and Keith Green.

Scanlon, Boardman and Owens took a hands-on approach to the remodel. The sisters painted and did “just about everything.” Owens built a new wine rack that serves as the centerpiece for the banquet room. It holds 50 cases of red wine.

The building, owned by Nikko Wu and leased to the restaurant owners, was also rewired, and a new computer system was installed. Despite the many changes, more are in the works.

“It will be an ongoing project,” Scanlon said.

With new equipment, a new staff of 40 and new menus, the Stonehouse opened Saturday for a private run-through. Between the hurried last-minute tasks and the arrival of guests, Father Nicholas Phelan gathered the staff and owners to bless the oven.

Saturday’s first run went well but did help iron out a few kinks, Boardman said.

Now Scanlon, Boardman and Owens look forward to 4:30 p.m., when the doors open to everyone once again.


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