Eye on the prize: Wild Eye Pub ready to open in Grass Valley
June 26, 2018
After over a year-and-a-half of planning, building, and countless hours of manual labor, Grass Valley's Wild Eye Pub is finally set to officially open Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
The grand opening will last through Saturday, with live music, karaoke, tours, and more.
The restaurant/bar has been a labor of love for owners Beth Moore and David Kuczora, who first took interest in the former Swiss House space in September 2016. The duo thought the building would allow them a space where the community could gather, and where they could support some of the local nonprofits they feel do good work.
Escrow closed in October 2017 and the following month the lengthy process of redoing the floors in the restaurant's large kitchen — and other areas in the building — began. The floor project would not conclude until February.
"The prior owner had it for 30 years," said Moore. "Our local environmental health department (doesn't) go to each owner and say 'we just changed the rules, now you have to redo everything' and do that every year. They said, OK here's what you're going to have to do. And there were a lot of things to do because it had been under a long ownership. Over 30 years a lot of rules changed."
With major construction out of the way, Moore and Kuczora could get to work on bringing alive their vision for the space.
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"Our vision here is to be a community hub," said Moore. "A place that supports the good work that people are doing here, whether that's humane ranching, or sustainable farming, all local and regional people doing good work in the agriculture business."
Some of their ideas for the space, Moore said, have had to take a backseat while they focus on the restaurant and pub. Their initial plans included utilizing the rooms on the second level of the building as an inn.
"I found that we did have to tether our balloon a little bit," she said. "It's always fun brainstorming and enjoying the blue sky ideas, so we have had to become more practical in some areas and yet I feel our core vision and core dreams are still very much afloat."
'investing in community'
Moore said that most of the food and drink offered at Wild Eye Pub is sourced locally. Wild Eye's opening celebration will offer special tastings from local ranchers and farmers. An example, Moore said, are the Cosmic Kraut Sausage Sliders made with sausage from Cosmic Roots Ranch, sauerkraut from Local Culture kraut and freshly baked rolls from Dupre's.
The bar is stocked with as many local selections as possible, the beer tap handles bearing the names of Grass Valley Brewing and ol' Republic Brewery. Local wineries are represented in the bottles that line the wooden bar.
Wild Eye also has a commissary kitchen, meaning that other local food producers with proper permits can craft and prepare their offerings there.
A music enthusiast who performs with several groups – including Sierra Capella – Moore is excited to offer a new music and event space as well. The pub's main dining room features a low-rise stage with proper hookups and sound boards so that artists can load in their gear with relative ease.
"Eventually we'd like to get music in every day we are open," Moore said.
With opening day finally on the horizon, Moore is thankful for their eleven employees, all of whom have given much of their time to help the restaurant come to fruition. They, in addition to the dozens of helpers who have helped renovate the space, have made the Wild Eye a reality.
"It's been a wonderful process," Moore said, "with challenges, but life is that way. The most fabulous part has been the community involvement, the gifts of great advice from Howard and Peggy Levine and multiple other community leaders and people experienced in the industry."
"We are investing in community. We have so appreciated benefitting from the community investing in us. We want to be a good partner to our farmers, to our community, to our vintners, to everybody. And how courteous for people to give us that chance."
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4231.