Historic eatery to reopen in Grass Valley as Watershed at the Owl | TheUnion.com

Historic eatery to reopen in Grass Valley as Watershed at the Owl

Nate Overstreet, owner of the new Watershed restaurant, stands in front of one of the remodeled areas of the old Owl building. After some setbacks, Overstreet's crew is working toward a November opening.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

Know & Go

What: Watershed at the Owl

Where: 134 Mill St., Grass Valley

For info: Go to Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WatershedGV

Grass Valley’s beloved historic eatery The Owl Grill & Saloon — which closed its doors in August 2017 — will reopen soon as Watershed at the Owl.

Partners Nate Overstreet, Ashly Amador and Ian Moll have been overseeing a lengthy and extensive restoration to brighten the entire space while maintaining the 19th-century ambiance.

In the lounge, the original semi-circular booths have kept their red vinyl upholstery but the woodwork now reflects the building’s 160-year-old character. And nowhere is a sense of history more apparent than underfoot, where the carpets have been ripped up and the wooden floors beautifully refinished to preserve the nail holes and gouges acquired over the years.

“We pulled nails for a week,” Overstreet said. “You can still see some. The floor has a ton of character, it fits the room perfectly.”

The wooden owl sign that hung outside was stolen this summer (a replacement is being considered). But two stuffed owls of uncertain vintage that had been tucked above a window now have pride of place in bookshelves added to the clubby lounge, along with giant pine cones and antique tomes.

“They were grandfathered in — they’ve been here forever,” Overstreet said of the owls.

The lounge, when complete, will feature a piano and cozy seating including a red velvet couch liberated from the National Hotel. Full meals will be available in that space, Overstreet said.

In the front room, the original tile flooring and the bar will stay, but the tin ceiling tiles have been painted. The bar tables now sport white marble tops and new stools have been ordered.

“It’s so much brighter and cleaner,” Overstreet said.

The ceiling has been painted in the main restaurant as well, making it “not so dungeon-y.”

A stone fireplace in the corner has been re-visioned into a cozy place to lounge in a comfy chair and drink a glass of wine.

Long booths now line both walls, illuminated by sconce lighting, and the open kitchen will become more of a focal point. On one wall, a collection of gold pans is a nod to Nevada County’s mining heritage.

The back kitchen areas have been completely redone, with a new walk-in cooler and a rotisserie unit capable of handling a whole suckling pig.

So when will local diners get to experience Watershed’s “new classic American” cuisine?

Overstreet had hoped to open by August but now is shooting for mid to late November, adding that all that is left is clean-up, some Americans with Disabilities Act retrofitting and plumbing.

“The sooner the better,” he said. “We’ve just had some hiccups.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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