Laura Lavelle: Red Wagon has new owners; Junior Golf Program swings into action |

Laura Lavelle: Red Wagon has new owners; Junior Golf Program swings into action

The Red Wagon Restaurant first opened its doors on Combie Road near Lake of the Pines in 1960. It changed hands a couple of times before the Spencer family took over in 1971. They ran the Red Wagon for nearly 35 years before putting the property on the market. You may have noticed the Red Wagon sign coming down earlier this week, with the new owners taking possession of the property.

Donna Prince, one of the Spencer’s daughters active in running the restaurant for many years, told me the sale was “bittersweet;” she still misses all her customers and friends from the Red Wagon. Her brother handled the sale and Donna knew few details of the new owners or their plans for the Red Wagon property.

According to Century 21 Real Estate broker Tony Gonsalves, the purchasers are a local group who plan to open another restaurant on the premises. The owners are from the two popular eateries, the Northridge Inn in Nevada City and the Northridge in Penn Valley. They hope to bring the same great menu to residents here in South County.

Tony believes the new owners are going to keep the original structure and will reopen the restaurant as soon as possible, after doing some remodeling of the inside of the building and perhaps adding an outdoor patio area for dining. One of the new owners, however, told me that the reopening may have to be later rather than sooner.

After meeting with Nevada County planners and a Higgins Corner Advisory Committee, one owner was obviously discouraged by the planning department’s reception to the proposed business. “Our reception was as cold as ice,” stated the owner who wished to remain anonymous. He cited several road blocks being put before the progress of the restaurant, including a snag in obtaining a use permit.

If you haven’t been to the Northridge Inn in Nevada City, they have fantastic food, and a great country atmosphere. This restaurant would be a great addition to our local economy. Let’s hope the planning powers that be can provide the new owners of the property the permits necessary for a smooth and swift opening.

There were no stumbling blocks for the 50 young golfers beginning the LOP 2007 Junior Golf Program on Tuesday morning. It was all swings and smiles when the first group, the Little Linkers, age 8 and under, invaded the driving range at the LOP golf course. The program includes instruction for kids up to age 17, with a goal of developing skills and teaching golf fundamentals. The 7-week program is $40.00 for members, and $60.00 for non-members. It includes lessons, a really cool Calloway golf cap, and green fees for 4 tournaments.

According to Sam Smit, director of the program, there is still room for more junior golfers. If interested, please contact Sam at the LOP Pro Shop, 268-8337.


Laura Lavelle lives at Lake of the Pines, and her column is for Lake of the Pines area residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at or leave a phone message with the readership editor at 477-4238.

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