Stonehouse closes its doors |

Stonehouse closes its doors

The Stonehouse Restaurant, which revived a long-vacant building in Nevada City near the banks of Deer Creek, has closed.

Co-owner Mimi Boardman said she and her partner, Pam Scanlon, informed the restaurant’s workers of the closing Thursday.

“We’re very sorry ” not just for ourselves but for our employees. We’re sorry for the town,” Boardman said. “The town doesn’t need another large building to close.”

Boardman said the restaurant had about 35 part-time and full-time workers.

She said escalating rents and persistent rumors of the business’s demise in recent months helped lead to the restaurant’s closure.

Boardman said building owner Nikko Wu, who purchased the 10,000-square-foot, three-story building in 2003, was looking to increase the rent to $8,000 a month.

Boardman said the increase was 33 percent more than what she and her sister are paying, which includes the rent and a percentage of the restaurant’s sales.

“From a business perspective, there’s no way we could have signed the lease that has been offered,” she said.

The fate of the Sunday Market, which had been held in restaurant’s parking lot, hangs in the balance. If the market gatherings are to continue, it will be up to Wu to make that decision, Boardman said.

Boardman and two partners opened the restaurant in Feb. 2004. The restaurant had seating for 363 patrons inside and 80 outside.

The Stonehouse did a consistent business of banquets and wedding receptions, Boardman said, adding that she would do her best to provide refunds to groups that had advance bookings at the restaurant.

Boardman said she was proud of her restaurant. The building was built by Italian stonemasons and Chinese laborers in the 1880s.

While running the restaurant, Boardman said she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a staircase and rework the electrical wiring.

In June, she said the restaurant became the first Nevada County business in 32 years to receive an award from the California Heritage Council for historic preservation.

“As for the building, we hope a new tenant will quickly bring it back to life for the benefit of Nevada City,” a letter posted on the door of the restaurant said Thursday.

“We would like to thank the many people who have been our friends and supporters. First, our employees, who have given of themselves and often made superhuman efforts to make the Stonehouse a unique and special place. (Then) our wonderful guests, among whom we’ve found many friends.”

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