One 11 Kitchen & Bar opens in heart of Nevada City |

One 11 Kitchen & Bar opens in heart of Nevada City

Know & Go

What: One 11 Kitchen & Bar

Where: 300 Commercial St., Nevada City

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. daily

For info: Call 530-470-6099

The building in the heart of Nevada City, over a century old, has seen a lot of uses over the decades.

It’s been a prison, a hardware store, and, more recently, a series of restaurants including Matteo’s Public, which closed late last year. In its newest incarnation, 300 Commercial St. reopened in June as One 11 Kitchen & Bar, an eatery dedicated to sustainable, clean, high-quality food.

One 11 is also a new chapter in the life of owner Lior Rahmanian, who was born in Tehran, Iran. At age 10, his family emigrated with the help of a nonprofit group dedicated to helping Jews get out of Iran. After landing briefly in Vienna, they moved to Southern California. Rahmanian was, by his own account, a born entrepreneur, starting as a pizza delivery guy at age 15 and owning a cell phone business by the time he was 19.

But food was one of his earliest passions, “even before I could reach the stove,” he said with a laugh. “I was always very interested in cooking. At gatherings, I would gravitate to the food, I would take over the grill.”

After working in several cafes, Rahmanian started looking into buying a restaurant in Los Angeles that was losing money.

“The deal was that I worked there for free,” he said. “I chose in the end not to buy the business — it didn’t make sense.”

After trying out some other business ventures, Rahmanian said, he “took a left turn into a spiritual journey.”

“I grew up in a very observant family,” he explained, adding that he began exploring the Sufi mysticism of Rumi and the philosophy of yoga.

After a stint at the Sequoia yoga and mediation center, Rahmanian turned his attention to Ayurvedic medicine and enrolled in an internship at the California College of Ayurveda.

“That was what brought me to Nevada County,” he said.

After nearly three years of study, Rahmanian began cooking at Ananda while also maintaining an Ayurvedic practice.

“I have a passion for both,” he said, but added, “Cooking picked itself.”

Rahmanian heard through the grapevine that Matthew Margulies, the owner of Matteo’s, was looking to sell.

“I definitely wasn’t looking to open a restaurant,” he said. “But I started talking to Matt.”

Margulies eventually closed Matteo’s and the two came to an agreement last November.

A painstaking process

“One 11 came from the time on my phone when the deal was made,” Rahmanian said of the new restaurant’s moniker.

He took his time with the concept and the execution of the new space, he said.

“I want to do a timeline of everything this building has been, to pay respect to everything and everyone who has been here,” Rahmanian said. “A Chinese prison, a hardware store — it’s been so many different things.”

The seven-month-long remodel has been the hardest thing he’s ever done, Rahmanian said.

“My motto is, if you’re not going to do it the right way, don’t do it,” he said. “I had to do something that is a reflection of who I am and what I like to serve. … Feeding people is very karmic, if you’re not feeding them food that is sustainable, that is clean and healthy. I wouldn’t feed people something that I wouldn’t eat myself.”

Rahmanian opened the doors the night of the first Nevada City Art Walk in June.

“We hit the ground running, definitely,” he said, adding it helped get the kinks out. “We were brand new but we were packed.”

Rahmanian is very careful about sourcing the products that go into his menu items. All of the produce comes from Nevada County-based companies, while his beef is 100% organic, grass-fed, and hormone and antibiotic free. The fish he serves is wild-caught or sustainable, the wine is organic and most of the beer is locally brewed.

“Everything is as sustainable as I can make it,” he said, describing himself as really picky. “Whenever I have the choice, it’s as local as possible.”

While Rahmanian does not label his restaurant as Ayurvedic, he said that Ayurvedic thought and principles are behind everything he does at One 11.

“It matters to me, how people feel after consuming a meal here,” he said, citing thoughtful portions and spicing for easy digestion.

“I don’t want to treat this like a business,” Rahmanian said. “I am not here to make the most bucks. I want a place where people walk through the door and feel better — a supportive space, a comfortable place to dine. Not just to eat food, but to have a nice experience.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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