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So long to Lefty’s: A Nevada County institution closes it doors

Lefty’s Grill in Nevada City has closed its doors. Situated across from The Stone House at the base of Broad and Sacramento streets, the establishment served many people for years. Lefty’s Taco in Grass Valley also closed.
Photo: Elias Funez

Through multiple floods, a global pandemic, and a relocation, Lefty’s Grill in Nevada City persevered.

However, last week the owners of Lefty’s Grill and its sister restaurant, Lefty’s Taco House, announced they would be shuttering both locations.

Lefty’s Grill originally opened in 2007 on Broad Street before moving to the plaza building on the corner of Broad and Sacramento streets.



Widely known for their fish and chips, cocktails, and the creek-side location, Lefty’s owners John Cammack and Chris Duncan posted on social media: “These last 14 years of service in this wonderful community have been a blessing, we have gone through many ups and downs over the last few years, floods, fires, power outages and then COVID-19, and unfortunately it got to be too much. We will forever remember the good times and the friends and family we have met along the way.

“We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support, this decision was not an easy one to make.”



Cammack and Duncan could not be reached for comment.

Former Nevada City Council member Erin Minett was a regular at Lefty’s and by all accounts is devastated that her favorite spot has closed.

“Lefty’s is my favorite place,” Minett said. “Do you know how many birthdays we celebrated at Lefty’s? Now it’s like, ‘Where will do our birthdays?’

Lefty’s Taco House in Grass Valley also closed its doors.
Photo: Elias Funez

“Even during the pandemic they were awesome. A lot of people felt good about supporting them and getting good food. It’s kind of an icon going down.”

In addition to the pandemic, Lefty’s faced two floods in two months in 2017. Cammack and Duncan spent another two months repairing their restaurant before reopening, which was a grueling process.

In 2009, Lefty’s won two awards at the World Pizza Challenge, held in Las Vegas. At the time, Cammack told The Union, “We’ll have to keep thinking creatively. Who knows, Nevada City could become the pizza capital of the world.”

NOT JUST ANY OLD PLACE

Julie Valin, a Nevada County librarian, was devastated by the news of Lefty’s closure. She had been frequenting the grill since its opening.

“For special occasions, we would go there all the time,” said Valin. “I like the story about the owners being friends and left-handed. They really are leftys. And they are really cool guys.”

Valin said she will most miss the Caesar salad, which she deemed the best she’s ever had. She learned of the closure via Facebook, and made one last visit to the place on Saturday.

Nevada County District Attorney Jesse Wilson said Lefty’s was a favorite for both his family and for him and his colleagues.

“I’ve worked in Nevada City since 2010,” Wilson said, “and Lefty’s was always a staple, whether it was for quality lunches or an after-work get together. It was a go-to spot for good atmosphere, good service, and quality food. So it’s wildly disappointing that they will no longer be around.”

Wilson added that the restaurant’s ability to survive its challenges is “a testament to the loyal customers and the quality they provided. I know when I came back to the county in 2021, one of the first places we went — if not the first place — was Lefty’s.”

Former three-term Nevada City Mayor Duane Strawser echoed Wilson’s sentiment.

“What can I say about Lefty’s?” Strawser said. “It’s extremely disappointing from a community standpoint to lose something so instrumental.

“I appreciate all the years they put in, despite the challenges. They went through those times and always fought back. It was a blow to hear they were closing. I do respect what they did to stay there as long as they did. They deserve the community’s respect.”

Lefty’s Grill in Nevada City, established 2007, closed 2022.
Photo: Elias Funez

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com

 


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