The Wheelhouse opens in Old 5 Mile House building on Highway 20
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What: The Wheelhouse
Where: 18851 Highway 20
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
The Wheelhouse, a new restaurant in the Old 5 Mile House building on Highway 20, officially opened for business Wednesday.
New owner Tony Norskog said he finalized the purchase from his personal friends and the location’s previous ownership, Ol’ Republic Brewery, in April. Prior to this endeavor, Norskog was retired after years as a wine maker.
Describing the restaurant’s new concept, Norskog said he wanted to offer a casual, daytime ambiance while serving burgers and beer, a menu he said matches the location.
“I could see the customer base there of mountain bikers, campers, and boaters as well as all the residents who live near the restaurant,” said Norskog, adding that he hopes to take full advantage of the location by incorporating a bicycle rental service by spring.
Tony Norskog’s son, Max Norskog, is the general manager at The Wheelhouse. He said the business is looking to expand on what is offered out of their building, whether it involves bicycle rentals or other creative additions.
“(The location) kind of has a reputation as a place where a business shows up, does well for a while, but then there’s a new business there again. We’re trying to break that perception by making it a little more sustainable,” said Max Norskog. He said one of the ways they intend to do this is by hosting a variety of businesses and projects within the large building, rather than try to fill the entire space with their restaurant.
Búho Bakery, which previously had a storefront on Broad Street in Nevada City, currently occupies a part of the building. The bakery’s co-owner and executive pastry chef, David Rodriguez, also bakes the bread for The Wheelhouse’s burgers and sandwiches.
While shifting COVID-19-related restrictions were a concern on the family’s mind as they prepared to open The Wheelhouse, the restaurant is well-situated for the challenge, according to Max Norskog. The restaurant was able to place 40 tables in their quarter-acre outdoor space, spaced 12 feet from each other, twice the distance required by current health guidelines.
“So, it’s not as onerous as it may be for another kind of business. It is still front and center with our employees seeing a bunch of people every day, but we’re getting through it just following all the guidelines and keeping up to date,” said Max Norskog. He said the restaurant’s first days open have gone well so far, despite unexpected challenges, including a power outage.
“Overall, my crew has been really good, and we’re putting out good food,” he said.
The Wheelhouse’s beer and wine list is almost entirely local to northern California, and according to Max Norskog, the restaurant has acquired a slushie machine in order to begin offering NC Kombuchary kombucha slushies soon.
“We’re in a, ‘Keep it simple and do it well,’ state of mind right now,” said Tony Norskog.
The Wheelhouse is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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