As the year draws to a close we wanted to give thanks and shout outs to some of the new – and reinvented – businesses that have opened their doors and brought new energy and life to our area.
Arnold – When the restaurant Mineral came to Murphys some years ago, it built a following of fans mad for its haute vegetarian cuisine and unexpected creations of chef and co-owner Steve Rinauro. Mineral closed last year and after a brief hiatus, Rinauro is set to open the Soldier’s Daughter in Arnold’s Cedar Center later this month. He describes it as his continued “journey into the realm of locavour cooking, always looking ahead for green fields and living pastures.” Serious foodies will no doubt be familiar with the term “locavour” (more usually spelled locavore) which indicates a serious commitment to locally sourced, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Steve has been priming his fans through social media and is putting the finishing touches on the remodeled restaurant space formerly occupied by the Blue Coyote Café. Carnivorous skeptics take heart, this plant based fare just might make you a believer.
Murphys East Side – Bet you never heard it called that! And if you’re a super insider you might even call it Davies Corner. Nevertheless, the Arbors complex at the east end of Main Street in Murphys has welcomed Locke Vineyards tasting room and antique store. Owners Kevin and Theresa Locke have been making wine under their own label for a decade and now have a Main Street tasting room to share it with us! They joined Black Sheep, La Folia and Villa Vallecito Vineyards to create a robust wine tasting experience alongside the other specialty shops of the Arbors. Be sure to stop into the big red barn across Scott Street as well, to see the creations of Murphys artisan Anthony Armstrong and his Timbercraft Designs showroom. Armstrong has carved a niche for himself recycling old timbers from barns and other dilapidated structures and turning them into custom furniture and art pieces. Speaking of carving – a stone’s throw away is the Loco Oso gallery, featuring the whimsical chainsaw-hewn creations of Andy Enzi. Throw in some coffee and cupcakes and one could spend the whole day hitting Murphys East!
On the west side a fabulous new Bed and Breakfast is set to open its doors at the Courtwood Inn. Set on a ridge just outside of Murphys on French Gulch Road, the log house style lodge offers views from every room and is intimately tied into the town’s wine industry. Owners Chris and Larry Parker, who are former tennis pros, came to Murphys with the dream of building a tennis themed inn – a place where they could offer getaways for the niche clientele who love tennis, food and wine. During the lengthy process of getting their vision built and approved, they found they could tap another unmet need in the area with Courtwood Wine Tours. They create customized itineraries for visitors to the area who want to tour local wineries, picking them up at their door (or campsite) and delivering them around Calaveras and Amador counties for a great wine tasting experience. At press time the inn was finally set to open – pending a few little details – and the well appointed rooms were starting to see bookings.
Historic Downtown Angels Camp – There’s a bright light shining in downtown Angels, and it’s not the Christmas decorations. No, it’s beaming out of Market 49 which recently opened in the Mercantile building and has brought a new buzz to downtown. Business owners Tey and Robert Cross-Carpenter, of The Chocolate Lady, teamed up with friends Janet and William Soest to reinvigorate the historic building into an eclectic spot for tasty soups, espresso and a wine bar, plus all the other indulgent goodies TLC is known for along with the Soest’s specialty food products. While the soups have been a hit, there’s already been a push to expand the hours into the evening, and offer up comfy evening dishes like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Starting December 8, Market 49 will be open until 8:00pm.
What You Seek Boutique, a woman’s clothing store also located in historic downtown Angels Camp, joined the CVB in October and their grand opening took place at 4:00 pm today. This helps fill an important retail niche which we hope will contribute to stemming the shopping leakage that occurs in Calaveras with locals heading out to big box stores in Sonora and Jackson. If you’re in need of new apparel, be sure to check them out, and don’t forget to head on over to Turners Wild West while you’re here.
Now all we need is a bakery downtown too. If you happened along the street during last weekend’s open house and holiday parade, you might have bumped into Christine Abusaidi handing out baked treats which are, well, ridiculously good. She is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to help fund downtown Angels’ newest bright light – the Sugar Bakery. At last check in, she had just written the first rent check for the space that was The Chocolate Lady and her campaign was 40% funded. The reception she had from locals and tourists alike during the open house was confirmation that she’s on the right track. Chris has been baking out of a rented commercial kitchen for several local restaurants and has seen the demand – and her unending passion for baking – grow to the point where she decided it was time to go for it. Here’s hoping for some Sugar! You too can be an investor with sweet returns for as little as $25 – just head over to her campaign page.