Sonora Grill restaurant was a tribute to my mother. Cooking and the restaurant business came from her side of the family. My cousin Ron Paris is a worldclass master chef. His father as the head chef at Marin Joes. There is rich history in the bay area culinary business.
Jesse'e Steakhouse was a quait little Restaurant in old town Sonora. I just had ta change the name. When my mom passed away, I bought a second home in the hills, and then I thought I'd buy this restaurant to retire with. HA! Old town Sonora used to hussle and bussle with traffic as the 108 came square into downtown and T'd off to the right or left was the infamous Hiway 49 leading you through the California motherlode gold country. But when the 108 "bypass" came through, it destroyed any chance of commerence. Of course, they shut all the bars down save a few and rolled up the carpets after 5pm. Applebees and the casino opened and the mom and pop restaurant business was doomed. I got out before it took me down...
Sonora Grill was a great restaurant, but it was hard work. We served lunch and dinner and breakfast on the weekends. Our menu was extensive which lead to a large amount of perishable item stocked. Getting fresh French bread in Sonora was impossible! Nobody in town knew what Arugula was, and when I served Rigatoni they wanted Spaghetti. I used to cut the NY steaks right off an aged slab (always too thick). Everything I practiced came right out of the "you'll never make it if you do that" book. It was a fantastic experience.
We took the old sign down to replace it with a $6000 custom neon sign. Then there were permit problems because we removed it. The city was a nightmare to work with in all aspects. There is a good ole boy network I failed to crack. And it's all Itailians!
When we cracked the place open, we had to tear it up a replace everything. My friend Shorty ended up camping out in the restaurant for 3 months while we rebuilt and modified everything the Health Dept made us do. It drained my capital and the modifications didn't help me make any money. The place was a dump and the landlord didn't help one bit. What a rat hole that building was !!!
Never change the sign!
Italian Restaurant in Sonora,
California 2004 - 2007