Columbia, CA — Columbia State Park has selected a new concessionaire to take over operations of the City Hotel Restaurant and What Cheer Saloon.
This week, G&C Foods, LLC, which has run Christopher’s Ristorante inside the historic Sonora Inn for almost seven years now, was awarded a two-year concession contract by Columbia State Park to assume operations of its historic City Hotel Restaurant and What Cheer Saloon.
According to G&C Foods co-owner George Segarini, when bids were published last year, he and his partner-son-chef Christopher, for whom their Italian and California Contemporary restaurant is named, were definitely interested. However, facing a busy downtown Sonora tourist season at the time, they did not have time to submit a package. “I think there were four or five bidders at that time and the state selected one, and unfortunately, for whatever reason at that time, it did not go together,” George explains. When approached by the park just before this past winter to see if they still were interested in a bid, the Segarinis decided to go for it.
It’s a kind of homecoming for Chris. He worked at the site 24 years ago while a student in the Columbia College Culinary program. Sharing his emotional ties to the place, Chris’ wife Heather Ashton Segarini also worked there while attending the culinary program, although not at the same time. Plans are that she will manage both the hotel’s saloon and restaurant dining room.
Now in the process of cleaning and preparing the facilities, George says they posted the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) License Wednesday, and hope to start serving lunches, and open the saloon, by May 1st. They plan to continue operating their downtown Sonora restaurant.