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The owners of downtown’s Shady Lady Saloon are set to open a new restaurant in Galt in two weeks featuring a blend of traditional American food mixed with lean California cuisine in a restored building from the Civil War era.
Co-owner Alex Origoni said the restaurant – called Brewster’s in a nod to one of the early tenants – will feature food ranging from $8.50 entree salads to a $22 filet mignon, with sandwiches starting in the $9 range.
“The history of (the building) is really what attracted us. Much like the building Shady Lady is in, it’s a registered historic landmark, and it just gives so much character to the project,” Origoni said.
Origoni, who owns Shady Lady Saloon with Jason Boggs and Garret Van Vleck, said the trio worked together in various Sacramento restaurants before opening the saloon two years ago. Initially hesitant to expand to Galt, he said that once they saw the building, they were sold.
“We saw it as a blank canvas,” Origoni said, adding that the shell of the building is original, but the rest of it was essentially empty, allowing them to incorporate high ceilings, honeycomb tin paneling on the second-floor roof characteristic of the 1860s and some modern touches as well.
The 7,000-square-foot building was purchased more than a year ago by Sacramento’s D & S Development, Inc., said co-owner Bay Miry.
Miry said one unique feature of the restaurant is a glass floor near the downstairs bar and entry area that overlooks a wine cellar.
“The cellar will be lit, so people will be able to look down and see that area,” Miry said. “There’s also a really cool glass elevator that leads up to a lounge area on the second floor. They have a solid menu that’s going to be a lot of moderate price-range comfort food.”
Before its recent renovation, it had been vacant for about 20 years.
D & S Development is no stranger to the Shady Lady Saloon’s owners, having worked together at the 1409 R St. location as well as plans to work together on K Street in Sacramento.
The scope of the project was significant, Miry said. It included seismic retrofit and structural reinforcement as well as finding a tenant for the site.
“We did about $2.5 million in renovations: hardwood floors, chandeliers, woodwork – especially in the bar. Some of the tables were made out of cedar, which is pretty unique,” he said.
Galt City Manager Jason Behrmann said he sees the restaurant and a nearby senior housing project – by Sacramento Developer CFY Development, Inc., which is partnering with D & S on K Street in Sacramento – as being catalysts for revitalizing downtown Galt.
“We’ve been doing a lot of facade restoration, and we’re trying to bring more dining options and a movie theater, and we’ve got some other improvements along the railroad like plaza and park features,” he said. “We want this to be the central place for the community like the way it once was.”
In a public/private partnership, Behrmann said Galt contributed about $1.2 million in grants and redevelopment funds.
He added that he is happy with D & S Development’s choice to bring Shady Lady Saloon owners into the space.
“We went up (to Sacramento) and took a look at their operation,” Behrmann said. “We’re certainly supportive of that.”
Origoni said he is flattered to have a role in kicking off the revitalization effort.
“It’s something we take seriously,” he said. “We hope to deliver a solid product to the town. There’s been so much interest in the community.”
Galt Chamber of Commerce Board President Rose Lavine lives across the street from the building and said she is happy to see a business going in.
“I think it’ll be awesome,” she said. “It’s never been a restaurant.”
The building previously housed a post office, then the Brewster Company Store – a general store – and finally an Odd Fellows Lodge before its 20-year vacancy.
“That’s really the only big restaurant down there (in downtown Galt),” she added.
Behrmann said he hopes the restaurant will help make historic downtown Galt a regional draw as well as a magnet for Galt residents.
Origoni said he wants people to know that Brewster’s is not a Shady Lady Saloon clone.
“Certainly our stamp is on it, in terms of the type of things that we do and the core values we have for the industry, but it’s a unique concept that is just a different animal than Shady Lady, and I hope people realize that.”
Brewster’s is located at 201 Fourth St. in Galt. For updates on exact opening date and a website for the restaurant, check the Shady Lady Saloon Facebook page.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.