All in the Family

Meet some of them: fathers, sons, mothers & daughters who are coming together to help our “food, wine, art economy” prosper:


The family owns the Golden Era Lounge in downtown Nevada City, arguably the most inviting cocktail lounge in the footills. Golden Era is located in the old Cirino’s building on Broad Street, built in 1867.

Steve and Cindy, who are longtime locals, have restored and refreshed the Gold Rush-era building, with help from their son Eric and daughter Jessica. Eric is a veteran bartender and owner of San Francisco-based Puro Burro, which offers tours to Oaxaca to visit Mezcal distilleries. Jessica runs Golden Era’s new craft cocktail catering program.

Amy and Chamba have owned Summer Thyme’s since 2008. Their daughter Nora worked at the restaurant when she was in high school and still helps out.

Summer Thyme’s is known for using fresh, local food, sourced from nearby farms whenever possible—soups, sandwiches, freshly baked bread and pastries, and seasonal offerings.

It also has become a gathering place, with live music, local art and dog friendly surroundings. The Cookes are warm and gracious hosts.

Our magazine has watched Loomis Basin Brewing Co. grow since it opened in 2010—about the same time as Berryessa Brewing and ol’ Republic— two other regional stalwarts. “First and foremost, we’re a community brewery, and we’re constantly reinvesting. We’re here for the long haul.”

The father-and-son team of Kenny and Jim started brewing with a few tanks. Kenny and his wife Linda have worked in the tasting room and also helped distribute their beer—a labor of love.

Coming Together
Loomis Basin Brewing plans to team up with High Hand Nursery & Café to create the Loomis Cannery in about 1 1⁄2 years, according to Kenny Gowan.

It would be similar to the popular Oxbow Public Market in Napa, with a bakery, charcuterie and provisions store, distillery, public stage, picnic grounds and beer garden, among other features.

Loomis Basin Brewing would also expand to the site on Taylor Road.

The Loomis Town Council awarded development rights to the two local businesses in December.

It comes in the wake of a newly completed streetscape project in Loomis.


Phil and Anne Starr bought a small vineyard in Grass Valley in 1995, intending to move their flower nursery there from the Monterey area.

But Phil, who spent most of his life in farming, could not resist the lure of grape growing and winemaking.

Since then, the Starr’s family-run operation has experienced stellar growth. The family is now farming 12 acres of fruit, producing award-winning wines. The Starr’s son Jack is the vineyard manager and assistant winemaker. His spouse Molly also helps out at the winery when she’s not teaching school.


Twelve 28 Kitchen in Penn Valley is owned and operated by Zach’s parents, Michael (the host) and Laurie (baker and pastry chef), and siblings Allie, Emily and Max help out.

Its 33-year-old chef Zach Sterner is a culinary wunderkind.

Zach was the sous chef at Michelin-starred Solbar at Solage, Calistoga, and he won best local chef award at a farm-to-fork event called “Bounty of the County” in Grass Valley for two years in a row.

Mike and Barbara Getz started the Nevada Theatre Film Series in 1979, and they became owners of Sierra Cinemas, Sutton Cinemas and the iconic Del Oro Theatre.

Now operated by the Getz’s son-in-law, Michael LaMarca, and daughter Azriel, and a spirited staff, Sierra Theaters epitomizes the kind of locally owned, family business that has helped our region thrive.

Dick Cooper, founder of Cooper Vineyards in Amador County, is respectfully called “the Godfather of Barbera.” He has provided cuttings, grapes and advice for much of the barbera grown in the foothills.

Dick Cooper’s daughters—Rochelle, Jennifer, Chrissy and Jeri—are all actively involved in the family business. Cooper’s tasting room is located near Plymouth.

Susan Purdy, her daughter Angie, and Susan’s husband Frank Cooney, own Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro in Grass Valley.

Susan and Frank have more than seven decades of combined restaurant experience between them. The dinner selections draw from Susan’s background as a French chef and are influenced by Frank’s favorites from his family’s Italian-style restaurants in San Francisco and San Jose.

In 1984, Caroline Fike, her husband Chuck and son Trace, saw a niche market for coffee in the foothills and bought their first coffee roaster. As the coffee side of the business grew, the name was changed to Carolines Coffee Roasters.

Chuck and Caroline have retired, and the managers are Trace’s wife Holly and her sister Becky Miller, along with Trace. Carolines carries a wide assortment of coffees from around the world: organic, fair-trade, decaf and more.

(Photos: Kial James, John Burnett, Bob Silva, Laurie Sterner, and Randy Caparoso)

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