Economic Renewal in the Sierra Foothills and High Sierra

SPRING IS A TIME TO REGENERATE, and our region is experiencing its own growth and renewal — throughout the Sierra Foothills and in the High Sierra. New restaurants and cafes are opening, award-winning wineries and craft breweries are expanding, and the arts and culture scene is booming.

Our region is unique in California as a rural home to two state-designated California Cultural Districts—Grass Valley-Nevada City and Truckee. A new study titled “Arts & Economic Prosperity in Nevada County” shows that tens of millions of dollars of spending by cultural audiences is “pumping vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other local businesses.”

In the food scene, newer restau- rants such as Twelve 28 Kitchen in Penn Valley are turning out exceptional dishes, thanks to their talented and imaginative chefs and use of fresh ingredients from local farms. They are winning a place at the table alongside established fine-dining restaurants, such as Carpe Vino in Auburn, Taste in Plymouth, and Restaurant Trokay in Truckee.

More of our region’s restaurants are featuring beer and winemaker dinners, showcasing award-winning wines and seasonal craft beers. One example: two newer businesses in downtown Grass Valley — Roost restaurant and neighboring Grass Valley Brewing Co.—are teaming up to offer “a bite and a pint” to visitors and locals alike.

The region’s award-winning wineries are being courted—and in some cases “tying the knot.” Rombauer Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s premier, family-owned wineries, purchased the Renwood Winery facility in Amador County.

Pilot Peak Winery in Penn Valley is planning to jump into the craft beer business with Pilot Peak Brewing Co. This summer it has arranged for a Cousins Lobster food truck to regularly visit “the Peak” for a night of Maine lobster, wine and music.

In Truckee, FiftyFifty Brewing Co. is expanding to Reno. FiftyFifty’s planned 9,000-sq.-ft. brewery will be the anchor tenant in the 25,000-sq.-ft. food hall at Reno Public Market.

Our historic hotels are being refurbished. Acme Hospitality, a seasoned food-and-beverage operator that helped create a burgeoning food, wine and art district in Santa Barbara, has been brought onboard to help with the renovation of the National Hotel in Nevada City and Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

Our arts and culture scene is boom- ing, generating $46.9 million in annual economic activity and supporting 869 full-time equivalent jobs in Nevada County alone, according to the new Arts & Economic Prosperity report, completed thanks to collaboration between the Nevada County Arts Council and Washington, D.C.-based Americans for the Arts.

“The arts inspire us, soothe us, involve us, and connect us,” said Robert Lynch, chief executive of Americans for the Arts. “But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”

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