Cambria’s historic cowboy bar is under new ownership, with a familiar pardner taking the reins.
Mitchell Gregory has been a bartender at the downtown watering hole since 1996, when it was still known as Camozzi’s. Gregory and some investors bought Mozzi’s last year from previous owner Kellie Williams.
Gregory declined to disclose the price.
Williams and a partner had purchased the closed bar in 2006, did extensive remodeling of the building, erected circa 1923, and reopened under the new name in July 2007.
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“I love this place,” Gregory said. “It’s where people gather with friends. Everyone has a story about their father or grandfather coming in, their uncle proposing marriage here. This bar has a lot of meaning to a lot of people, especially me. It was my first bartending job, and now I’m living a dream, my dream of owning a bar.”
The new owner wants to continue honoring the bar’s history, so he’s seeking donations of memorabilia to restore the collection taken by owners who preceded Williams.
Jerry Gray of Cambria has donated a picture of Art Beal (the idiosyncratic creator of the folk art Nitt Witt Ridge), and Gregory said another recent customer at the bar explained the function of an antique piece of equipment hanging on the wall: “He said it was for cutting whale blubber.”
Gregory, who has been in Cambria since 1993, said he will keep his day job, too, washing windows for his clients, some of whom he’s had for 16 years. “It’ll help me pay off the saloon.”