The Brambles restaurant building could reemerge soon, if approvals go through for hotelier Dirk Winter’s plans for extensive remodeling of the existing 7,971-square-foot, 200-seat restaurant, plus the addition of two more structures on the large Burton Drive property along Santa Rosa Creek.
The North Coast Advisory Council’s Land Use Committee is to review on Sept. 4 project plans that carry the names of Winter, Robert Nielsen (one of
the partners of Ansun Enterprises, which owns the property) and Gary Swauger, who designed the resurrected commercial enterprise.
Winter confirmed Tuesday, Aug. 21, that he’s in escrow to buy the property. He did not disclose the price, perhaps because, as he said, “There’s still a lot that needs to happen” for the escrow to translate into an actual purchase.
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If the project is approved — there would be several more public hearings
before it could be — that would be yet another indication that Cambria’s historic East Village is pulling itself up by its proverbial bootstraps, courtesy of some enthusiastic entrepreneurs with big hopes and dreams.
For instance, Rob and Kim Maston are creating the Cambria Pub & Steakhouse by remodeling the former Mustache Pete’s Italian Eatery which closed in June 2010. They hope to open at Burton and Center Street by mid- September.
Jim Evans and Tom Gerst are installing their Gerst & Evans Antiques shop in the historic Bucket of Blood Saloon Building at Center and Bridge streets. They held a preopening, invitation-only reception Saturday, Aug. 18, that was also a benefit for the Friends of the Cambria Library.
Bank of America, on the other hand, has announced plans to close its branch on Main Street on Nov. 16. Its ATM would remain.
As currently designed, Winter’s project would include a restaurant, bar/lounge, 10 “fairly upscale” boutique hotel units in two separate buildings (one of them a new, twostor y, 3144-square-foot structure adjacent to the CORE Care building on West Street) and a new 775-square-foot retail building next to Oliver’s Twist, 4039 Burton Drive.
The current restaurant building would include four hotel units.
The new building would include six units, each with separate sleeping and sitting areas.
According to records of the Cambria Historical Society, the Brambles building began in 1874 as a home built by Cambria businessman George W. Proctor. Through the years, it housed doctors, a pharmacist, butcher, and mechanic. Then in 1955, Norma and Holland Vaughn opened a small tea room/luncheonette there, dubbing it “Brambles, by the Bridge.”
And what would the new enterprise be called? Winter’s not sure, but said, “We would like to keep the name if it’s at all possible.” Doing so, he said, would require negotiations with heirs of former business owner Nick Kaperonis, who have copyrighted the name.
The full advisory council is expected to consider the project proposal at its Sept. 19 meeting. While the council has no authority to approve or deny such a plan, its recommendations carry weight with the county officials the group advises, including Supervisor Bruce Gibson.
The NCAC Land Use and full committee meetings each begin at 6:30 p.m. at Rabobank, 1070 Main St.
If the project gets its approvals without challenges and receives a minor-use permit by Dec. 1, Winter estimated that the restaurant might be ready to open within about five months, and the hotel units could be ready to rent “two to three months after that. However, that’s all optimistic at this point.”
In California, Winter currently owns the Cambria Pines Lodge, Sea Otter Inn and Fog Catcher Inn in Cambria, Cottage Inn in Pismo Beach, Carmel River Inn in Carmel and Monterey Hotel in Monterey. In Oregon, he owns the Village Green in Cottage Grove and the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton.