Historic restaurants get new owners, keep classic look

Jennell Redd serves lunch to Maria De Leon, Judy Janisch and

A landmark downtown restaurant has reopened its doors, and
another is slated to do so before the end of the year.
A landmark downtown restaurant has reopened its doors, and another is slated to do so before the end of the year.

Station 55 officially opened March 1 at the city’s old firehouse at 55 Fifth St., which most recently housed the Firehouse Bar & Grill. Meanwhile, longtime eating establishment Harvest Time may reopen at Monterey and Sixth streets as a steakhouse by the year’s end.

“We hope it will bring a bunch of people downtown,” said Bobby Beaudet, 57, who owns Station 55 with his wife, Fran.

The Beaudets have no shortage of restaurant experience, both locally and throughout the nation. They ran Dutchman’s Pizza at 10th and Chestnuts streets for 16 years before selling it about five years ago. They also started the Krazy Koyote Bar & Grill, although Bobby Beaudet stresses they were the original owners and sold it before it became a symbol of violence and police activity.

Bobby Beaudet is a project manager for a building firm based in Sacramento that constructs restaurants for 60 different chains, and his wife is director of operations for Carl’s Jr. in Salinas and Monterey County, having worked 38 years for the company.

Station 55 retains the look of the Firehouse Bar & Grill inside the building that served as Gilroy’s first fire station. The station’s fire pole remains a prominent fixture in the restaurant, and a full bar stands in the building’s top story. Several old photos of firefighters and engines decorate the eatery’s walls.

The restaurant – which serves American style fare, including hearty sandwiches and burgers – already has attracted a substantial fan base, mostly through word of mouth, Bobby Beaudet said.

Just one block to the south, the former Harvest Time restaurant is slated to become a steak house. Adam Sanchez, who is going to open the restaurant with Ann Zyburra, hopes to get the new restaurant up and running within the next six months.

Sanchez and Zyburra formerly worked together at Al Sanchez Volkswagen-Mazda-Jeep, where Sanchez served as president and Zyburra served as business manager. They ran a catering business for a few years when they were both working for the dealership.

He recalls going to Harvest Time as a child with his father.

“It’s an iconic restaurant of Gilroy, I have to believe,” Sanchez said.

In fact, he said it is likely the oldest remaining eatery in downtown Gilroy, as it opened along with the hotel in 1922.

Sanchez, who won the Gilroy Garlic Festival cooking competition in 2001, has worked for the past two years for San Jose-based PSRT Catering, an acronym for Parley Sage Rosemary & Thyme.

He is in the process of doing a bit of cleanup and tear-down inside the building, Sanchez said. When renovations are complete, the refurbished eatery will have a 1920s and ’30s ambiance, he said.

“It’ll definitely have a feel of a San Francisco-style restaurant with Gilroy-style prices,” Sanchez said.

The announcements of the new restaurants come after Lizarran Tapas Selectas, a Spanish-style restaurant in Gilroy’s Old City Hall, opened in November.

Gary Walton, a downtown developer who co-owns Lizarran, has expressed interest in starting a restaurant association to promote local eateries and attract new ones downtown.

Most successful downtowns have a strong restaurant scene, he said, and he was pleased about Station 55’s opening and Harvest Time’s reopening.

“The more (restaurants), the merrier,” Walton said.

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