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Gilroy
March 3, 2024

Station 55 calls it quits downtown

GILROY
– Station 55, a restaurant that prides itself in its sturgeon
and local wine selection, is for sale again.
The restaurant, housed in an historic firehouse at 55 Fifth St.,
has changed hands often in recent years. After about a
year-and-a-half, current owners Koosha Saii and Hassan Iravani
couldn’t make business pay off satisfactorily in what Saii called
the worst downtown in the Bay Area.
GILROY – Station 55, a restaurant that prides itself in its sturgeon and local wine selection, is for sale again.

The restaurant, housed in an historic firehouse at 55 Fifth St., has changed hands often in recent years. After about a year-and-a-half, current owners Koosha Saii and Hassan Iravani couldn’t make business pay off satisfactorily in what Saii called the worst downtown in the Bay Area.

“The downtown does not have the character of a city,” Saii said. “No one says, ‘Let’s go downtown.’ There’s nothing to do in downtown Gilroy, and (people) still consider it to be a bit of a danger zone.

“(Station 55) would be much better off on the west side, or if I was by the outlets.”

Saii said he’s received good feedback from customers, but there just aren’t enough of them.

“The San Jose Mercury News says we have the best sturgeon in the whole Bay Area, but now I have to throw away a quarter of it,” Saii said.

The reason for quitting is not all business-related. Personal problems on Iravani’s part also prompted the sale, Saii said, although he declined to elaborate on these.

The restaurant has been for sale for about a month.

While Saii feared that Gilroy “cannot tolerate four or five good restaurants,” he also said that more restaurants make a better downtown. Therefore, he said he was excited when the high-end Clock Tower venue opened in September in nearby Old City Hall, despite the competition.

Bill Lindsteadt, executive director of the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, said he’s heard Saii’s comments on the state of downtown before, sometimes from business owners who were considering opening downtown – until they saw it.

“We’re working on it,” Lindsteadt said, referring to recent street and sidewalk construction on part of downtown Monterey Street. With support high for downtown revitalization in recent City Council campaigns, he thinks the Council “will find a way” to do the same for the remaining two blocks. He’s been pushing for even more, but has so far been unsuccessful in getting Council to spend the money.

“Give us $5 million, and we’ll make this downtown look like a jewel,” he said.

Saii’s opinion of Lindsteadt’s dedication to downtown is less than enthusiastic. When Iravani and Saii opened, Saii said, “(Lindsteadt) said, ‘Gilroy needs restaurants like yours, and we should do everything in our power to support you.’ I haven’t heard from him in about a year, and I hear he’s very busy.”

Before Saii and Iravani restored the Station 55 name, the previous owners had called it Classico Ristorante.

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