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Downtown Sonora restaurants rise, fall

    A family of restaurantours announced plans to open an American-style breakfast and steakhouse after refurbishing a downtown Sonora building that was damaged by fire two years ago.
    The building at 293 S. Washington St. was once occupied by Koto Japanese restaurant, and a martial arts gym. It was damaged after the adjacent Bombay Indian Cuisine building caught fire in December 2009 after an electrical wiring problem sparked the blaze. The structures have remained unoccupied ever since.
    But the building’s owners plan to reopen a restaurant in the next two months following an extensive remodel. Owner William Fang said the as-yet-unnamed steakhouse will be the first of three businesses to fill the building.
    He said the Indian restaurant won’t return to the neighboring building and the Koto sushi restaurant has already moved to a new location on Stockton Road. Fang said he doesn’t yet know what businesses will fill the building’s two other spaces, but said he hopes to have them rented as soon as possible.
    Nearly everything except the building’s facade had to be replaced following the fire. Fang said insurance covered the cost of a new roof and structural repairs, but most of the interior remodeling work is being done by himself and his father.
    Originally from San Francisco, Fang and his family have been in the restaurant business in Tuolumne County for the past seven years. They also own the Hong Kong Garden Chinese food restaurant two doors down from the new restaurant.
    “It’s a quiet area, and the customers are nice,” he said.
    There have been several other changes in the restaurant landscape in downtown Sonora lately.
    A liquor license has popped up in the window of a business at 177 S. Washington St. that was once occupied by Coyote Creek and, more recently, by the Sonora Pub, which closed in March.
    The business will reportedly be called “Emberz Wood-Fired Foodz” and is owned by Steve and Cindy Zelinsky, who also own the Lazy Z Resort in Twain Harte.
    In addition to the restaurants scheduled to open, a number have closed in recent weeks. Alfredo’s Fine Mexican Food restaurant closed in September after nearly 20 years in business downtown.
    Outlaws BarBQ, 275 S. Washington St., closed on Sunday after more than five years in business.
    According to the Outlaw’s website, owners Janet and Paul Kennedy closed the business due to the poor economic climate and medical bills. They are selling the 3,000-square-foot restaurant, but are still operating a catering business.

    Contact Ryan Campbell at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 588-4526.

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