Businesses shaking things up in south county

Written by Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat June 12, 2013 03:00 pm

Several businesses in downtown Groveland are trying new things and attracting more business from tourists and locals alike.

Among them are the Oso Hostel, Hotel Charlotte and Mountain Sage Nursery.

The Charlotte recently underwent a renovation of the dining room and bar, bringing both a vintage and modern look, according to owner Jenn Edwards.

A 14-seat bar was added in May and a balcony area was opened up to customers at the hotel at 18736 Main St.

The dining area was “gutted” and redone to emphasize the hotel’s 1921 origin.

The owners even used an old corrugated metal sheet from the exterior of the hotel for the bar counter’s front panel. Edwards used cork for the flooring in the area, explaining that it’s an ecologically friendly floor materials. 

In another mix of old and new, Doug Edwards, Jenn’s husband of three years and restaurant chef, created a new menu that mixes comfort foods with splashes of unusual ingredients, such as smoked salmon over quinoa. 

The Edwardses bought the hotel in March 2012, renovated five guest rooms over winter. They are expecting their first child in two weeks. 

Mountain Sage Nursery

Mountain Sage Nursery recently created permanent stands for the farmers market it holds twice a week during summer, and the new owner of the cafe is featuring locally grown organic food. 

The nursery finished the five stands right before Memorial Day weekend, further establishing the market that gathers there Fridays and Saturdays, according to owner Robb Hirsch.

The project was done with donated wood and volunteer labor from friends and farmers market participants. The stands are in a better location, Hirsch said, and more visible from the highway. 

Jack McGinn, new owner of the cafe which operates inside the nursery, also offers Greek themed farm fresh food, prepared in cafe style like wraps, salads and sandwiches.

The food is sold exclusively at Mountain Sage Cafe and comes from the Yosemite Baking Co., which operates on a local organic farm in Greeley Hill. 

The nursery and cafe are at 18653 Main St. The farmers market meets from 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The nursery also hosts outdoor summer concerts. Schedules are at www.mtsage.com.

Oso Hostel

Oso Hostel is now featuring local wines and California beers under its new owner, Jake McCown. About a month ago, its restaurant, Grubs, began featuring some Calaveras County wines, such as Canterbury Vineyard. He also serves Northern California beers, such as Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, out of San Francisco. 

McCown has owned and operated the hostel at 18696 Main St. since August. He’s a 25-year-old U.S. Marine veteran that decided to buy a hostel after a long road trip from South America back to his home state, Florida. 

He enjoys the international crowd drawn by Yosemite, and is glad to be a part of the happening business scene in Groveland.