New Sonora residents open downtown pub

By Ashley Archibald, The Union Democrat April 28, 2010 10:20 am

The Sonora Pub, a new restaurant debuting Friday at 177 S. Washington St., has been confusing people.   

“Is it an English pub? No. Irish? No. Brew pub? No, although we get our beer from a local brewer and it’s really good,” said owner Steven Korn.

In Korn’s view, the restaurant will be a pub in the most traditional sense of the word — a public house where people can sit down and relax with a beer or glass of wine and an Italian-style pizza.
    The pub held a soft-opening last Saturday during the Sonora Spring Festival, featuring its drink selections and a limited menu of sandwiches.
    “We had people at the bar, exchanging numbers to go climbing together, and it was just a great time,” Korn said. “This is the place we wanted when we moved up, and it wasn’t here.”
    Korn and his wife, Jo Ann Korn, have never owned a restaurant before. Korn is a psychologist by trade, and Jo Ann owned a San Francisco color printing operation that handled accounts for advertising agencies in the city.
    The pub is a “big adventure,” and the family is getting a lot of help from manager Brandon Garner, Jo Ann’s son who worked in the San Francisco restaurant scene for 15 years.
    “We couldn’t do it without him,” Korn said. “We never would have made it.”
    Korn and his wife moved to the Sonora area four years ago. Before attending a play at the Stage 3 Theater last July, the Korns decided to get a drink at The Frog and Fiddle.
    “We’d never been to the Frog and Fiddle, and the bartender said that it was the last night. We said, okay, we’ll buy it,” Korn said. “Well, that’s the short version.”
    The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner, with live music on weekends. Korn is even considering a board game night.
    Breakfast will feature pastries by former Bon Appetit owners Sally and Bruno Trial, who closed their storefront to continue a commercial bakery business they operate out of their home.
    According to Korn, the lunch and dinner menus will have a few standbys, and the rest of the menu will rotate in new concoctions. Happy hour will sport deals on antipasti and drinks.
    If you call the Sonora Pub when no one’s around, the message you’ll hear is the voice of Korn, saying that the restaurant will open around April 1.
    The restaurant experienced a few delays, mostly related to the piping hot oven that cooks thin crust pizza in 90 seconds.
    The wood-fired pizza oven is made of ceramic materials that have to be cured, or brought up to temperature 100 degrees at a time and then cooled completely before another round.
    The process was delayed by faulty venting, that twice arrived dented beyond manufacturer’s standards, Korn said.
    The restaurant will open fully Friday. Many aspects of the operation are still being considered, including a delivery policy, Korn said.