Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sequoia sale starts new chapter

THE SEQUOIA RESTAURANT housed in the historical Bee-Bennet House has been sold, with the new owner taking over Jan. 3. Those with gift cards are urged to use them real soon. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By
From page A1 | December 30, 2011 | 20 Comments

A new chapter is unfolding for the elegant Sequoia at the Bee-Bennett House at 643 Bee St. in Placerville.

For the last 10 years it has been known as the place to go for dinner, Sunday brunch, comedy nights, salsa dance lessons, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Easter Brunch, Mother’s Day, a special event and weddings.

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, Sequoia will be under new management. Nello and Danica Olivo are retiring from the restaurant business and turning the reins over to Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Centers. The well-known business owned by John and Linda Zaruka has 16 locations throughout the state. Bill Zaruka, their son, will manage the operation.

“Things will change and many things will remain the same,” Nello Olivo said.

“The new business owners will bring more commerce to the area and create more jobs. We will continue to own the building and have the Nello Olivo wine tasting room downstairs,” Olivo added.

Many staff members will remain in their positions and will be welcoming brides and grooms and party goers on an ongoing basis.

The Olivos would like to thank their many loyal customers in the area and beyond for their support throughout the time they have been operating the restaurant on Bee Street in Placerville.
Sequoia regulars will be happy to know that many of their favorite events will still be available, such as the New Year’s Eve Gala, cooking classes, comedy night, Valentine’s Day, Easter Brunch and Mother’s Day celebrations. Private parties and special dinners will also be accommodated. Those with weddings already booked for upcoming dates should experience a seamless transition.

At present the historical Bee-Bennett House may be seen on the Wedgewood Banquet Center Website as Wedgewood Gold Country, location No. 17 for the company.

Prior to that the stately Victorian was home to the Placerville Elks Lodge No. 1712 and before that the residence of Judge Marcus P. Bennett and his wife Mary and their children. The Bennetts purchased the home in 1889. It was constructed by businessman Col. Frederick Bee in 1853.

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Discussion | 20 comments

  • BummedDecember 29, 2011 - 1:46 pm

    Gee, thanks for giving us enough notice to use our gift cards.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SHDecember 30, 2011 - 6:54 am

    Seriously. They had holiday gift card specials, only to say that you have this weekend to use them. Thanks guys.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RosemeyerDecember 29, 2011 - 8:41 pm

    So...will they still be open as a nightly restaurant?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SHDecember 30, 2011 - 7:06 am

    No, it they won't serve as a public restaurant, just for large events

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SHDecember 30, 2011 - 7:21 am

    I hope they will continue the Chef Demonstration dinners with David Bagley.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • wayyyy bummed!December 30, 2011 - 10:53 am

    Rumor has it that David is also leaving. And..as crappy as the gift card issue is, maybe think about the 20 plus employees that got laid off just a few days before Christmas. I am sure they would love to see you come in and use those gift cards before they close the doors after New Years Eve.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CherylDecember 30, 2011 - 12:25 pm

    I am very annoyed with the gift card situation. Right before Christmas there was a big display of them at Costco, that should not have happened. Also, gift cards were given so someone could have a great dining experience, not buy wine. I am a member of the wine club, and it is very good wine, but not what the gift cards were given for. I will miss having this fine restaurant.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LeeDecember 30, 2011 - 4:06 pm

    Could of have been a lot worse----Mike Adams could of bought it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Last chance.....December 30, 2011 - 7:51 pm

    concerning the Adams, they are still in business, Poor Red's seems as busy as ever....apparently they really are above the law......maybe we don't have to pay our taxes?!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NewsmanJanuary 06, 2012 - 9:23 am

    I wish he did, at least he would have not screwed over his customers or workers. "Lee" you are a loser!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ConcernedDecember 31, 2011 - 3:01 pm

    The Elk's should have kept this building...

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  • MarkJanuary 02, 2012 - 7:40 am

    Just great! Found out about the sale after the fact. So are the cards good for anything and if so how do we redeem them?

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  • CeceJanuary 02, 2012 - 4:24 pm

    This is the same complaint I am hearing ALL OVER TOWN! Dozens of people received gift cards as gifts, especially with Costco selling them at a great rate, but now no one can use them! To the new people managing the restuarant: What a great way to start off your business! The whole town pissed off b/c their gift cards are no good! I'd like to know how much $$$ was just flushed down the toilet! Maybe they should re-consider excepting the cards...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CeceJanuary 02, 2012 - 4:55 pm

    At what point did the owners know the business was changing hands yet still decided to sell gift cards knowing they would expire?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • hangtownJanuary 03, 2012 - 8:27 am

    MIA again, our PantyWaist District Attorney.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SHJanuary 03, 2012 - 9:12 am

    I asked them about it, apparently they didnt know about it until the last minute. Of course, whate else are they gonna say? :) The cards can still be used downstairs to buy wine. Not the intended purpose for sure, but at least its better than nothing. I think Westwood is equally to blame - not the right way to start off. Everybody i've talked to is ticked off at them right now. I wish they would change their minds and open to the public as a daily restaurant. Maybe a petition? :)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill ZarukaJanuary 03, 2012 - 12:14 pm

    As the President of Wedgewood (the company that purchased the business) this past week I can assure you that Nello and his team reacted quickly to mitigate the gift card process and notify his customers as soon as he knew what was going on. Unfortunately a lot of cards are out there. I have been told they will be honored or refunded at the wine cellar. This all happened very quickly. I know many people are sad to see the daily restaurant close, but given the current economy there is no way to keep that part of the business afloat. The Fine Dinng segment of the industry is really struggling. A top end Ruth's Chris Steakhouse just closed it's doors in Santa Barbara. We will continue to be an integral part of the community by hosting any form of banquet. Birthday parties, retirements, baby sthowers, weddings, and all sorts of events like comedy night, Valentines dinner, and Mothers Day Brunch. I think given the options that were a possibility this is the best scenario for community. We have retained as many members of the management team including David Bagley and look forward to being a staple of Placerville for many years to come.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NewsmanJanuary 06, 2012 - 9:28 am

    This response sounds like canned corporate BS to me, what a way to start a business in this little town!.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BummedJanuary 04, 2012 - 9:18 am

    still seems to me like the old owners just went for the cash

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  • FraudulentJanuary 11, 2012 - 9:53 pm

    I think they knew they were closing and sold gift cards just to keep the cash. I tried to get the value of the card in c ash as it was a gift and do not want the wine. I was told it would be 45 days before they would send it to me. Where will they be in 45 days? I doubt if they will be around after they sell all their wine. How about a class action suit against them? I would be happy to get it started.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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