The New Horseshoe Bar Grill opens Friday

Bistro is now owned by 'Eppie' Johnson
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Auburn Journal
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The New Horseshoe Bar Grill is back and ready to feed the hungry masses of foothill diners. While some elements, from the “New” in its name to the owner to the menu featuring seasonal American dishes, are new, the location at Taylor and Horseshoe Bar roads in Loomis remains the same. Familiarity also comes with the return of Brandee Mueller, who returns to work once again as the restaurant’s assistant manager. “This is actually the first restaurant I ever managed,” the Auburn resident said, referring to her first round at the Horseshoe Bar Grill. Her return to Northern California and to the Loomis eatery — which comes after leaving the area, going to school and working elsewhere — is purely coincidental, she said. “It kind of just happened,” she said. Mueller was living in Southern California when she found an ad on Craigslist just three months ago indicating the Horseshoe Bar Grill was opening up under new ownership and hiring. “I loved it here before,” she said. “The atmosphere here is amazing. It’s just a wonderful place. It’s awesome. I couldn’t be happier. It’s going to be awesome in all aspects.” Richard Bruce is the New Horseshoe Bar Grill’s general manager, and nephew to Eppie Johnson, founder of both the Sacramento-area chain of Eppie’s restaurants and Eppie’s Great Race. “He knew the previous owner, so we called him up, got to see it and I fell in love with it,” Bruce said of his uncle. Bruce, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, has a restaurant-consulting background spanning decades and criss-crossing the country. Bruce has spent the past few months working on Johnson’s newest venture, bringing the previously empty restaurant back to life. The general public gets its first taste of the New Horseshoe Bar Grill when doors open for dinner at 5 p.m. Friday. In the mean time, staff has been practicing on family and friends, Bruce said. “It’s an opportunity for the staff to get used to serving,” he said of “friends’ night” events scheduled Monday and Tuesday. “It’s a chance for the cooks to get used to everything on the menu. We get to take advantage of our friends and practice on them.” Private parties continue today and tomorrow, but come Friday, all seats for this “American bistro that supports local sustainable food” are open to the public, Bruce said. The diverse menu is full of dishes featuring organic ingredients and antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, crafted by Robert Facciani, head chef. “Being a bistro, our foods tend to be one-plate items,” Bruce said. “You don’t have to buy a lot of sides to fill it up.” Dinner entrées sticking to the one-plate mentality include pressed chicken served with a roasted garlic jus resting atop a hominy and chive potato cake and seasonal vegetables. That plate costs you $14.95. Halibut cheeks, with Puttanesca sauce and squid ink pasta, costs $24.95. “It’s all over the board,” Bruce said of the menu. “Just about anything you want, we’ve got. It’s pretty diverse.” After Friday, the restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner, and for lunch Monday through Friday. Bruce hopes to feature Sunday champagne brunch in the future. Bruce has a good feeling about the New Horseshoe Bar Grill. “I think it has a local feel because of its smallness — it’s not a 200-300 seater. It has that hometown, small-town feel and yet the food is very high end food,” he said. “We’re small but we’ve got it all.” The New Horseshoe Bar Grill is located at 3645 Taylor Road in Loomis. Call (916) 652-4100 for information and, after the upcoming weekend, dining reservations.