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New restaurant to serve local food in 'true American bistro'

New Horseshoe Bar Grill to open in June
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Richard Bruce – a restaurant consultant for more than half of his 59 years – is bringing his vision to the New Horseshoe Bar Grill. The restaurant, located at the corner of Horseshoe Bar and Taylor roads, is the newest venture of “Eppie” Johnson, founder of both the Sacramento chain of Eppie’s restaurants and Eppie’s Great Race triathlon. Since late last year, Bruce, Johnson’s nephew, has been working on his latest project of turning the restaurant into a “true American bistro.” According to Bruce, the word bistro was first used by the Russians in Paris in the 1800s. Bistro comes from the word “wonderful” in Russian, he explained. To Bruce, bistro is also food that is not complicated. Instead, “It’s a one-plate dinner experience.” Bruce said the New Horseshoe Bar Grill will offer familiar foods, such as steaks, pastas, fresh seafood, salads and sandwiches. It will also serve antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat and as much organic, sustainable produce, seafood and dairy as possible. “There will be no frozen vegetables, only fresh,” he promises. Dishes will have flavors from throughout the country, from “shrimp gumbo to New York steak,” he said. He’ll also pair up with regional wineries to pour their latest and best vintages. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America – in the last class while it was still located in New Haven, Conn. and prior to its move to Hyde Park in New York in 1972 – Bruce has traveled throughout the country as a restaurant consultant. He was a general manager at the Hard Rock Café in New York and its international sites, originated the concept work for Planet Hollywood, developed restaurants and taverns in Las Vegas, and opened and ran Sam’s Cafés and Sam’s Restaurants in New York, Houston and Los Angeles for actress Mariel “Sam” Hemingway. Bruce also owned and ran the Elephant Bar Restaurant in Ohio and Pennsylvania. “The food that we’re doing now is food I started doing in 1989 at Sam’s,” Bruce said. “They’re American-style bistros, featuring regional products.” When it opens in early June, the New Horseshoe Bar Grill will have a place fine for dining, a more casual seating area for people who like to catch a quick meal and watch TV, a full-service martini and wine bar, and a warm, hospitable staff and manager who has taken quite a liking to Loomis. While driving around the Loomis Basin at the end of November, Bruce just happened to see the “for sale” sign on the building and it caught his fancy. “As soon as I saw it, I loved it,” Bruce recalled.