691 was originally Blanche Wagner’s home from 1888. A little unusual to have a woman owner by herself back then. It was a private home for a long time. Bates Evan and Fehrenson ran the funeral home I think from the 30’s to early sixties when the landlord raised the rent and they moved down by the high school. It was then again a private home for a few years. Harry Marsdon got it and completely remodeled and moved Au Relais from Schellville to 691. He opened in 1972 and was massively successful for a long time.
Harry fell into decline and sold to the Magliulo’s who ran Magliulo’s from 1988 to 1998. We bought it from them and when we remodeled found real dimensional lumber and old square cut nails in the walls. Even though it was a funeral home I never found it to be haunted. We had a feng shui teacher give a class there to other teachers and he thought the building comfortable. We sold to Emmy in May 2009 and as you know she unfortunately lasted approximately eight months.
When Au Relais was first opened there wasn’t a French restaurant in all of Napa Valley and everyone was there including Sebastiani’s etc. Ken McTaggart said he had to drink two bottles of champagne with his Mom before getting her to go in because she had been to numerous funerals at the location. Au Relais also did kettle drum Jamaican Thursday nights which were popular. Magliulo’s had a huge crowd for Monday night football and five dollar steak sandwiches.
Some of our celebrities included Alan Cranston, Carmen Policy, Tony Stewart’s whole winning race car team, many of the Senior golfers, Fess Parker, Tommy Smothers, and some great groups with John Lasseter. Our pot roast Tuesdays were a big hit. Being in the New York Times was also a highlight.
The Building of Sonoma Hopmonk 2010
When Dean first approached me about Hopmonk II I was thrilled, working with an enthusiastic savvy nice professional like Dean is a cakewalk! When Dean and Kim Betzina (designer) and Roddy Creedon (architect) came to walk the yard I knew we were going to find the ingredients for another Dean Biersch creation and here they are!
First came the fence, which was built using the last of the shiplap from a granary in Moscow Idaho. Heritage Salvage appeared in a story in the Moscow Pullman Daily News
I think the most fun was watching Dean and Kim sift through the chewing gum on the bleacher boards from Sequoia High School in Redwood City and the Bleachers from University of Southern Illinois Carbondale to pick all the right Letters and numbers for the tables and bar!
Sequoia High School’s Seal has a Native American word under the Giant Redwood, Unaliyi, which means Place of Friends! I know that Hopmonk Sonoma will embrace this feeling. Two notable graduates of Sequoia High are Dr Ray Dolby, invented the first Video Tape Recorder and then championed Dolby Digital Sound Technology and Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, huge in environmental causes! May the success rub off on you while enjoying a pint!
USI Carbondale Gymnasium was the alma mater of Walt Frazier (hall of Fame Basketball star) and our own Duane Kuiper, famed announcer of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
The decks at Hopmonk are from Senator Kerr’s stock farm in Moreno California. Kerr was a self-made millionaire who freely and publicly expressed the conviction that any man in the Senate who didn't use his position to make money was a sucker
Of course Hopmonk would not be complete without a lot of materials from the Yakima Hops Warehouse, the floors made from 7” shiplap spent 83 years embracing the key ingredient to Hopmonks mainstay, Hops!