Balboa Cafe to close, then open again | SierraSun.com

Balboa Cafe to close, then open again

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Despite a solid local and tourist following, Balboa Cafe Squaw Valley closed its doors earlier this month ” at least for a few years.

“Our intention is to open up in the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn in the future. We think we’re better suited to be our own landlords,” said Hilary Newsom, vice president of the PlumpJack Management Group.

After five years at the Village at Squaw Valley, Balboa’s last day was July 8. The group hopes to premiere the cafe in a new location on PlumpJack premises by 2010.

From a restaurant perspective, it’s better to operate on their own property, said Newsom.

PlumpJack Management Group and the Village at Squaw Valley continue to have a strong relationship, officials with both parties say.

“Balboa closing was a shock and disappointment to all of us,” said Executive Director Caroline Ross of Squaw Village Neighbourhood Co. “But understandable considering their new plans and the need to make their investors happy.”

“We are excited that Balboa will re-open in a few years under PlumpJack’s expansion,” she added.

In February the PlumpJack group introduced not only a new chief executive officer, but hired a new architect for its Squaw Valley Inn expansion.

Several years ago the community was up in arms about the group’s proposal for a six-story building design. But this time around, PlumpJack is more concerned with conveying the “alpine experience” and “sense of place” in their project design, Newsom said.

PlumpJack officials are currently working on permits with Placer County and met this week with San Francisco-based SB Architects to review preliminary designs.

“In spring of 2009, if everything goes as planned, [we’ll] begin the redevelopment process,” Newsom said. “We decided it was critical to bring in somebody who understood the neighborhood and the importance of height and better usage of space.”

Current plans call for combination hotel-condominium facilities, extended restaurant space and underground parking.

PlumpJack representatives intend to come before the Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council in early fall to review renovation and expansion plans in a public hearing, Newsom said.

Though some will sorely miss the cafe’s notable Balboa burger and Cobb salad, others say plenty of area restaurants and bars will fill the void left behind by the cafe’s closure.

Places like Zenbu, Mamasake and the Auld Dubliner have solidified a following, and newer spots like Blue Coyote and Uncorked are proving to be favorites, said Savannah Cowley, a Squaw Valley USA spokeswoman.

Additionally, the Village at Squaw welcomes a new Mexican restaurant to its dining options ” Nava’s Cocina de Mexico ” which plans for an early December opening.

PlumpJack is currently helping Intrawest to find a new tenant for the old Balboa location.

“It is one, if not the best, location in the village. We are confident it will be replaced with a great offering,” Ross said.