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Sunday, January 24, 2010 

The historic Cold Spring Tavern

Cold Spring Tavern
Originally uploaded by Carrie Patterson.

is written up in Restaurant News.
Known as much for its wild game dishes such as rabbit, wild boar and venison as for its history, Cold Spring Tavern, with its wood-paneled dining room, stone hearth fireplaces and mounted animal heads on its walls, was rustic before the term was coined. The 3,000-square-foot main restaurant and bar — there’s also separate bar area next to the restaurant’s sloping dirt parking lot — seats about 70 people and regularly serves about 110 lunches and 120 dinners a day, according to John Locke, the restaurant’s general manager for a decade. Cold Spring Tavern — not “Springs,” as it’s often called — which also has live music four nights a week, provides a snapshot of California history for customers ranging from longtime locals to out-of-state tourists to the aforementioned bikers.

“It’s the same,” said Stuart Churchill, who met his wife Joanne at the Tavern 28 years ago and in late December made a trip back there with her for the first time since they moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., from Santa Barbara about 15 years ago. “The moss on the roof is a little thicker, but that’s about it.”

Cold Spring Tavern’s aversion to change — three of its 25 employees have worked there for more than 20 years — appears to have served the restaurant well. With many restaurants’ 2009 sales down between 10 percent and 20 percent, last year’s sales at Cold Spring Tavern, whose check average is about $15 for lunch and $30 for dinner, were about $1.7 million, or about 7 percent less than its 2008 revenue.

Along with Brothers’ Restaurant at Mattei’s Tavern in nearby Los Olivos and the Sycamore Inn in Rancho Cucamonga, Cold Spring Tavern, is one of a handful of California restaurants still in operation that started their lives as stagecoach stops. - Restaurant News

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