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September: Paul Lewis
October: Corey and Val Hogue
September 21st Natter
The Purple Place
The Purple Place Bar & Grill
363 Green Valley Road in El Dorado Hills,
Best use of the color purple. The Purple Place Bar & Grill went from
run-down biker bar to popular neighborhood destination.
By Raheem F. Hosseini
You really can’t miss The Purple Place Bar &
Grill. For starters, its wide-set facade is literally purple. And “El Dorado
Hill’s original roadhouse,” as it’s billed, has loomed large on Green Valley
Road since 1955.
But that doesn’t mean it was always a hit with the locals. “The Purple Place
is historic, and everyone knows about it some way or another, but it really
was a run-down biker bar when we took it over,” says co-owner Denise
Hountalas, who purchased the establishment nine years ago with husband Mike.
The couple started their new venture with 12 employees and no investors, she
adds. Now they have 58 people working for them, as well as a large cast of
regulars gobbling up an equally expansive menu.
Everything is made fresh in-house, including the chips, mayonnaise and
pasta. The loaded menu has its popular items, such as the biscuits and
gravy, the appetizing prawn cocktail and the ribs that take three days to
prepare before being served for dinner. “I think that’s made it a better
restaurant and brought in more people,” Hountalas says of their
She credits a great team and her husband Mike, who began his restaurant
career at the age of 7, cracking eggs for his father, who then owned San
Francisco’s famed Cliff House. Mike Hountalas most recently worked as
director of operations for Sacramento restaurant magnate Randy Paragary.
On a mild Thursday afternoon, it’s easy to see why the Purple Place has hit
its comfort-food stride. Outside on the dark-wooded patio, the jerk-chicken
sandwich packs a lemony zing. Despite its name, it’s a palate’s best friend.
The crammed main restaurant is decorated with murals depicting the county’s
history, but diners are too busy mowing down bacon cheeseburgers on
gluten-free buns to notice. Denise Hountalas says many of these same folks
will return later, cleaned up and sans children, to tip cocktails and enjoy
live weekend music.
Check out their
Please let Paul Lewis know by September 18th, if you will
attend, so he can let the restaurant know how many to expect.
Paul Lewis 530-676-8552