Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30th, 2013
BY: TODD GUILD
“We really don’t have a good name for it,” owner Abe Novin said. “This is for the community. I think the community will benefit to know it’s for them.”
Novin, who has owned the building since 2004, said the restaurant will still feature wings and pizza, along with a “complete” menu with American and Italian dishes.
Additionally, the ornate adjacent lobby, will serve as a meeting spot for events such as parties and Quinceañeras.
Originally called the Appleton Hotel, it had a restaurant with a grand dining room, a cigar stand and an adjacent theater. It was converted to a residential apartment nearly 40 years ago.
The Hotel was built to house the people flocking to Watsonville for the city’s Apple Annual festival, which drew 40,000 to its inaugural event.
Built by William Weeks and considered the last example of neoclassical revival architecture in Watsonville, the building has long been a centerpiece in downtown Watsonville.
Among Weeks’ many other accomplishments was also the Bandstand in the Watsonville Plaza, The Christian church on Madison and East Lake and the Lettunich Building.
“It has a historical touch,” Novin said. “There is really nothing else like that in Watsonville.”
An early morning fire on Jan. 5, 2005, destroyed the interior of building and displaced 50 people who were living in apartments after a renter fell asleep while smoking. Novin repaired the building and reopened it last year with 74 simple studio apartments. Those plans included opening a restaurant on the ground floor.
Novin’s plans to allow a franchise called Wings-Pizza-N-Things to move into the spot fell through early this year. Because he has already purchased the pizza oven and other supplies, however, he has decided to open his own restaurant, with plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Jackie Bisesto, who will be managing the restaurant, said she aims to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer a unique menu, including “great burgers, a different kind of pizza, and great wings.”
“We’re trying to fill a niche that Watsonville doesn’t have,” she said.
“It will be fun to see what people come up with,” Bisesto said about the contest. “Hopefully we will get everyone involved.”