Going back in time for dinner | NevadaAppeal.com
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Going back in time for dinner

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal Co-owner Bonnie Stryker stands at the bar of the newly renovated Gold Canyon Steakhouse on Main Street in Dayton on Tuesday.
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It’s taken more than 10 years, but the Gold Canyon Steakhouse and Wild Horse Saloon is nearly restored to its original 120-year-old luster.

“It was about falling apart,” said Joe France, who owns the restaurant with his partner, Bonnie Stryker. “It was neglected for over 100 years.”

The pair came upon the building after coming to Nevada to visit Stryker’s children in Fallon in 1996. While there, France bid on a job in Schurz: painting houses on an Indian reservation.

“When we went to Carson City for paint, we came across this place,” he said.

France said he was told the Gold Canyon is the oldest continually operating restaurant in Northern Nevada, but wasn’t sure if that was true. The facts are still in dispute.

Longtime Dayton resident Ray Walmsley said he thought it was a continually operating business, but not as a restaurant.

“It wasn’t a restaurant at first,” Walmsley said. “It started as a bar; it was a bar most of the time.”

Laura Tennant of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley, however, believed that the building was empty for many months before France and Stryker bought it.

The building, built in 1885 by the Giametti family, originally sat on the corner of Pike and Main streets, but was moved to 160 Main St. around the turn of the last century, said Walmsley. His grandfather, Andrew, helped build the place.

Several generations of Giamettis ran the bar, Walmsley said. Back then, it was called the Europa, named after the ship that brought the family to America.

In the 1960s, he said, it was purchased by Bob Lee, who added a restaurant. In the 1970s, Vita Hinman bought the building and renamed it the End of the Trail.

Now the bar has the ambiance of old-time Nevada combined with some modern touches – from updated barstools and slot machines at the bar to ranch equipment donated by JohnD and Kay Winters. A photo of JohnD on one wall shows him participating in the Pony Express re-enactment in 1960.

The bar even contains an old carriage France came across while on another job.

“I was painting a house in Carson City, and that was in (the owner’s) garage,” he said. “I ended up owing him in order to buy it.”

The building has been expanded and added onto by France and Stryker, both of whom have previous experience with restoration and restaurants.

“They’ve extended way beyond where the living quarters were,” said Walmsley. “Before, it was just the bar in front and living quarters in back. They’ve done a very good job on it, too.”

France said restoration is about 95 percent complete, with just some roofing work and landscaping work yet to be done.

He has redone the back dining room and added on three rooms to allow for banquets and parties. All of the dining areas are decorated in Victorian style.

“Everything we made went into the building,” he said. “It’s taken us so long because we didn’t have a lot of money at first, so we just restored it as we went along.”

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and a Sunday brunch is offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Steak is the restaurant’s forté, hence the name. But France and Stryker also offer seafood and pasta dishes, as well as ribs, chicken and pork chops, burgers, soups and salads. Entrees for dinner run from $16 to the high-end, steak and lobster for $49.

“Bonnie had eight children and learned how to cook by cooking for all her kids,” France said. “That’s why her soups are so good.”

He said many of his customers are regulars, familiar enough that they sometimes get their own silverware or drinks.

K.C. Jones, a pilot who lives in Silver Springs, counts himself as one of those regulars.

“I drive here from Silver Springs every day for lunch,” he said. “This is like home cooking.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 351.