Z place to Z. (Photo: Wolf)
Western-style restaurant to open in old Gomez’s location
It only seems fitting that Courtney Polovina (granddaughter of John Tuberville, also known as the Marlboro Man) is opening a western-themed restaurant here in Mammoth Lakes. Pairing the cowboy background along with the fact that she claims she was conceived somewhere inside of Whiskey Creek 33 years ago, only makes the welcoming of her new restaurant, the Z Ranch a harmonious fit for Mammoth.
Pronounced Z Bar Ranch, the concept for the restaurant spawned while Polovina was working at the Bear Flag Fish Co. in Newport Beach alongside Mammoth local and MMSA ski school instructor Parker Hardt. “We always talked about doing a restaurant together and when the opportunity arose to open in Mammoth we just went for it,” said Hardt. To assist Hardt with the managing of the restaurant, Polivina also summoned the help of Mammoth local Ashley Brussel, a longtime manager at the Side Door as well as the Restaurant at Convict Lake. Brussel’s knowledge of the local food and spirits scene will undoubtedly be beneficial to Polovina.
Referring to Z Ranch’s new location at the old Gomez‘s, “It’s always been such a comfortable locals spot,” claims Brussel, “all we have to do is keep it that way.”
The charm of the old Gomez’s A-frame certainly will not be lost even though it’s been getting a complete face-lift over the past few weeks. One of the gripes with the old setup was the lack of an adequate waiting area. To solve this dilemma, “Were turning the whole front end of the restaurant into an open lounge area, complete with bar service,” Hardt claims. This will be a welcome addition, along with the plans for giant elk head, Big Buck Hunter and denim clad servers.
Sorry, no spittoons.
“The idea for this restaurant is a modern spin on a classic ranch house,” says Kristen O’Neil of Gustov International Inc, a design firm out of Newport Beach. “We will have unique black and white prints from the original Z Ranch in Arizona,” which has been in Polovina’s family for generations. “It will look sort of country chic.”
Confused by this I asked if that meant something along the lines of Paris Hilton with a cowboy hat on, O’Neil responded, “No, not that nasty.”
With plans for multiple horseshoe pits, Sunday outdoor barbecues, kids eating free (with paying adult) and ample space for live music, Polovina hopes to establish Z Ranch as a not only a great place to eat but a distinctive place to experience.
Set for a soft opening on Nov. 1, Z Ranch will feature menu items with a southern style flavor such as beer can chicken, grilled fish sticks, catfish, trout and barbecue. “The idea is to create a southern style menu that’s delicious but also very local friendly,” Polovina says.
Stocked with full beer and wine menu, as well as a massive assortment of scotch and bourbon whiskeys (pending liquor license), Z Ranch will more than likely be a local’s favorite.
When asked if there would be a mechanical bull Polovina replied, “We’re still deciding, but we’re always open to suggestions.”