FOUNTAIN SPRINGS — Destination Old Stage Saloon.

That’s what owner Ricky Nieblas envisions as she’s opening the new restaurant and bar, a project of love she’s been working on over the past year. The Old Stage Saloon was packed for its soft opening on Saturday and Fountain Springs’ newest destination will be open for business to the public on Thursday.

“We’re trying to make it really a destination,” said Nieblas about people stopping at her place on the way to such places as the Giant Sequoias or the Ponderosa.

Nieblas was asked by Michael Sanders if she was interested in turning the iconic building at Old Stage Road and Avenue 56 into a destination place where people could gather to eat and drink. Nieblas is married to Coleman Nieblas, who is Sanders’ nephew.

From humble beginnings, Sanders has become a successful cattle rancher and now the cattle ranching family is involved in the restaurant business through Nieblas.

“He wanted this,”said Nieblas about Sanders about buying the iconic Fountain Springs building. “He talked me into running it for him.”

Nieblas said the plan is to eventually to pay Sanders back for the building, which should be no problem based on Saturday’s soft opening.

Nieblas said the response from those in the area has been supportive. “The locals are looking for a change,” she said.

The iconic Fountain Springs sign on the front of the building will also remain, Nieblas said.  The place will eventually have a wooden sign with Old Stage Saloon on it, she said.

Nieblas said she began thinking about doing the business last summer and in October decided to go for it. She came up with the plans in December and by January 1, construction began.

“It’s finally come to life,” she said. “To see it finally finished is cool.”

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.. to 10 p.m. Friday. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

The bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday. The place will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The menu features traditional items such as New York steak and rib-eye and homestyle food such as meatloaf. There are also several appetizers on the menu including bacon-wrapped shrimp.

There’s also desert provided by BerryLicious fried pies and cobbler served with vanilla ice cream. There will also be daily drink specials, daily specials and a daily happy hour.

There are signature drinks as well including Sebastian’s Whisky Sour, which is Sanders’ signature drink, Ricki’s Ramos Fizz, Chucks Country Majito, MargaReno, Coleman’s Bean Rum and Amy’s Cherry Blossom.

The establishment is located at 29095 Avenue 56. For more information visit www.oldstagesaloon.com. Old Stage Saloon merchandise is also available for purchase at www.oldstagesaloon.com/shop.

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