It’s not only the temperatures that are hot lately but businesses up and down Sierra Drive are posting impressive numbers in what looks to be the best summer season in the past seven years. July and August are traditionally the busiest months of the year but in 2014 the steady flow of visitors began in June, earlier than in the recent past.
Sierra Subs and Salads of Three Rivers reported an excellent June. For other locals, cash registers are singing — and that’s music to everyone’s ears in an economy dependent on visitors coming to experience the wonders of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
On any given day, but especially on Saturdays around noon, the lines waiting to enter Sequoia Park at Ash Mountain can stretch more than a mile. With all those visitors, more attractions, services, and restaurants are needed to cater to the tourists when they come down from the mountains for a night or two to stay and play in Three Rivers and along Highway 198 corridor.
Ol’ Buckaroo— The newest business now open on the local scene is a rebirth of sorts of a former Three Rivers restaurant — The Buckaroo — that existed for many years at the same site. The new restaurant, essentially a food truck with a rustic, furnished patio, is called the Ol’ Buckaroo. Its proprietor is Nicky French, who grew up in Three Rivers and returned home this past year with the idea of opening a casual restaurant where eating outside is a big attraction.
At the eatery, inspired by a booming food-truck movement, that she co-owns with her husband, T.R. Bousek, the couple hopes to recapture those good ol’ days in their place on the Kaweah River that might be described as a western-style tiki bar.
“We’re still waiting on the beer and wine license but we should have that within the week,” Nicky said.
The Ol’ Buckaroo is located between Chump’s DVDs and Sayler Saddlery, a stone’s throw upriver from the North Fork Bridge.
Chump’s— And speaking of Chump’s, there is a new face there too. The new owner is Meron Belachew, who recently relocated to Three Rivers from Claremont.
“I don’t plan any major changes to what Derek has been doing here for the last decade,” Meron said. “We’ll offer the same great titles and service and remain a gathering place where locals can discuss the films they are seeing or want to see. I just feel Three Rivers is a good fit for me.”
Plantation Bed and Breakfast— There also new owners at Plantation Bed and Breakfast in Lemon Cove: Gregg and Lisa Schultz. After 17 years, former owners Scott and Marie Munger sold their landmark property and retired to Panama.
Lisa is a former chef for a catering company in Dallas; Gregg formerly owned a commercial construction company in Texas.
“We sold everything we owned in Texas and couldn’t be happier that we landed here in this area,” Gregg said. “When you operate a bed and breakfast, it’s all about location and we have the best property in California.”