It could be as early as Saturday, Feb. 15, or it could be Tuesday or somewhere in between, but the new Sequoia Cider Mill Restaurant will be opening within days. That’s the word from owner Efrain Ponce who, after the tragic fire of June 8, 2012, never gave up on his family’s dream to rebuild the restaurant.
But little did Efrain know when he started his quest to rebuild all the paperwork, permits, conditions, fees etc., and some unforeseen obstacles that would stand in his way. First, there was the demolition of what was left on the Sierra Drive site in Three Rivers and the constant reminder of Ponce’s nephew, Geordie Gonzalez, 13, who died in the blaze.
From the County of Tulare, there were the new setback requirements mandated by Cal Trans and a scenic highway ordinance that requires new construction to be at least 40 feet from the highway. One corner of the building had to be rebuilt back 10 feet while another moved up 10 feet.
Building inspections, fire inspections, health inspections; it’s a lot of hoops to jump through and permit fees to pay. Now the Cider Mill is at the end of a long and winding road and about to embark on a new era in its storied history.
“We’ll be celebrating our grand reopening as soon as we get the doors open,” Efrain said.