On the last evening of 2019, a steady stream of loyal customers arrives at a cherished local eatery. They come not only to share a holiday celebration, but to give flowers, raise a bubbling glass and express heartfelt cheers to original proprietor, Marie Beery, who opened the beloved establishment in 2001. The Saw Shop Gallery Bistro will close at midnight 2019 and become the Saw Shop Public House restaurant at the entrance of 2020, with new owner and local Weston Seifert at the helm of the Saw Shop legacy.
As the reservations are arriving and the staff is preparing for a very busy New Year’s Eve service, it is unlikely that there will be many people in the building who are not aware of the significance of the moment. This speaks directly to the loyalty Beery has inspired through creating and maintaining the quality of the Saw Shop as a fine dining restaurant, and through her steady philanthropy in so many areas of the Lake County community.
Beery was named Lake County Woman of the Year in 2019 by Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05), who said, “Marie’s hard work and dedication has touched every part of the Lake County community; from business to agriculture to charitable work to mentorship, her work boosts the entire area. As a business leader, she has helped to put Lake County food and wine on the map. As a community leader, she’s helped support many important charitable causes.”
Beery’s staff is known to be as loyal as her customers. Brad Brin, one of the earliest servers and longest employed staff member of the Saw Shop, recalls that from day one Beery emphasized that the guests “…should feel at home the moment they walk in the door.” Brin also noted Beery’s steadfast generosity in supporting charitable causes, local schools and artists. Honing her business career in the wine industry during a time when women in the workplace were consistently undervalued, Beery is known by her refreshing, if not at times startling directness.
At a time when the county continues to struggle with the impacts of cyclical fire disasters, Main Street in Kelseyville is revitalized through the efforts of the Kelseyville Business Association. “Marie Beery and the Saw Shop have been an anchor of Main Street,” says incoming KBA president Sabrina Andrus, who is the owner of the A&H General Store and Maker, a handmade specialty boutique.
Although Beery will remain active in the community, most notably through the annual Lake County Wine Auction (which has raised nearly two million dollars for charitable causes since 1998) her departure from the Saw Shop is big news for the town of Kelseyville and the entire Lake County community.
Melissa Chapman of Chapman Real Estate, who brokered the selling process, emphasized how important it was to find a good match for the Saw Shop. Weston Seifert is not only a local but a former employee and customer of the Saw Shop.
Originally from Minnesota, Seifert has lived in Lake County since 2008. Both of his children were born here. His extensive background in many facets of the restaurant industry is similarly aligned by a passion for community. Seifert describes his definition of success as being measured by customer satisfaction and “going the extra mile.”
“This is a very special place,” said Seifert recently, as he sat at the Saw Shop’s hand-carved black walnut bar, where he once tended. His vision for the restaurant, which is now named the Saw Shop Public House, includes continued philanthropy and an emphasis on staff development and education. The Saw Shop Public House will continue to operate during the transition process, with Executive Chef Sergio Ramos and Sous Chef Essie Negrete keeping the culinary standards intact. Seifert says it’s important to him to keep staff employment continuous during the transition, which includes installing a new computer system. He asks for the public to be patient during this process.
There will be questions that only the new owner can answer and only in real time, as he guides the restaurant forward with his vision. But one thing is certain; the Saw Shop has been at the heart of the community with Marie Beery at its very center. That heart is acknowledged as the Saw Shop legacy continues, in good hands.