A historic hotel and restaurant reopens under family ownership.
Stories Nora Mounce
Like writing a novel or opening a wine bar, running an inn is a quotidian American dream that only gets interesting when someone signs on the dotted line. With 10 years of hospitality experience under their belts, Kyle and Katie Cox made the fantasy a reality when they purchased the historic Lewiston Hotel Bar & Grill, in partnership with Katie’s parents, Mike and Maggie Graham. Looking for an escape from the daily grind in San Jose, Mike took a drive up to Trinity County to check out a friend’s old hotel for sale. “No way,” he reported back to the family, after observing how much work the place needed. But they couldn’t stop talking about it—memories of the emerald-green Trinity River and peaceful mountain town were unforgettable. In May 2018, the family took a chance on their dreams, purchasing the historic Lewiston Hotel, established in 1863. After a year of renovations, the Lewiston Hotel Bar & Grill reopened as a community outpost just in time for the 2019 season.
“We made the menu more casual than it’s been in the past,” says Katie, whose husband is the head chef. “Economics have changed in the area, and we want to cater to local families.”
Only 30 miles west of Redding and a 15-minute drive from Weaverville, the restaurant draws local patrons on weekends as a date night destination with live music and dining al fresco. Situated above the restaurant are six “Old West” style rooms, which Katie describes as rustic and unique accommodations with two shared bathrooms for all guests. Rooms start at $85 a night.
While Katie says they experienced a degree of culture shock on relocating to rural Trinity County from San Jose, she and her family are hooked on the abundance of the scenic beauty and recreational activities. “I love being able to go swimming in the lake or hiking in the Trinity Alps,” Katie says.
A stand-by with local anglers and rafters resting up after a day on the water, the hotel stays busy in the winter with steelhead fishing and whitewater boating season. Though Lewiston Lake is located just a few miles down the road, nearby Trinity Lake is more popular with sunbathers and swimmers come the triple-digit days of summer.
“We plan on being here for years to come,” Cox says.