“It’s someone's 50th wedding anniversary. They’re celebrating a new baby. We’ve had surprise engagements. We’ve had people mourning the loss of someone they loved. Every human emotion and experience you can imagine is being shared around this table. And I feel it is this huge responsibility we have to care for that, to nurture it. To create lifelong memories for our guests.”
We’re in great company with Sherry Villanueva, Founder and Managing Partner of ACME Hospitality celebrating 10 years of creating happiness for her guests and teams alike, with innovative food & beverage concepts and boutique hotels sprinkled around California.
Over this time, Sherry has curated a village of hospitality loving hosts, gastro-geeks, delightful diners and ravenous regulars throughout Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, the Sierra Nevada Foothills and soon San Juan Capistrano.
In this episode, Sherry delves into the deep connection she has with her two historic hotels in California’s Gold Country, the National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City and the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, lovingly restored by local artists, designers and craftspeople. Listen as she invites us all to experience 165 years of history and welcome a change in the seasons, as we say goodbye to our Indian summer and hello to a warm festive winter.
[1:45] Sherry spent a career traveling the world tracking trends, learning a lot about human behavior before founding ACME Hospitality for “people passionate about caring for people.”
[6:40] The moment the stars aligned for Sherry happened to be in her own backyard of Santa Barbara, CA when she was tapped to revitalize a neighborhood called “The Funk Zone.”
[10:30] A look back at 10 years of ACME Hospitality includes lots of laughs, a lot of tears, and learning “how to pace and embrace the chaos.”
[13:20] Get to know Santa Barbara’s culinary scene with ACME Hospitality through The Lark, the restaurant that started it all, Loquita, serving authentic Spanish tapas, La Paloma Cafe, celebrating Santa Maria traditions, The Helena Avenue Bakery, where everything is scratch-made, Lucky Penny, spinning out wood-fired pizzas, Tyger Tyger, with its vegan Thai cuisine, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, a tasting room featuring small family run wineries, and Pearl Social, a music and cocktail lounge.
[18:20] When Sherry set off to restore two historical boutique hotels in California’s Gold Country, she wanted to ensure a deep sense of community - stewarding culturally significant properties, supporting local purveyors, investing in local non-profits, and connecting to nature.
[26:35] The National Exchange Hotel with its Victorian era spirit, is full of rich colors and patterns, opulent furnishings, lovingly restored original features, and mysterious details around every corner that continue to surprise guests as they explore further.
[33:40] Sherry explains how two towns such as Nevada City and Grass Valley, which may be just minutes apart, can feel worlds away. Nevada City, full of true craftsmen, sets the scene for a Hallmark movie, while Grass Valley with its rugged edge, is the heart and grit that built the industry.
[38:40] The Holbrooke Hotel, where modern luxuries blend seamlessly with a historically unique, rustic-yet-refined, one-of-a-kind property, features the oldest saloon in California serving patrons for over 165 years.
[48:00] Since opening another boutique hotel, Azure Sky in Palm Springs, Sherry is setting her sights on San Juan Capistrano, with another hotel and two restaurants opening soon.
- Around The Table Cookbook by ACME Hospitality
- The Bear TV Series
- Good Morning Supply Co.
- Setting the Table by Danny Meyer
- The Maker Hotel in Upstate New York