A California Gem: Hozy’s Grill: Cars, Food and Wine

By Sheryl Hamlin

Often known as “holy week”, the apex of cars, food and wine in Monterey County, from which we had just returned, was a perfect segue for the grand re-opening of Hozy’s Grill in Santa Paula, California. Hidden in an industrial park in a farming community, Hozy’s Grill channels the same ambiance and style that has fueled the Monterey events.

Gary Holzapfel, founder of Automotive Racing Parts (ARP), world class parts manufacturer for racing cars, designed a car-themed restaurant for clients and employees, featuring an award-winning collection of wine. After years of word-of-mouth success, Hozy’s closed for several months to redecorate, much to the chagrin of locals and regulars.

Jean Swift of Swift-work, the project manager and designer, felt the need to keep the fans informed, so created an email distribution list providing updates of the progress. These updates soon became the talk of the day and were re-circulated on Facebook.

Arriving at 6:30pm on Saturday night, August 22, 2015 during the grand re-opening weekend, we immediately noticed the color change. Orange walls were replaced with muted colors and stone. At the entrance, an impressive case of fine wines is displayed, but as Ms. Swift said, this case is a small selection of their enormous wine cellar. The full bottle wine list is 10 pages long, plus another page of half-bottles and wines by the glass. For special occasions, there is a 2000 Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessic-Leognan, France for $1750 and a Chateau d’Yquem for $360. We started with a split of Chandon, which was perfect for a warm night.

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As before, the walls feature posters of famous racers, but added are pedestals holding car parts as statuary. The Ignition system under the Ducati poster with the glass of wine is the perfect mélange for the restaurant. And who would have thought that a perfectly polished crankshaft would become a master sculpture? And, of course, the pair of super chargers is an eye catcher!

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The dinner menu features regular items and specials. The special for the evening was Duck Breast. Dinner is served Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with breakfast and lunch all days of the week.

Starting with two simple, but perfect salads, the meal included Hozy’s famous “Chicken fried steak” made with filet mignon and a shrimp cocktail paired with two  interesting reds: an Italian blend and a California blend.

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By 6:45 pm, all tables and bar seats were filled, but the staff conveniently served cocktails to those waiting in the line, which extended outside the door. How civilized.

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Recall that Ventura county was recently named the top spot in the nation according to the Washington Post Wonkblog from the standpoint of scenery and climate. Hozy’s Grill is a Ventura county treasure.

 

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For more information about the author, visit sheryhamlin.com

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