Thursday, 13 June 2024

REGIONAL: Fire burns down popular restaurant

WILLIAMS – A popular restaurant that many travelers stop at while traveling along Highway 20 to the Sacramento Valley was destroyed by fire Thursday.

Granzella's Restaurant, located in Williams, caught on fire Thursday afternoon, according to Williams Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Gilbert.

Firefighters were dispatched at 3:21 p.m., said Gilbert.

At the time, there were 200 people – both patrons and employees – in the building, Gilbert said.

Mutual aid to battle the fire came from Glenn, Colusa, Yolo, Sutter and Yuba counties, said Gilbert. All told, there were 19 pieces of apparatus – including engines and command vehicles – and 96 firefighters.

The fire was contained by about 7 p.m. Thursday, Gilbert added.

The fire's precise cause isn't yet known, said Gilbert, but officials are focusing on the kitchen, where they believe the blaze started.

Two-thirds of the structure were completely destroyed, with the rest of the building – mostly its popular sports bar, which is a newer part of the building – damaged by smoke and water. Gilbert said the remainder of the building that was saved will have to be torn down.

Damages also are still being tallied, said Gilbert, with no dollar amount yet known. “It will end up being a total loss,” he said.

Much of the sports memorabilia from the sports bar was saved, said Gilbert.

That included the two stuffed polar bears, one above the bar – which had some minor smoke and water damage – and a second in a glass case, which Gilbert said was undamaged.

Everyone has been asking about the polar bears, Gilbert added.


As far as fires go, Gilbert said, “I've been here four year and I've never seen anything this big.”

Jim and Beverly Granzella opened the restaurant as an Italian deli in 1976, according to the company's Web site,

The business eventually expanded into a restaurant, growing into a popular stop for travelers along Interstate 5 and Highway 20.

Lake County News was unable to reach a company representative for comment. However, Denise McCarty, daughter of Jim and Beverly Granzella and a co-owner in the restaurant, told the Sacramento Bee that the family intends to rebuild and continue the business.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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