Contractor and co-owner of the Grand Idyllwild Lodge Brad Rechtfertig, lays wood-like tile in the dining area at Jo’An’s Restaurant last week.       Photo by Becky Clark
Contractor and co-owner of the Grand Idyllwild Lodge Brad Rechtfertig, lays wood-like tile in the dining area at Jo’An’s Restaurant last week. Photo by Becky Clark

Jo’An’s Restaurant & Bar is in phase 1 of a four-phase renovation, according to new owner Mo Jacob, and was expected to re-open the middle of this week. The restaurant closed at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4.

Heading the renovation is contractor Brad Rechtfertig, owner and builder of the boutique inn The Grand Idyllwild Lodge. In a two-hour interview, Jacob lined out the changes coming.

Carpet was pulled, as well as the separating wall in the middle of the room, and new tile was being laid that looked like wood. Steve Zaccardi was putting all booths under re-upholstery with, as Zaccardi said, “higher-end,” leather-like fabric in bright red.

Booths will be located on the outer perimeters of the restaurant. New tables and chairs will occupy the center of the room and be moved for a temporary dance floor with a portable stage occupying the space between the two large windows facing Village Center Drive.

The interior walls will be painted a brownish color to complement the booths while the outside of the restaurant will be similar to the exterior colors at the Grand Idyllwild Lodge. Other changes will include lighting.

However, no changes will be made to the bar, the kitchen or the restrooms at this time.

Jacob purchased Idyllwild Property Management last year. IPM is a long-term property manager of about 75 properties, he said. But Jacob, a real estate broker, plans to expand to offering short-term property management, as well as hiring two real estate agents and offering escrow services.

In phase 2 of Jo’An’s, the beer garden will undergo upgrades: picket fence replaced with ranch-style fencing; plants added between fencing and rock wall for color; new stage; garden area covered with paving stones; barbecue grills replaced with professional one; new, low-voltage lighting; and possible replacement of tables and chairs. May of this year is the planned completion of phase 2 for the summer season.

He emphasized that a rumor that he plans to cut down the Christmas tree is false. “It’s not going to happen,” he said. Jo’An’s made a significant donation to Phyllis Mueller’s efforts to save the tree. He said the tree needs more than water; it needs nutrients, too.

“To the contrary, we love the tree, we want to support the tree … We’re keeping all the trees … We will keep the tradition of the Christmas tree.”

In phase 3, ranch-style fencing also will surround the south and east sides of the property; broken concrete will be replaced; flowers and trees added; a canopy over the back patio will allow for the restaurant’s overflow; and possibly a game area. He also is thinking of the possibility of a playground along that side facing Ridgeview Drive.

Phase 4 is undecided with two ideas at this time: a coffee kiosk with tables and free wi-fi in warm months on that corner facing Village Center Drive; or an area providing E-ZUps and tables for people to rent and sell their wares with a right of first refusal to local businesses. Fresh sandwiches made in Jo’An’s kitchen might be sold at the coffee kiosk.

When asked, “Is there a phase 5?” Jacob replied, “Not yet. I’m talking to Brad about something unique for Idyllwild.”

He said he already has upgraded the food at the restaurant and his goals are to improve the food, the look, the service and the entertainment.

In the meantime, he’s also asking for recommendations whether to keep or change the restaurant’s name. Email your entry to [email protected].

The restaurant is now closed Wednesdays.