Granzella’s Serving the North State Since 1976
By Al Rocca
Story by Al Rocca
Photos by Al Rocca and provided by Granzella's
JIM AND BEV GRANZELLA could not have imagined how successful their little Italian delicatessen would someday be as they opened for business in the cold month of January 1976.
Certainly, the proximity to recently opened Interstate 5 seemed to offer a potential for out-of-the-area patrons. The agriculture-based area around Williams provided a loyal, but limited market. With one other person, the Granzellas labored to make a go of it, rarely taking off a day of work.
Both husband and wife enjoyed food – all kinds of food, not just Italian. In Richmond, where they had lived previously, hosting parties for family and friends made Jim and Bev happy. Jim knew weary travelers desired tasty, quality-made sandwiches that satisfied their palates at a cost in competition with fast-food restaurants. Bev also enjoyed conjuring up homemade recipes, “experimenting and altering by adding or taking away an ingredient.”
The Granzellas sensed they “were on to something” and expanded the deli to include a sit-down restaurant, pizza parlor, and to the enjoyment of young and old, homemade Italian gelato. Business exploded as word spread. Soon their daughter, Denise, and her husband, Bill McCarty, joined as partners. Later, daughter Linda came onboard, along with another daughter, Tami, and her husband, Gary Jenkins. By 1993, a full bakery came into operation, bringing in even more customers to buy fresh bread. At the same time, the family decided to add an expansive sports bar, one of the largest in northern California – complete with their now-famous giant polar bear and Alaskan brown bear.
According to grandson Daniel Jenkins, everyone involved in the family business worked incredibly hard, persevering through some hard times. One of the most difficult times was the afternoon of October 11, 2007, when a fire broke out at the establishment. “It was pretty devastating, watching a building that was about 100 years old burn – the same building that our family had built our lives around,” Daniel says. Immediately, the family and employees planned for a quick re-building. “We consider our employees part of the Granzella family and we wanted to get these people their jobs back as soon as humanly possible,” Daniel says. “Once again, with the hardworking attitude, now three generations of the Granzella family, our great customer base and a little bit of luck, we were able to reopen in less than 10 months from the fire.”
And now some say that Granzella’s Restaruant, Deli and Sports Bar is better than ever. Many customers cannot count how many times they have stopped on trips from far Northern California to the Bay Area and back home again. This oasis in the valley has provided refreshments, clean restroom access and a fun place to rest. Their deli offers unique, quality sandwiches, there’s a gift shop, and next door is the new 42-room Granzella’s Inn.
With a motto that proudly declares, “It’s exciting to be Italian,” Granzella's has something for everyone. •
Granzella’s Restaurant & Deli • 451 6th Street, Williams
Restaurant: (530) 473-5583 • Deli: (530) 473-5496
Granzella’s Gift Shop • 464 6th Street, Williams • (530) 473-5244
Granzella’s Inn • 391 6th Street, Williams • (530) 473-3310