The old Piemont Restaurant in Mount Shasta is still revered in the Upstate.
The proof can be seen in Shasta Lake, where the Piemont Marketplace has been drawing lines of shoppers since opening about a week ago. Customers will swap stories and share memories while waiting to taste the original.
Piedmont at Mount Shasta was popular for its family-style portions, especially the minestrone soup, ravioli, and steaks. The restaurant closed at the beginning of 2015 after 75 years of activity.
Troy Gerding opened the new Piemont at Shasta Lake. Gerding’s mother, Judy Cottini, owned the Piemont at Mount Shasta for 18 years before selling it to Gerding in 2008. Cottini’s grandmother opened the restaurant in 1940.
Demand for his new takeout business has been so high that Gerding is struggling to keep up. He had basically run out of food late Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a blessing. I feel very lucky, but I just don’t want to disappoint people,” he said.
The ever loyal supporters of Piedmont were there on Wednesday. At one point, about 20 people were standing outside the market waiting to order. A couple drove from Mount Shasta.
“A lot of people miss it and a lot of people want to try it,” said Denyile Burgess, who served as a waitress and cook at Piedmont in Mount Shasta for about six years in the early 2000s. Burgess planned to order ravioli and red sauce to take home and enjoy.
Also online was Russell Weide, whose mother worked in the original Piedmont as a child and grew up in Mount Shasta in the 1950s.
“They have the best ravioli. I was not able to replace that,” Weide said.
Crystal Williams told a man she was standing next to in the queue that she remembered going to the original Piedmont when she was 4 years old. His family lived in southern Oregon, but his grandparents owned a ranch in the Siskiyou County community of Macdoel, so the family met for gatherings at the popular Mount Shasta restaurant.
“They were famous for their five-course meals,” Williams said.
Like many in the line, Williams kept talking about ravioli.
“The ravioli had super thin pasta, so it was mostly meat. So we always ordered the ravioli,” she said.
A few years before Piemont closed in Mount Shasta, Gerding opened Piemont Italian Bistro and Catering in Palo Cedro. The bistro, however, closed after a few years.
After closing his restaurant in Mount Shasta and bistro in Palo Cedro, Gerding moved to Placer County, where he opened Onisto’s Bistro, a food truck named after his great-grandmother, Josephine Onisto, who opened the original Piedmont. The food truck sets up shop in wineries and breweries during the summer months.
“I thought I had to relaunch family recipes here where they’re loved,” Gerding said of his idea for the market.
Gerding received help from his mother and his ex-wife Pam Orchard, who worked in Piedmont at Mount Shasta in high school while she was dating Gerding. She is a retired banker and lives in Redding.
Cottini, who still lives in Mount Shasta and showed up Wednesday and Thursday, was pleased with the response the Piemont Marketplace is getting.
“I thought, what a great idea,” Cottini said when his son said he was opening the Piemont at Shasta Lake.
The Piemont occupies Cecil’s old pizza take-out on Shasta Dam Boulevard. It’s a small space and Cottini wonders if his son will be able to keep up with the demand.
“These freezers are full,” she said Wednesday.
Late Thursday afternoon, Gerding stood behind the counter with water in hand, marveling at the response he received.
“It sells out before my hours are up,” he said. “I hate doing that to people. You know, we just do things, and man, it’s hard to keep up with that kind of demand.”
Meanwhile, Cottini is still missing Piedmont at Mount Shasta.
“But I got to the point with my legs, they couldn’t hold up. I worked seven days a week,” she said.
For more information on the Piedmont Marketplace, visit its Facebook page.
David Benda covers business, development and all things happening for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He is part of a team of dedicated reporters who investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Join him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and perpetuate this work, thank you subscribe today.