Weaverville’s Best-Kept Secret (Not for Long)

johnsons-4

Seconds after I sat down at Johnson’s Steakhouse in Weaverville, a relish tray appeared with fresh, crisp carrots and celery, lovely onyx olives and perfectly-flavored, sweet but salty bread and butter green beans. The perfect start to a perfect meal. I sank into a cozy booth, was enveloped by azure walls, warmed by a corner fireplace and, long before food arrived, treated to a visual feast of artwork created by the owner, Meg Wilson. The graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago has returned to her roots in Northern California.

johnsons-6

You’d never know it, but Meg and her mom Liz Johnson operate the restaurant by default. Meg, who has experience in restaurants but has never owned one, admits, “It came with the golf course.”

“What golf course?” one would ask, if you arrived under a star-filled Weaverville sky, as I did on my first visit.

johnsons-11

But for the Johnsons, the Trinity Alps Golf Course is the main attraction, and as new owners, they have worked hard to make it that way, overcoming the course’s terrible reputation and years in limbo with various investors. A visit to the course during the day revealed a strata of scenery that includes landscaped greens, critter-filled ponds and mature trees, all surrounded by the evergreen-coated Trinity forest. The course is Eden, even if you just want to hang out on the golf cart, but it’s also the perfect spot for those who are serious about the sport.

johnsons-9

Meg’s brothers, Wil and Tom Johnson, both professional golfers, have taken the wounded course under their wings and are transforming it. The Johnsons restored the irrigation system, sowed new fairways, modified bunkering, trimmed and removed hazardous trees, and altered some of the greens. All of the fairways have new turf, and the greens and tees have new sod.

johnsons-14

Wil and Tom also constructed a new practice green and bunker. The putting green was seeded with new bentgrass, trees were replaced, the parking lot cleared and a new practice range is in the works. Tom, who will return to golfing professionally after recovering from a wrist injury, is close to opening a full-service pro shop to complement a new fleet of electric carts, parked in new cart barns. Wil plans to oversee the course as its superintendent.

johnsons-8

Dave Hunt, a 52-year Weaverville resident, playing golf with a cast of other locals during my second visit to Trinity Alps, praised Trinity Alps Golf Course from both the perspective of an outdoorsman and avid golfer.

“Fast greens and good conditions,” was Dave’s golf perspective, but he was clearly enjoying the changes the Johnson family has made to improve the course and clubhouse.

johnsons-5

Equal love was bestowed on the restaurant, a construction project that took a year and transformed what Meg describes as a “Chinese bordello” into a softly lit, ambient, 50s-reminiscent dining room. In addition to the restaurant, Johnson’s boasts a 150-capacity banquet facility and a cocktail lounge with a picture-window view of the first tee. Umbrellas, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit complete the bar’s adjacent outdoor patio. The course would be a great place for a summer wedding but it is also host to “Home to Home” golf tournaments, pool leagues and wine tastings.

johnsons-13

But back to the food. The Johnson’s Steakhouse menu is a dizzying array of cuts of beef, pork, seafood and poultry. Now, I’m no Femme de Joie, but I know when I’ve had a cocktail with just the right ratios, followed by a crispy wedge salad oozing with rich homemade blue cheese (with a steak knife to cut it) and just-as-I-like-it, rare Angus prime rib. The piece de resistance was homemade blackberry pie and ice cream from scratch. In fact, all of the bread, sauces, dressings, soups and ice creams are made fresh daily.

johnsons-3

The best part of the menu is the restaurant’s “split” policy that allows budget- and portion-conscious diners, for an additional $5, to share an entrée, but enjoy their own sides and soup or salad. This feature I found helpful when dining with my 11-year-old (who loves rice) and her Nana (who would knock you down for a good baked potato.) However, there was nothing portion-conscious about the “split” meal.

johnsons-7

Great scenery, a professional golf course and mouth-watering food aside, it’s Meg and her professional but friendly staff and the restaurant’s sophisticated but casual atmosphere that make a meal at Johnson’s memorable. Meg admits, “It’s been an adventure.” I’m sure glad she embarked on it.

johnsons-131

The Trinity Alps Golf Course and Johnson’s Steakhouse are at 160 Golf Course Road in Weaverville. For more information, visit trinityalpsgolf.com or call (530) 623-6209.

Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studiosand are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State news and events to adamm.anewscafe@gmail.com.

Avatar
is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

22 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris Bennor says:

    As someone who grew up in Weaverville and has seen most sides of the golf course, good and yes, mostly bad, it's exciting to hear that it's revived and now a destination worthy of going to. Thanks, Adam!

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    Great article but something is missing from this and from the Johnson's web site: Days and hours of business for both the course and the restaurant. Do they serve lunch? When do they open for dinner and on what days? A menu on their page would be helpful, too.

    • Avatar Chris Bennor says:

      Yep, and I just tried to use the Contact Us feature to ask that they do that and get an error message. Sounds like they need some website help.

      • Avatar Heidi says:

        The website seemed pretty easy to find for me. I navigated through it without any problems. http://www.trinityalpsgolf.com/dining.html

        • Avatar Chris Bennor says:

          The website is lovely, I agree. But when you click on the Contact Us icon and try to send a message, it won't go through. Just needs some testing to work out the kinks and it's obvious Meg and her team are doing all the right stuff to make Johnson's Steakhouse a smashing success.

  3. Avatar Cherry says:

    You make it sound well worth the drive. Thank you for the coverage, Adam.

  4. Avatar Meg Wilson says:

    So sorry about the website glitches!! We are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and yes, I admit that our site needs help. Please feel free to email us at trinityalpsgolf@gmail.com or call 530-623-6209 and I'll try to get the site more functional! Thanks to everyone!
    Meg Wilson

  5. Avatar Sean Randall says:

    The garlic twin steak (rare and mooing is the only way to eat a good steak) was incredible! Well worth the drive!

  6. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    Adam, thank you for the good news, will try to get out there to give it a shot. Sound very tempting.

  7. Avatar Gabrielle says:

    Thanks for this article. It sounds perfectly lovely and I am looking forward to visiting one day soon.

  8. Avatar Sac City says:

    Do you know if Tom will include his famous brownies, with his secret ingredient baked in…..on the dessert menu…..wink, wink….for some reason I felt I was floating on a cloud after eating them…..

  9. Avatar Celeste White says:

    Excellent article, Adam! Since everyone else has commented on the content, I'll comment on the writing: It's wonderful! Definitely made me want to go out of my way to check this place out.

  10. Avatar Canda says:

    Great, enticing article. I look forward to trying Johnsons'. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Avatar Chris Bennor says:

    Took Mom and my boys out to dinner there tonight to celebrate her birthday. The restaurant looks fabulous, the hostess and server were lovely and attentive. The boys shared a burger (no kids menu) and it was plated great – two plates, giant burger cut in half, plenty of yummy steak fries on both. Mom and I split the twin sirloin steaks. They were cooked PERFECTLY and had a lovely, delicate teriyaki flavor. Even the cauliflower was great – it actually had seasoning on it, which is rare at a restaurant.

    And for you Weaverville-ites, dinner for the four of us, with plenty to eat, cost less than it did at The Nugget where we went for my birthday. So very excited that there's another dining option in Weaverville!

  12. Avatar Meg Wilson says:

    Just for a little clarification and a nod to the past, the original Johnsons' was my dad's family restaurant in Willows CA in the fifties and sixties. When he and my mom bought this place, we all agreed that it would be a great thing to bring back.
    Summer menu is being released within a week, kids menu too!

  13. Avatar Lindsey says:

    Very glad the golf course got a makeover. I lived behind it while I was in high school and it was not exactly a "happening place." Looking forward to visiting the next time I'm in the Ville!

  14. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Adam, a great article. Thank you. I trust your taste and I love your writing.

  15. Avatar Jay Morse says:

    In order for more traveling golfers to find Trinity Alps, it should be listed on http://forelinksters.com

  16. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    Adam, we went there for lunch per your suggestion. We had a very good meal and look forward to going there again for dinner. The outside patio is going to be an added bonus, and it appears that it will be ready quite soon. Lovely people – I wish them well.

  17. Avatar Kate says:

    Wow….sounds wonderful and love the photos! Can't wait to play a round of golf and have a splendid dinner! I love all the unique places you are making known to us Adam!

  18. Avatar Rick Gutbrod says:

    You can't go home…

    Golf in Trinity County. What a waste of flat land…