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Lincoln's greatness seen through visitors' eyes

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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I saw Lincoln in a new light this weekend. That’s when my daughter’s father and brother, who live in San Jose, visited her for their first time here. Through the eyes of our weekend company, I appreciated seeing how outsiders consider Lincoln to be a potential up-and-coming desirable locality. Which is nice to hear, after watching the last several months of ongoing heated debate between some city representatives and residents. We ended up having a leisurely eating-out weekend with my daughter’s relatives. Our visit started with a late breakfast Saturday at Awful Annie’s and dinner that night at Lincoln Chinese Restaurant. We ended our culinary “vacation” with Sunday brunch at the Thunder Valley Casino buffet. My ex-husband and his son were excited by their mostly dining tour here, citing great food, very reasonable prices and professional service. They hope to bring some of their family members with them the next time they visit my daughter. They’re especially looking forward to spending some relaxing time on a local golf course or two, enjoying more downtown meals and perhaps attending a concert at the casino’s Pano Hall. When I explained that more businesses might be attracted downtown when the Highway 65 bypass opens, the 23-year-old son compared Lincoln’s core, with its historical buildings, to a small Nevada City downtown. That historical town 40 miles to the northeast is bustling with shopping and entertainment activity and full of residents and visitors feeding the local economy seven days a week, most days of the year. Both father and son were specifically impressed with the casino’s food and wait service Sunday; and the courteous treatment they encountered Saturday night at the blackjack table. My daughter’s father and brother would next time like to stay at the casino’s hotel, instead of at a generic Rocklin hotel. They couldn’t believe the casino hotel had no vacancies Saturday night, considering that they were quoted weekend rates at $239-plus. Their appetite was whetted even more when a casino buffet employee said the casino plans on adding a golf course and a 2,000-seat performance hall. I liked hearing impartial observers see bright possibilities for Lincoln. That’s almost as good as hearing from the city that new businesses are coming to town. Coincidentally, the city of Lincoln’s last Planning Commission meeting on March 16 shows that Lincoln has a promising new neighborhood market. On March 16, the commission approved a determination of public convenience or necessity for the off-sale of alcohol to Lincoln Food Mart. The new convenience store will be at the former Persimmons Café before summer, across from McBean Park on McBean Park Drive and A Street. The 3,817-square-foot food market, which is owned by Shawn Sherali and his wife, Habiba Sherali, will offer food products, alcoholic beverages and frozen yogurt. Future plans, according to the Planning Commission documents, include operating a small dine-in or take-out café. For McBean Park visitors and for downtown residents, this daily market will be a boost. It’s often quicker to walk a block or two for a milk carton than to warm the car for a drive to the larger grocery stores. The Sheralis, who live in Davis, own convenience stores in Nevada City, Grass Valley, Auburn, Sacramento and Davis. They also own bookstores in Sacramento and Davis, according to Shawn. I asked Shawn Tuesday why he wants to open a business in Lincoln. “I felt it was a nice town. Nice people live around there,” Shawn replied. “One of my good friends lives here. I saw an opening and decided to open here about three months ago.” Shawn hopes to be here before the 90 days, as stated in the Planning Commission documents. “When we get in, we’ll try to get input from local people on what they want,” Shawn said. “I like the people I see. Everyone says it’s a nice neighborhood. It’s a nice quiet town. It’s a good community for retirement people. I’m 50 plus. As soon as we open the doors, bring any suggestion. We’re coming in for the people.” How fitting that, as spring officially began this week, Lincoln is perhaps mirroring the season with its own growth. Carol Feineman can be reached at carolf@goldcountrymedia.com