With nearly 166 years of history, the Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar remains a treasured watering hole and eatery in Benicia. With everything from homemade pastas to fresh-squeezed mixers, this favorite spot continues to stand the test of time.
The Union Hotel’s history is interesting, such as the story behind the stained-glass windows that flank the entry. In 1980 the hotel’s owner commissioned six windows at Max and Moritz Stained-Glass Studio of Oakland.
The windows were designed to commemorate Benicia as a state capital and have immortalized the phrase “Union For Ever.” They’re a testament to Benicia’s rich history, as well as its commitment to the arts.
Restaurateur and bar owner Gabriel “Gabby” Oviedo recently spruced up the restaurant and bar to enhance the authentic quality of one of the oldest buildings in Benicia. With the fresh paint and polish, the restaurant and bar are as charming as ever. And this goes for the menu as well.
“I use the freshest ingredients in my cocktails and dishes, so everything tastes delicious,” says Gabby. “Whatever you order, you are going to love.”
Gabby’s specialty is turning classic European-style cuisine and cocktails into something incredible. His authentic fusion of Italian, Spanish and French cuisine is truly an epicureanexperience. And he keeps his guests coming back for more with a changing menu for each season.
With more than 1,000 different cocktail concoctions and over 500 recipes to pull from, the menu repertoire is both creative and diverse. Yet much like the landmark location, thehouse specials are classics with a few decadent twists.
Take for instance the chef’s signature drink, known as Gabby’s Jolt. This is an espresso martini with Godiva chocolate, Tuaca, Kahlua, crème de cacao and vanilla vodka, shaken not stirred, with a cocoa dipped rim, homemade cream and dusted in chocolate. Oh my, the devil is definitely in the details.
And while the Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar is open daily, they only serve lunch and dinner, except Sundays when guests can enjoy a full brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. At first glance, the menu may seem like a list of traditional favorites, but the chef always adds a little je ne sais quoi, elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary. In lieu of hollandaise sauce Gabby crafts his eggs Benedict from a pancetta scramble with fresh mozzarella and red onion topped with creamy rosemary Parmesan sauce.
For those looking for a little pre-weekend outing, the Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar presents live jazz music every Thursday night. Happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. The lunch menu is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner is served 3-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and until 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
When the weather permits they also have a lovely patio out back where Gabby plans to build an outdoor bar. Guests can relax and mingle in a cozy setting, great for date night or a spot to gather with friends and family.
In addition to the restaurant and bar, Gabby offers complete catering services with delivery to your home or business. The Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar is a great place to host events such as fundraisers and weddings.
For more information or to view their online menus, please visit unionhotelrestaurant.net.