Inn, Foreclosed, Awaits New Life

05/24/2012

The no vacancy sign hanging from the white-washed pillar of the Olema Inn has become a permanent mark for its last owners. As of last August, the deed to the inn was turned over from the hands of restaurant owner John Wiltshire, to those of the First Community Bank, in an auction that sold the property for just under $1.8 million. It’s a far cry from the $3 million that the Wiltshires paid for the restaurant in 2007. Mr. Wiltshire, a retired aeronautical engineer, and his wife, Carol, said they never expected to make a large profit, but they wouldn’t even taste the $1.4 million that cuisine chef and general manager Ed Vigil said he brought in on average during the four years prior to the purchase. “[Mr. Wiltshire’s] first mistake was remodeling the kitchen without getting a permit,” Mr. Vigil said. The county forced the inn to close until a permit was issued, and in the meantime, Mr. Wiltshire laid off the staff. When he reopened, few employees came back, and the owners hired their stepson and Mr. Vigil’s understudy, Jeff Wong, as head chef. Word on the street is that Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong of Manka’s Inverness Lodge are set to take ownership of the inn. But for now, the only presence at the Olema Inn is that of Edgar Nelson’s ghost. “I used to spend the night at the inn on Sundays, when I didn’t want to drive home,” Mr. Vigil said. “One time, while I was in bed in Room One, I felt like someone was sitting at the end of the bed. I never slept there again.”