The glitz and glamour of old Hollywood has made its way to the 209 at a new establishment called the Falcon’s Lair in Ripon. This family friendly restaurant and lounge offers tasty edible items like the Truffle Mac & Cheese, Raw Oysters, Lamb Lollipops, Garlic Butter Steak Bites, Guido’s Meatballs, a variety of pizzas, and specialty cocktails.
Bob and Moe Willey, along with their children Katie, Jeremiah and Hannah, make the Falcon’s Lair a true family affair. The Willeys have been in the restaurant industry since 1984 when Bob opened Pizza Plus in Ripon, which is now Gold Dust Pizza. Through the years they have expanded and can be found throughout the 209 with their newest endeavor the Falcon’s Lair landing in Ripon at 1225 Canal Blvd. They opened this year on March 19.
“Our family has created a space for people to enjoy their time with one other,” said Moe, “where they can talk, drink, eat and relax. Our style is a speakeasy old Hollywood style, but children are welcome.”
Walking into the Lair, guests have a choice to go right into the bar, lounge, or outdoor patio or they can go left into the dining room. Regardless of which way you go the menu is the same, showcasing some of the Willey’s family recipes and collective creations from the kitchen.
“All of our pizzas, of course, are our family’s but we have taken a new spin on them for Falcon’s,” said Moe. “We are a small bites restaurant. That being said, our small bites are hearty and filling. We are always adding new drinks and menu items. We also offer daily specials throughout the week.”
Moe explained that for the summer they will have a special summer cocktail menu and some new summer menu items.
The grand Charcuterie Board is served in a bird cage that has tiers layered with cheeses, meats, olives, nuts, smoked salmon, baby dills, dried fruit, fig jam and artisanal crackers. The Silver Screen Hummus spread is house made served with a variety of toppings and pita bread. They also offer a seasonal salad and a Caesar salad.
“We have been busy since opening,” added Moe. “This has been one of the smoothest openings of any store I have done. I love the restaurant business mainly because it’s what I do. I have been in restaurants since I was 13. Bob and I have raised our children Katie, Jeremiah and Hannah in our stores. They work side by side with me. Ripon is our home base. It’s the community where we raise our children. It’s the birthplace of our first pizza parlor. We want to bring something new and fresh to Ripon.”
Falcon’s Lair has a warm and inviting vibe and if you are looking for a little entertainment, order their signature Smoked Old Fashioned made with Woodford Reserve that is smoked in a cut glass decanter poured on the rocks garnished with a Luxardo cherry. There is a variety of craft cocktails that they offer including the Ginger Rogers Margarita, and the Blood and Sand which is Scotch, cherry liqueur and sweet vermouth that is noted in the menu as Rudolph Valentino’s favorite drink.
“I want to thank all my employees for all their hard work,” expressed Moe. “I want to thank my children for not only helping by working so much, but for their young leadership as I am so proud of how they conduct themselves. My husband Bob, who is my rock, and all of our customers who support not just Falcon’s but our Gold Dust Pizza stores and Ice Cream Emporium. The Willey family feels very blessed and thankful.”
The restaurant was named in honor of Rudolph Valentino who had named his estate located above Benedict Canyon in Bel Air, Los Angeles the “Falcon’s Lair.” In the menu they pay homage to Valentino known as the “Great Lover” in the Roaring Twenties.
When asked why someone should take the trip to the Falcon’s Lair, Moe remarked, “I would tell someone to come to Falcon’s Lair to enjoy a classy relaxing environment with great service, craft cocktails and great small bite offerings. Everything is so hustle bustle nowadays. Everyone is on their phones and not talking to the people around them. Set down your phone and go back in time.”
The Falcon’s Lair is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.