San Marzano Community Center coming to town

Jul 20, 2023 | Business

Some of the beers and wine available at San Marzano.

By Michael Brewer – Special to the Alpine Mountaineer

There is a new kid on the block! Thanks to the vision and creativity of Ken Williams and Jennifer Jones, we will soon witness a new upscale community center at 23575 Lake Drive called San Marzano Community Center.

Williams signed a 10-year lease for the property that was once a Christian Science Reading Room, but has been sitting vacant for six years. Williams began churning out ideas for the property that was not only an eyesore but a magnet for marginal activity. The result is a one-of-a-kind multifaceted community center with a prospective clientele broader than any other mountain venue.

Ken Williams and Jennifer Jones are enhancing the property with a variety of plants and trees.

Ken Williams and Jennifer Jones are enhancing the property with a variety of plants and trees.

San Marzano will encapsulate and consolidate Williams’ long history of food, beer and wine events, as a professional brewer of beers. The majority of these events have been fundraisers for nonprofits. Most recently the 4th of July celebration and the Elder Warrior Retreat for Combat Veterans have been the beneficiaries of their ongoing donations to the community.

Moving some of these events to the new venue “will provide more opportunity, creativity, and serve a broader, more varied clientele,” Williams said. “We saw a blank canvas at the entrance to town and jumped in to paint a new picture.”

When asked about the name San Marzano, Williams noted it is the most popular of all pasta sauces which they plan to make from scratch. Both the pasta and the sauce at the new center will be included in their food fundraising events, the next being on Aug. 24 benefiting a Rim Ed Back to School program and a seminal College Education Fund for mountain youth. Poetry with Philbillie will be part of the program as will live music and all local food vendors.

The center will also be hosting Lunch and Learn sessions where professional guests present new and fun topics, like home brewing and red wine blending and even an introduction to programming microcontrollers.

San Marzano will be the home to some of the finest craft beers and fine wines available that they have been offering every Friday at the Lake Gregory Market Nights, Corks & Hops and the annual Heisler Theater events. Their POG Hard Seltzer, Gone All Squirrelly Net Brown Ale and Hazy Hatchet, which was a fireworks fund raiser, continue to be mountain favorites and brewed by Williams. A new non-alcoholic beer, Cerveza Athletica by Athletic Brewing, was just added to the offerings.

On the property, Williams and Jones have planted 150 trees, including 11 manzanitas and a variety of fruit plants for wildlife. Exterior fencing is near completion to enclose a newly paved parking lot.

Williams’ profession as a software engineer and product designer who works from home affords him the time to contribute to the quality of living in Crestline. He will be offering some elementary computer training and an understanding of computer coding for youth.

The meeting room at San Marzano will be available for conferences, seminars and workshops with wifi access. Some bookings have already been confirmed by local groups including the fourth annual Marine Corps birthday gathering on Nov. 10.

Stay tuned for the official grand opening. In the interim, stop by and introduce yourself to Williams and Jones at the Friday night market. Or catch them at their next Craft Beer and Food Festival, Food I.E.Days, at Crestline Plaza, 23739 Lake Drive on Aug. 5 from noon to 10 p.m. Participating vendors are Noble Ale Works, Asylum Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Escape, Good Day Brew Co., Chubby Cheeks, Divine Science and Ritual Brewing Co. The coordinators of this event are Sara Green of Wears the Mountain, Good Day Brewing and San Marzano Wine and Ale Lounge.


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