Entrepreneur Robbie Clearie
● By Sandie Tillery
In Good Taste
By Sandie Tillery
Photo: TA Schmidt
Hospitality, good food and business sense – it’s in her blood. Robbie Clearie grew up in the wake of two generations of entrepreneurs and restaurateurs in Redding. Her grandfather, Harry (Doc) Clearie, owned and ran Doc’s Hilltop Skyroom, a favorite place to dine from the 1950s to 1972, with its grand view from the north end of Redding. Clearie’s father, Bob Clearie, still owns The Hermit’s Hut opened in 1971. Clearie also credits her “other father” Howard Taylor, owner of Taylor Motors, for encouraging her dreams. She worked for both her father and Taylor during her young adulthood learning the retail end of business.
Clearie and her former husband ran The Chalet at Lassen Park from 1992 to 1999, where Clearie oversaw the food service operation. At the same time, she helped design and establish California Espresso Cafe, managing the business for five years. Later, Clearie purchased the Sausage Factory on Hartnell Avenue, running it successfully for 10 years until her lease was up and it was time for something new.
As a child, Clearie enjoyed an occasional meal at The Shack, a restaurant and lounge located on the busy intersection of South Market Street and Eureka Way, where she was served by her mother, who worked there for 25 years. Now, Clearie’s Restaurant and Lounge sits on that same location.
Clearie says it wasn’t anything she wanted, but she “took a flying leap” when the old building became available. She felt like the opportunity was “dropped in her lap.” From the beginning, she had a clear vision of what she wanted to create, from the interior design and decor to the “old school” lounge, a complete makeover from the ground up. She has created a warm, upscale environment with linen napkins and fine dining selections, served – she hopes – with the same sense of intimate friendliness patrons experienced at both Doc’s Skyroom and The Shack.
Among her first guests was a couple who held their wedding rehearsal dinner at Doc’s Skyroom 45 years before. Her clientele includes many who hold fond memories of her grandfather. Her decor includes memorabilia from Doc’s Skyroom, she says, in tribute to his legacy. She adds with a rueful smile, some small degree of her success comes from “milking her pedigree.” Clearie feels strongly that her establishment is a uniquely Redding business, a testament to three generations of entrepreneurs contributing jobs and hospitality services to their community.
Her hands-on approach to management has developed a loyal key staff that she brags has remained with her since opening on September 14, 2011. She trusts them now to take over while she enjoys occasional international adventures. When she isn’t traveling, she is a familiar face, greeting new and old guests alike. Clearie reports that the business has remained consistent, and she is amazed at the number of travelers who find the restaurant through Yelp and Trip Advisor.
Another of Clearie’s enterprises, Redding Tents and Events, opened in 2008, located across the street and down the block from the restaurant on South Market. It has become her staging area for catering and extra storage for the restaurant, as well as providing rental services for local events.
Clearie loves where she lives, rich in family and lifelong friends, and she has developed a reputation as a savvy business woman with a direct personality that she says has served her well in growing and running her businesses. With a few ideas floating around, she won’t say never to new opportunities, but she feels pretty content at the moment with two thriving businesses and trustworthy staff. More world travels beckon, with a bucket list still to complete.
Clearie’s Restaurant & Lounge
(530) 241-4535 • www.cleariesrestaurant.com
Redding Tents & Events
(530) 222-2000 • www.reddingtentsandevents.com