The word “Alchemy” conjures up visions of long-bearded wizards in misty castle towers stirring drops of dragon’s blood into bubbling cauldrons. Considered the forerunner of modern science, the pseudo-science of “Alchemy” was the attempt by Medieval “scientists” to turn base metals to gold. This pursuit lives on at Alchemy Market and Café, where “turning basic elements to gold” are words to live by.
What Type of Restaurant is Alchemy?
Alchemy is primarily a full service Restaurant with award-winning cuisine served with careful attention to detail in the elegant dining room, comfortable bar, or patio. We describe our cuisine as “comfort food with a twist”, featuring updated classics like “The Ultimate Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf”, “Dungeness Crab Macaroni and Cheese”, and “Almost Boneless Half Chicken”. We are also a Wine and Beer Bar, where you can taste a wide variety of local wines by the glass and world class beer (12 taps, over 100 bottles). Chef Jason loves to suggest wine and beer pairings for your meal. Just ask! Finally, we are a specialty Market, featuring the wines of most of Calaveras county wineries, beer, and old-fashioned candies.
When you walk off historic Murphys Main Street into Alchemy, you wonder how this classy jewel of a restaurant, wine bar, and gourmet market came to be on the main street of one of the original “rough and ready” California Gold Rush towns. The décor is a melding of rustic charm, comfort, and Vintage California, characterized by the giant mirror and warm glowing lamps of the Wine Bar, the old-fashioned brass beer tower, the chalkboard with daily specials on a clapboard sign outside the Restaurant, and the century-old rustic wood floor of the Market, transported from a San Francisco warehouse. The apparently long history of Alchemy is belied by the fact that the whole place was built in 2000 on a field that formerly housed a derelict barn and pasture land.
Further adding to the interest of Alchemy is the food, which is neither haute cuisine nor Cowboy cuisine, but what Chef/Owner Jason Wright calls “world comfort food with a twist.” Chef Wright is pleased to bring his innovative cuisine to Murphys by way of Carmel, where he was Chef and co-owner of Bahama Billy’s Island Steakhouse and Bixby Martini Bistro, both voted “Best Restaurants in Carmel.” No stranger to the mountains, Jason formerly directed the culinary operations of Whiskey Creek restaurants in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop. He is a graduate of San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and describes the food at Alchemy as “… craveable. The menus at Alchemy feature the best items from my culinary career. Big, bold flavors from around the world with an emphasis on classy American favorites. Every item is a winner, and you will want to come back over and over to try them all.”
A dedication to quality and good old-fashioned American value is evident in every plate served, from the bone china and crystal wine glasses to the abundant portions to the bold, flavorful cuisine. Lunch features deli-style sandwiches and innovative salads such as the Thai Chopped Chicken Salad; Bistro Salad with candied pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese; and Three Hearts Caesar, with romaine hearts, hearts of palm, and artichoke hearts. The dinner menu switches gears, concentrating on fresh seafood such as Seafood Pad Thai, Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Salmon, Cast Iron Sherried Mussels, and Parmesan Crusted “Scalone”. Desserts lean towards the extravagant, with best sellers such as Coconut Caramel Cream Pie, Espresso Brownie Sundae, and Mammoth Chocolate Cake.
Chef Jason features exclusively Sierra Foothills wines on the Restaurant’s wine list, with over 30 wines by the glass to choose from. Even the wine aficionado will be sure to find wines of interest, as the specialties of the region are the warm-weather varietals of Spain, Italy, and the South of France, including Tempranillo, Viognier, Marsanne, Petite Sirah, and Barbera. Beer is prominently featured at Alchemy, as well, with 12 hard-to-find beers on tap and over 100 bottles of world-class beer to choose from, easily the best beer selection in the Foothills. Chef Jason is even known to host beer-pairing dinners in addition to wine dinners. Be sure to reserve a table for Winemaker’s Night, every Tuesday night throughout the year, featuring discounts on featured local wines and free live music.