Occidental, located in the heart of Sonoma county's redwood groves has been known as several different names over the past century. Situated on the highest point of the old narrow gauge railroad that once hauled the giant redwood logs to the mills, the town has variously been named Summitt, Meeker, and Howard. Now officially Occidental, this is the site of Negri's Original Occidental Restaurant. During the days of the railroad, Negri's Occidental was a stopover for many travelers riding the San Francisco-Eureka "Iron Horse".
Negri’s Restaurant came to be when Joe Negri Sr. traveled across the Atlantic, leaving the canals of Venice behind. After landing on Ellis Island, Joe soon put all that he knew to work cooking at the Waldorf Astoria. It was there, where he caught the eye of Rudolph Valentino who took him on as his personal chef. His travels with Mr. Valentino led him to San Francisco.!
After some time in the Bay Area, Joe moved north to Santa Rosa and started working at Lena’s where he met Theresa.
Theresa Tesconi was born May 25, 1910 in Lucca, Italy. After emigrating to the United States, she worked as a waitress at Lena’s in Santa Rosa where she met and soon after married Joe. They had two sons Joe and Albert. The couple moved to Occidental in 1938 and later purchased the site that Negri’s stands on now. Theresa cooked and Joe ran the bar. Joe always had a joke and a quarter for the children as he passed through the dining room to greet the customers.
Joe passed on September 5, 1970, leaving the business in the hands of Theresa and their two sons. Joe Jr. took his fathers place in the bar, and Albert went to run the kitchen with his mother. After a morning of preparing, Theresa would spend the afternoon in the bar greeting the customers and talked with them for hours. Joe Jr's son Joe Negri III passed on October 23rd 2005 and Joe Negri Jr. passed on October 22nd 2011.
Today, you will see Evelyn Negri (Joe Jr's wife), her daughter Sandy Negri and Sandy's two daughters Amanda and Tori continuing the Negri legacy.