John Kane, RIP

kaneI stopped to refill my coffee cup this morning after working intently on updating our magazine’s website, and checked my email: I was stunned to read two emails from my friends, each one informing me about the unexpected passing of John Kane, owner of Kane’s restaurant in Grass Valley. I visited with one of them over the phone to discuss it.

John was a good friend of our family. We visited at the KNCO-Kane’s Penny Pitch this past weekend. He thanked us for our donation of a weekend getaway at Lake Tahoe for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition in Nevada County.

John bought me a Manhattan the week before, while I watched the Opening Day of the Del Mar horse races in his new lounge on HDTV. He joked in an interview on KNCO that it was an unexpected benefit of the new space: A place for people like me to sit and watch the Del Mar horse races, something we both enjoyed.

John was always cheerful. We’d talk about food, San Francisco and travel.

We both shared a passion for food and restaurants: He loaned me some Food & Beverage magazines that I’ve been meaning to return and are still sitting by my desk. Behind his jovial personality was a serious and accomplished chef. We shared many experiences: Original Joe’s, the Giants and the University Club in San Francisco.

Once we ran into John at the Peppermill in Reno, where he was playing in a charity golf tournament. He was holding court, just as he did at his restaurant.

Our last conversation — last week — was about the wonderful smells that define the mountain air of Lake Tahoe and beaches of Hawaii. He brought it up and I found it very perceptive. John also told me he was going to get a new boat for Scotts Flat.

He and Maria embraced our family, always asking our son about what he was up to in school. Some of the best visits were at breakfast, at Maria’s, early on Saturday mornings.

This photo is from our magazine by Lisa Redfern. We wrote about John here and here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “John Kane, RIP”

  1. Noooooooooooooooooo! Agony to read of John’s passing. Our only regular place to dine out. Grass Valley just lost a giant. RIP.

  2. John was a great guy, and his contribution/investment to downtown GV was huge. His restaurant management was top-notch. When dining at Kane’s; I enjoyed sitting at the counter near his kitchen, and watching him inspect every plate before they were taken to his patrons. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  3. I am saddened by the news of John. He came to GV and made an immediate positive impact on our community. We have lost an individual who created an atmosphere where you could dine and relax and enjoy the conversations with John and his regular customers. My prayers are with Maria and his entire family.

  4. I am very sorry to hear this news. I send Heartfelt wishes and hope for for John, His Family, Maria, and everyone who came to know him as a dedicated and talented man who created one of the very best venues for us to enjoy his visions, both personally and at Kane’s.
    Sad to see you go John. Your memory lives with us all.

  5. I feel like I have lost a member of our family. John was a wonderful, talented and generous human being. Blessings upon Maria and his family at this painful tragic time. He will be grieved by many.

  6. Our family sends our prayers and asks for Gods blessings to help his family in this time of loss.

  7. I was stunned and shocked to get the news of John’s passing from a friend that john introduced me to 15 years ago. He was a very close personal friend and colleague. Whenever I was in the area, Maria and John invited me to stay with them in Nevada City.
    John was a native of San Francisco and a past president of (San Francisco based) the Chefs Association of the Pacific Coast. After he left the University Club and moved to GV/NC, he invited me to look over the proposed site of the restaurant. When discussing potential names for the new venture (from past experience) I suggested “Kane’s”
    short, simple and perfectly descriptive. Anyone familiar with his cooking talent, knew he would be a success. Maria and John were perfect partners in an increasingly difficult business. Maria’s and Kane’s are two of the best restaurants in the county and beyond.. You can’t replace a man like John Kane. He loved his four sons and took them to see 49er games as often as possible.
    One of the last emails from John told me he regretted not being able to play in the Chefs Assoc. golf tournament because of impending back surgery. He said it would be ten weeks before he could resume golf. Perhaps his next round will be in a better place.
    Our prayers and deepest sympathy go to his family and Maria who is a great lady inside and out.

    Sal Campagna

  8. Someone you love dies unexpectedly…

    Leaving you with nothing! Nothing but wonderful memories…

    Memories to become a part of your treasure!

    Rest in Peace Johnny Kane we all love you…

  9. Very sad day, John was a good friend to us when we first moved here. He will be greatly missed-

  10. Here are the details of the memorial for John Kane:

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of John Kane will be held on Saturday, August 3 from 11am to 2pm at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building (255 S. Auburn St, Grass Valley, CA).

  11. John was a true artist in his field. He will be missed by any and all who knew him. From all of us at Gold Miners Inn we offer our deepest sympathy to Maria and their family.

  12. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations are made in John’s name to these local charities that he loved to support:

    DVSAC (Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition) – or (530) 272-2046

    United Way of Nevada County – or (530) 274-8111

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