The Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar

401 First Street

Benicia, CA 94510

707.746.7847 or 925.351.4489

Built in 1852, the Union Hotel is a living reminder of Benicia’s history as a way station during the Gold Rush. Well known for paranormal phenomena and the legends of ghosts, the hotel is frequently visited by enthusiasts looking for a glimpse of “Crying Mary” — a former “lady of the evening” who is still mourning the loss of one of her customers.

The restaurant is a hub of activity, complete with a beautiful side patio and plenty of outdoor sidewalk dining. The elegant bar inside is a charming step back into the past. Gabriel Oviedo, “Gabby,” is well known to Benicia locals and has been the restaurant owner and chef for more than 18 years. Friendly and accommodating, Gabby makes a mean martini and provides fresh and creative selections. Of French, Spanish, and Italian heritage, Gabby was born in Mexico. His menu is a reflection of styles from multiple regions. Each dish has a unique twist — Fettuccini with filet mignon in brandy cream sauce, Lamb Chops in citrus olive oil or the fresh grilled Halibut. Homemade pasta and bread. Don’t miss the very popular Italian style crispy pizzas. Desserts? Oh, yeah!

The website says, “you are where you eat,” and this is a great choice, whether taking out to dine at home or enjoying the ambience on site. What’s your pleasure? You’re likely to find it here! Call for takeout and/or dining-in options.


Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg as the cast of Ghost


In honor of the Union Hotel’s etheric guests, our 2 Minute Movie Review this month is of Ghost, 1990; starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze (when men’s hair was a real thing), and Whoopi Goldberg (before she got all savvy and View-y).

Thirty years does make a difference, but this murder mystery, comedy/drama, love story, ghost story holds up pretty well. We get to see Demi at her most appealing, Patrick at his most earnest, buffed up and shiny, and Whoopi when she was her funniest (Oscar — Best  Supporting Actress).

It’s not a spoiler to tell you that Patrick’s character, Sam Wheat, is murdered early in the film, but his spirit stays on to protect the love of his life, Molly (Demi). The fun is layered in when Sam enlists the help of sketchy psychic, Oda Mae Brown, played by Whoopi with such a kick and a twist as to be the best part of the movie.

Well, except, there is that scene. You remember: Demi and Patrick at the pottery wheel. The Righteous Brothers. Oh! My love! My darling! I hunger for your touch! Oh my goodness gracious!

Their love story carries us through the turns and curves, the betrayal by one and the redemption of another, all the way to the yearning, mystical end. You will love seeing it again.

PG-13; 2 hours 7 minutes; Directed by Jerry Zucker; available on Amazon Prime.

8 out of 10 Whiskers @