MATT MET ELIZABETH IN 1985 when she was 15 and he was 22. Elizabeth’s father, David “Dave” Arata owned Gumba’s and Elizabeth worked for her father making pizzas, doing dishes, and clearing tables. Matt was an assistant chef at River Pines Restaurant, currently Coyote Bar & Grill. Elizabeth and her dad would often go to dinner at River Pines Restaurant after closing Gumba’s. Elizabeth had a crush on Matt. He was older, handsome, and could make the best Fettuccini Alfredo. Elizabeth asked her dad if she could go out with Matt, be he would not let her until she turned 17.
ONCE ELIZABETH WAS 17, she went out with Matt on about three dates. The last one was a trip to Reno where Matt decided to buy a car. Many hours later, Matt made the worst deal ever he could make on a 1986 Dodge Dayton Turbo, later nicknamed the “chick magnet.” Elizabeth was nervous going back to work for her shift that evening because she was two hours late, and knew her dad would be worried. When she walked into Gumba’s, her dad was furious, and told her she could never see Matt again. Elizabeth pleaded and pleaded with her father, but knew he was serious when he drove to River Pines Restaurant after he closed Gumba’s. Once Elizabeth and her father arrived at River Pines Restaurant, he told her to stay in the car. He went inside and came out in less than two minutes. Elizabeth’s father passed away a few months later, and as a result, Elizabeth’s life changed completely. She moved to Santa Cruz to live with her uncle.
TWENTY-NINE YEARS LATER, Elizabeth reconnected with Matt on Facebook. Both having gone on with their lives with spouses and children, and later divorces. They reconnected instantly and like a couple of teenagers, they talked on the phone from night until morning. Matt lived in Alturas and at that time, Elizabeth lived in Roseville.
ELIZABETH AND MATT LONG DISTANCE DATED FOR 3 ½ MONTHS until Matt surprised her on the River Walk in San Antonio with a well-planned surprise proposal on Wedding Island. Soon, they were married in April 2016.
ELIZABETH’S HEART WAS ALWAYS IN GRAEAGLE, even though she never wanted to leave. She felt like she lost her home because she practically lived at Gumba’s. Matt remained in Graeagle as a chef, and always had a dream of owning his own restaurant. Soon, Matt had an opportunity to be a partner in Gumba’s in 1995. But, that would not have been a good choice for his family.
BOTH ELIZABETH AND MATT BELIEVE, God knowing their hearts, brought them together again in Graeagle and Gumba’s. Their hearts are in Gumba’s with Matt’s passion for being in the kitchen, and Elizabeth’s desire to honor her father. Together they hope to bring back the fun, family-friendly atmosphere of Gumba’s of the past. Great food, great service, and fun is what they want to bring back to the community.
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Matt & Elizabeth Cruse
350 Bonta St
Blairsden California 96103
A FUN PLACE TO EAT Gumbas provides a fun, family friendly atmosphere with friendly service and great food! For generations, Gumbas has been a longtime favorite for locals and vacationers alike. Dining at Gumbas brings back that old vibe with a twist of the new! Enjoy a variety of local and craft beers, including Blairsdens own Brewing Lair! Bottled beer is also available, along with a brand new glycol system with 14 tap handles.Great food, great service, and fun is what they want to bring back to the community.