The San Ramon City Council has backtracked on its January decision to completely demolish the Mudd’s restaurant site, deciding to explore keeping part of the building and seeing if it qualifies as a California Point of Historical Interest.

The council Tuesday voted 3-2 to approve the “jewel” scenario put forth by staff, with Vice Mayor Scott Perkins and council member Mark Armstrong dissenting.

The concept involves saving a limited part of the building, which was open from 1981 to 2008, to use for small special events.

Part of the push for preservation comes from the building’s unique design, with large windows and a bell-shaped barrel vault ceiling. Interpretative displays outside would tell the history of Mudd’s, which was a popular dining and event space adjacent to open space and San Catanio Creek.

The site is on nearly 10 acres on the south side of Crow Canyon Road, east of San Ramon Valley Boulevard, and includes extensive community gardens.

Over the years there were various movements to use the space for events, classes and other programs, always with a high price tag to renovate the building without realistic funding options, other than through the city.

In January, the City Council opted to accept recommendations from the city’s Parks and Community Services Commission to “adopt a vision for Crow Canyon Gardens that retains the peaceful atmosphere, serene environment, and emphasis on nature.”

Council members said Tuesday they still want to emphasize that part of the plan, including adding a shade structure and restrooms to the site.

But council members Sabina Zufar, Sridhar Verose, and Mayor Dave Hudson said they would like to see some of the site’s local history preserved.

“The point is if you tear this down, it’s gone,” said Hudson.

Perkins and Armstrong supported the “celebration” option presented by staff that would have taken down the entire building and created a pavilion and/or monument. The pavilion could be used for special events.

“We all have our perspectives, and we’re not really hearing a lot of new information tonight than what we’ve heard in the past,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s time to be decisive and it’s time to move on.”