What’s New in Healdsburg Restaurants, Hotels, Wine & Food 2020
Before the pandemic, the local newspaper in the quaint town of Healdsburg could have hired a full-time news reporter just to cover the openings of every restaurant, tasting room and shopping boutique. Downtown Healdsburg may only be about four-by-four blocks in size, but there are more than two dozen restaurants and a dozen tasting rooms in that area. Each year, a number of new can’t-miss establishments burst onto the local scene, and several stalwarts add new offerings to keep the scene buzzing. Here, in chronological order from most recent, are some of the latest food and beverage finds from Healdsburg restaurants, tasting rooms, bars, boutiques and more that we think you should put on your things to do in Healdsburg hit list. Due to the COVID-19 closure, recent news focuses on which businesses have reopened and which have closed.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants, Hotels, Wineries & Bars (Fall 2020)
New Tasting Room Opens Downtown: BloodRoot Wines
Noah and Kelly Dorrance of Reeve Wines have officially released their latest project, BloodRoot Wines–the newest tasting room in downtown Healdsburg. A collaboration project amongst a group of local winemakers, the seasonal tasting menu includes an array of unique and terroir-driven wines featuring a fabulous blanc de gris, a mineral-driven chardonnay and a vibrant carignan paired with spiced nuts from neighbors, SingleThread. They officially opened September 24 and are welcoming reservations on their outdoor patio via Tock. Open Wednesday through Monday until 7pm and closed on Tuesdays, we’re excited to welcome BloodRoot to the neighborhood.
BloodRoot Wines, 118 North Street, Healdsburg, CA, bloodrootwines.com
Fogbelt Brewery Expands to Healdsburg
Founded in February 2014, Sonoma County locals and beer lovers are well-acquainted with Santa Rosa’s taproom, Fogbelt Brewery. Known for their easy-drinking Atlas Blonde Ale, Flagship Del Norte IPA and their creatively-themed beer and bite pairings, the brewery is a must-go when visiting the Sonoma craft beer scene. Healdsburg locals were excited to hear the news on Instagram that the Fogbelt team is expanding its production facility to town. The question is whether the brewing team is also opening a new taproom in Healdsburg. We’re hoping they do! Stay tuned.
Fogbelt Brewery, 1305 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa, CA, fogbeltbrewing.com
Flying Goat Coffee Healdsburg Square Location Closes
A downtown Healdsburg staple, Flying Goat Coffee has officially closed its Healdsburg Square yellow doors. While the community is sad to see the new “For Lease” sign posted outside, be assured that you can still get your hot cappuccino, fresh pastries and coffee beans at their express location in the Healdsburg Center Street shopping complex or at their 4th Street location in Santa Rosa. The roastery has also made it easier to place your order with their online shop. Visit their website for more information.
Flying Goat Coffee Express, 419 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA, flyinggoatcoffee.com
Downtown’s Brass Rabbit Restaurant Closes
Local favorite Brass Rabbit, a stylish bistro located on the Healdsburg Square, has closed permanently. Though the restaurant helped push the City of Healdsburg for expanded street closures to allow local restaurants to expand their outdoor seating onto sidewalks and into the street, the expansion was not enough to keep their doors open.
Brass Rabbit, 109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA
Bacchus Landing Collective Opening in 2021
Founded by the Lopez family of Aldina Vineyards, Bacchus Landing is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021 as an easily accessible destination with five tasting rooms, an outdoor piazza for dining and a bocce court for family and friend gatherings. Located just minutes from Healdsburg Plaza (near biodynamic wine and olive oil maker DaVero Farms), Bacchus Landing’s 52,000-square-foot project is one we can’t wait to welcome into the community. Sign up for their mailing list for the latest updates.
Bacchus Landing, 14210 Bacchus Landing Way, Healdsburg, CA, bacchuslanding.com
Duke’s Expands Pop-Up Brunch
With the seemingly never-ending need to revise food and drink offerings during this pandemic, Duke’s Spirited Cocktails has found success with their new pop-up brunch. Now offered every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., their brunch menu features five delicious dishes, including pork chorizo chilaquiles, a 6-minute egg breakfast sandwich served on a brioche bun and their spin on the Hawaiian-inspired Loco Moco called the “Soco Moco” featuring housemade kimchi. Don’t forget cocktails. We recommend the Passion Fruit-Orange Mimosa, the Duke’s Bloody Mary and Fresh Peach Bellini to accompany your morning dish. Order online, by phone or in-person at their takeout window. Enjoy brunch on their new picnic tables on Plaza Street or relax on a picnic blanket in Healdsburg Plaza.
Duke’s Spirited Cocktails, 111 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA, (707) 431-1060, drinkatdukes.com
SingleThread Rooftop Garden Wine Bar Debuts
Through the end of September, take advantage of a special opportunity to experience SingleThread in a more casual setting — without needing a reservation. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Healdsburg Square from SingleThread’s rooftop garden while sipping on a glass of wine from the curated list of local wines and Old World selections, and savoring plates from a small menu of items from the kitchen. Open Wednesday through Sunday with longer hours on weekends. According to their website, wine bar reservations can be booked via Tock under a separate location called SingleThread Rooftop Wine Bar, but the app says reservations are unavailable; until then, walk-ins are encouraged. Also, rumor has it that the 3-Michelin star restaurant recently purchased–by way of public auction–Dry Creek Valley’s charmingly mysterious Noci, a 24-acre “edible adventure” garden filled with fruits, vegetables and flowers. Stay tuned for more information.
SingleThread Farm-Restaurant-Inn, 131 North St, Healdsburg, CA,(707) 723-4646, singlethreadfarms.com
Previous Healdsburg SHED Location Opening as Little Saint
The long-awaited transformation of the empty Healdsburg SHED location is finally happening. After sitting vacant for two years, the property will evolve into Little Saint, a place for food, retail, music and art. The sale of the building was announced by Saint Joseph’s Art Foundation, a non-profit arts incubator located in San Francisco, and local realtors on behalf of a Bay Area couple. It is slated to open this fall. According to Sonoma Magazine, a cafe will be open to the public, but other parts of the award-winning, multi-use building will be for members only.
105A W North St, Healdsburg, CA, saintjosephsartssociety.com
Scout Closing Healdsburg Storefront
Following the closure of Scout West County’s store at The Barlow in June, Oliver and Grace Estrada announced the closing of their Healdsburg store beginning on September 9. The store, located on Healdsburg Ave., featured womenswear, menswear, accessories and home goods. Grace and Oliver announced on Instagram on September 14 that they are working on future independent projects and welcome collaboration opportunities.
Scout Healdsburg, 418 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA, @scoutwestcounty
Honor Mansion Hotel & Inn Acquired by Mayacama
Honor Mansion, a luxury inn located in Healdsburg, has been purchased by the owners of Mayacama. The wine country resort is closed for remodel with a tentative reopening in March 2021.
Honor Mansion, 891 Grove St, Healdsburg, CA, (707) 433-4277, honormansion.com
Raven Film Center Closes Permanently
Healdsburg’s only movie theater, the Raven Film Center, permanently closed its doors on September 3 due to the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, owners of the theater for the past 14 years, opted not to renew the building’s lease. The theater has served as a gathering place over the years for meetings, film festivals and private screenings, such as Jordan Winery’s 2020 viewing of André – The Voice of Wine. The performing arts theater will remain open.
The Raven Film Center, 415 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, santarosacinemas.com
Healdsburg Restaurants Reopen with Alfresco Dining
With summer quickly approaching and shelter-in-place restrictions loosening, the Healdsburg hospitality scene is ready to welcome guests back after months of curbside pick-ups, deliveries and closures. Although a small town, we’ve got a lot of heart here in wine country–which is why we’re quickly adapting and opening up where and how we can. Here’s where you can wine, dine and lunch at some of the best Healdsburg restaurants with patios located in Sonoma County wine country.
Healdsburg Wineries Serving Meals Outdoors Reopen
The reopening of Napa and Sonoma wineries for tastings has been a hotly debated topic in Wine Country. Though both counties have differing rules and regulations, Sonoma County’s Health Officer announced on May 23 that wineries that serve sit-down meals can reopen to guests, as long as the food and wine is served outdoors. We’ve updated our list of the best Healdsburg wineries with patios to include our favorites that have reopened.
Wildhaven Glamping Campgrounds Open in Alexander Valley
Wildhaven Sonoma is Sonoma County’s newest glamping and RV destination, located on the Russian River in the heart of wine country. Wildhaven’s glamping experience is designed to provide guests with comfort, warmth and cleanliness while still maintaining a close connection to Sonoma County’s stunning natural beauty. Extra-large, safari-style and socially distant tent cabins feature comfortable beds with linens and all the furnishings you need for a memorable night outdoors. Visit their website for reservations and more information.
Jordan Winery Adds New Outdoor Lunch, Expands Vineyard Hikes
Jordan Vineyard & Winery will officially reopen for seated food and wine pairing experiences on Thursday, June 11. The French-inspired Healdsburg winery will resume Vineyard Hikes and Chateau Block Vineyard Tastings but will now offer these experiences four and five days a week. A new Paris on the Terrace bistro-style dining experience debuts on June 18 with two seatings five days a week, and seven Picnic Lunches and three outdoor dinners will be offered this summer. Reservations for all experiences will be available for booking on June 1.
Bricoleur Vineyards Debuts in Russian River Valley
Originally slated to open to the public on May 2, this new Russian River Valley estate had to change its plans due to COVID-19. Currently, guests can purchase wine and food packages that are now available and range from $45-$90 per person and enjoy outside with sweeping vineyard views. Executive Chef Shane McAnelly, formerly of Brass Rabbit and Chalkboard in Healdsburg, leads the winery’s culinary program, and he has plans to create a custom seven-course wine and food pairing showcasing Bricoleur wines and fresh ingredients sourced sustainably and locally, some of it from their own garden. Bricoleur is located north of the town of Windsor, just south of Healdsburg. Book a reservation on their website.
Dry Creek Kitchen’s Maker of the Month: Jordan Winery
Jordan Winery has been selected as Charlie Palmer’s Maker of the Month for the month of June at downtown Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen. Sip on Jordan’s 2017 Chardonnay with Dry Creek Kitchen’s recommended food pairing of ahi tartare or savor a rare library vintage of the Cabernet Sauvignon with a charred filet mignon. Book your dinner reservation any time in June to enjoy these special selections. Winemaker Maggie Kruse will be welcoming guests on the outdoor terrace on Thursday, June 25.
Other Closings, Delays and COVID-19 Workarounds
Many other changes are afoot with businesses in Healdsburg due to the COVID-19 closures. Discussions have been underway for several weeks to use the town square sidewalk and/or parking spaces for seating for restaurants, bars and tasting rooms that do not have outdoor spaces–currently a requirement to reopen. San Jose and other cities around the country have implemented similar workarounds to keep diners safe outside and put businesses back to work. Closing the Healdsburg square to car traffic is still a proposal at this point, and is on the agenda for the June 1 Healdsburg City Council meeting. To be a fly on the wall at that meeting… In the restaurant world, the Road House opened its new patio, Pizzando expanded its outdoor seating area, and while Quail and Condor had to delay the reopening of its bakery cafe in the old Wildflower Saloon (see below), the husband-wife team now have a pop-up for pastries and breads at the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market. In tasting room news, the Flight Deck Tasting Lounge has closed, and a new winery is coming soon. There’s a rumor that Reeve is opening in the Roald Wine Company space, a funky tasting room located off the parking lot across from Valette and SingleThread. Gustafson Vineyards is not re-opening their tasting room in downtown Healdsburg, but their winery in the Rockpile appellation high above Lake Sonoma is open by appointment.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants, Hotels, Wineries & Bars (Winter 2020)
Husband + Wife Bakers to Open Cafe this Spring or Summer
If you frequent Sonoma County farmer’s markets, you’ve probably had the opportunity to taste Quail and Condor’s sourdough breads or pastries. Or if you’re an avid Food Network viewer, you may have seen co-owner Melissa Yanc win Season 6 of the Holiday Baking Championship over the holidays. Luckily those visiting Healdsburg no longer have to hunt down Yanc’s creations at street markets. Her Kickstarter campaign with husband Sean McGaughey raised more than $20,000 to help the co-working couple (watch them in the kitchen at home) make their pastry business dreams come true. This spring or summer, they plan to open Quail and Condor’s bakery in the old Wildflower Saloon space, just off Healdsburg Avenue. They focus primarily on naturally leavened sourdough breads in addition to seasonal pastries, cookies and quick breads. Quail and Condor has also partnered with Black Oak Coffee Roasters of Ukiah, who will serve fresh coffee alongside their baked goods. The café will also offer a breakfast and lunch menu with beer and wine available and plans to be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We can’t wait for their opening. Be sure to follow their latest happenings on Instagram @quailandcondor.
Idlewild Goes to Sunday School
Every member of the Idlewild Wines team is determined to always be a student of wine, and we couldn’t agree more with their philosophy. This year, they have reimagined their classroom-style format for their seated wine tastings and food events, making it even more inviting for “students.” Since 2018, Idlewild has been hosting a monthly wine tasting (usually the first Sunday of each month) from 5 to 7 p.m. in their Healdsburg tasting room right off the town square. The Idlewild team picks a region and/or specific theme and features between 8-10 wines from within that theme, as well as purvey the DOP/AOC/PDO food products from that region. You leave after a couple of hours having tried 8-10 indigenous grape varietals and some of the protected food products that grow alongside of them. Sounds like our type of Sunday School. On January 26, however, Idlewild is venturing outside of Italy and heading to Corsica, so attendees can expect to taste a wine from each of the 9 AOCs in Corsica, as well as brocciu toasts (the French island version of Sicily’s ricotta; super rich and creamy) and prosciutto (a dried Corsican ham cured solely with sea salt). It’ll be fun to drink some joyous island wines in the depths of rainy winter here in Sonoma County. Learn more about Idlewild’s Sunday School wine tastings and special wine dinners.
Limited-Edition Jordan Wine Salumi Available at Journeyman Meat Co.
Last year, Journeyman Meat Co. founder Pete Seghesio and Jordan Winery chef Todd Knoll partnered to create three salami to be served exclusively at Jordan Winery. Seghesio used several of the chef’s favorite ingredients for cabernet food pairing, including cocoa powder, fennel, juniper and anise, which resulted in the berry-hued Jordan Salami Buio infused with Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon—which is now available for the public to buy for a limited time at Journeyman’s shop in downtown Healdsburg. A coppa made with Jordan Chardonnay, turmeric and white pepper, featured alongside the Salami Buio at Jordan’s Sonoma vineyard tasting, will also be available to purchase at Journeyman in limited quantities this summer. Until then, become a Jordan Estate Rewards Silver member and book one of the Healdsburg winery’s private charcuterie experiences.
Cartograph Wines Now Accepting Tasting Reservations
Great news for tasting room hoppers: Cartograph Wines has announced that they are now accepting reservations in one of their four seating areas. Situated next to Valette and Russian River Tea Company, the Cartograph tasting room has always been a favorite for locals in the mood for dry gewürztraminer or riesling. You can now choose the reserve room (for up to 10 people), the couch (for up to six people), the armchairs (for parties of four) or the window (for parties of two). The sleek Healdsburg tasting room is also opening one hour earlier in 2020. Enjoy walk-in tastings from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (previously 12-6 p.m.), or book your seated tasting reservations (at least 24 hours in advance required) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Learn more about making your next visit to Cartograph wines by visiting their website.
Noble Folk Introduces Vegan Ice Cream and New Mud Pie Flavor
Ask any local in Sonoma County: Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie is one of the most popular spots when you’re craving a sweet treat. Created by Christian Sullberg and Ozzy Jimenez of Moustache Baked Goods in 2014, Noble Folk recently debuted even more options for those looking for non-dairy ice cream or pie. Due to its popularity, the Passionfruit ice cream flavor has now been added to the year-round menu. You can also find a rotating vegan flavor of the month including a Key Lime + Coconut, Strawberry Carob Chip, and Almond Butter + Chia. All vegan ice creams are made with coconut and cashew milk, and their sorbets, made from 100 percent fruit juice, are vegan as well. Additionally, the Noble Folk team has added a new pie flavor to its menu this month: Strawberry Mississippi Mud Pie. Trust us: Your sweet tooth will thank you later.
Jimtown Store Hosts Final Popup this January
While the local Sonoma County community is saddened to have seen the historic Jimtown Store close its doors last month after 28 years, there is one more chance to visit owner Carrie Brown and the Jimtown team. On January 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jimtown will host a popup event where fans can purchase Jimtown’s eclectic vintage signs, props and furnishings from their barns. Be sure to preorder quarts of Jimtown’s famous Chain Gang Chili on their website below for pickup at the popup. They will also be serving freshly brewed coffee, espresso drinks and Tosha Bakes pastries. If you can’t make their final popup, you still have the chance to load up on your Jimtown merch. Mugs, shirts, hats and more are still available on their website.
Meet CraftWork: Healdsburg’s First Coworking Space
Being a digital nomad in Healdsburg wine country just got a bit easier. If you’re looking for a creative and comfortable space to work while in Healdsburg, you’re in luck. Meet Healdsburg’s first coworking space, CraftWork. On January 7, CraftWork opened its 4,500 square feet of shared workspace, private offices, and event space in the former Healdsburg Furniture store on Center Street.
CraftWork’s vision is to help diversify and strengthen the local Healdsburg economy by offering high-performance workspace to entrepreneurs, ‘gig’ workers, small businesses, local non-profits and even seasoned professionals who are ‘not-ready-to-retire.’ CraftWork can be accessed by the day via a day pass or on a monthly basis as a member. CraftWork membership options include hot desks, a community table, work bar, private desks and private offices. Included in the monthly membership fee is high speed and dedicated fiber internet, a lounge with fireplace and comfortable seating, printing and copying, and three meeting rooms which can be reserved by CraftWork members and the community at large. Craftwork provides a change of scenery from the traditional coffee shop and affords its members an easily accessible place to check email, do some work or have a casual conversation with the growing list of members.
New Fitness Studio Opens in Downtown Healdsburg
Looking to squeeze in a few workouts during your trip to wine country? Now you can. Meet The Dailey Method, a new barre and spin studio that opened its Healdsburg doors this past October. The Dailey Method was founded by Jill Dailey more than 20 years ago in Northern California and combines the best of pilates, yoga and ballet barre training. Healdsburg’s studio owner, Catherine Ziegler, has been a dedicated student of The Dailey Method for eight years, and a teacher for two years at other nearby Dailey Method studios. Having resided in Healdsburg for seven years, Catherine saw the need and desire in the Healdsburg community for a wellness space that would bring together the community in a positive and uplifting way. The fitness studio is open every day and offers barre and spin classes that are deeply focused on alignment, musicality and fun. Exercise enthusiasts will also find a retail space supporting local artisans, such as Pade Vavra, Jessica Dunegan, Bounty and Bloom, La Rue Apothecary, Treko Woof, Valley Botanicals, Dino Apparel, Olivo and more. Learn more about booking your next Dailey Method class on their website below.
Soda Rock Winery Opens Healdsburg Tasting Room off the Plaza
Even though tragedy hit Alexander Valley’s Soda Rock Winery during the Kincade Fire in October 2019, owner Ken Wilson and his team quickly made a powerful comeback. In December, Soda Rock opened a new tasting room (previously La Follette Winery, see below) on Healdsburg Avenue, between Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar and Costeaux French Bakery. (Within days of the fire, they also transformed their winery barn into a tasting room, which is open daily in Alexander Valley.) The Soda Rock Tasting Room is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is pouring the same wines as the Alexander Valley barn location. While the Soda Rock barn remains open, its hours have shifted to 11 a.m-4 p.m. When sunsets transition to later in the evening, the barn plans to extend its wine tasting hours.
La Follette Now Pouring at Sister Winery, Quivira Vineyards
La Follette Wines has moved from its downtown Healdsburg location to its sister winery, Quivira Vineyards, in Dry Creek Valley, 10 minutes from downtown Healdsburg. There, wine country visitors will enjoy pinot noirs and chardonnays paired with views of Quivira’s biodynamically farmed vineyards and gardens. Tastings include five wines: three from La Follette and two by Quivira.
Sneak Peek at Menu Concepts: The Matheson and Roof 106
As construction continues for Healdsburg Plaza’s highly anticipated The Matheson, Chef Dustin Valette from Valette restaurant has revealed menu concepts for the two-story, two-concept restaurant and bar. Valette has confirmed a new partnership with sushi master Ken Tominaga of Hana Sushi in Rohnert Park for the ground floor restaurant. Valette’s renowned Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke appetizer, a staple on his eponymous menu, is the driving concept for the rest of The Matheson’s cuisine, which will primarily showcase the freshest raw seafood available. And yes, this means Hana makimono, sushi and sashimi favorites will also make an appearance at The Matheson. The rooftop restaurant and bar, dubbed Roof 106, will feature a family-friendly and European-inspired menu cooked in a locally produced Mugnaini wood-fired oven. Chef Valette envisions a vibrant and inviting atmosphere with delicious cocktails and quick bites from the grill. Grand opening is expected in December 2020. Be sure to scroll down to learn more about The Matheson’s announcement in our 2019 post.
Walt | Baca opens Healdsburg Tasting Room Just Outside City Limits
Napa vintners Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall have opened their first new tasting room in Healdsburg for their Walt and Baca wine labels. The modern space features walls of windows and a covered terrace with lounge seating, all overlooking the vineyards. Walt | Baca sit at the crossroads of Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley—a fitting location for tasting Walt Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Baca Zinfandel.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants, Hotels, Wineries & Bars
(Posted: Summer 2019)
Noci Sonoma opens for garden tours by appointment (finally!)
The main road through Dry Creek Valley is one of my favorite wine trails for an afternoon drive, and for the last three years, I’ve been driving past the matte black, modern Noci Sonoma sign, marveling at the 24-acre property’s slow, yet purposeful transformation. Like many, I’ve asked myself–and friends in the know–a dozen times, “When is Noci going to open to the public? What is it going to be?” Well, the wait is finally over. In July, owners Chris and Aria Adjani began accepting reservations for garden tours and picnics of the property, dubbed a “modern farmstead” and “edible garden adventure club.” Both culinary-focused and design-focused tours are available to the public on weekends (book online with Tock). You can even add a basket of fresh fruit or flowers to your reservation for $15-$25. Picnic reservation options (known as the Private Tour & Picnic Exclusive Experience) will be added to the website shortly for $65 per person and $20 for kids, featuring three menus prepared in partnership with nearby Jimtown Store: a picnic sandwich box, charcuterie and cheese box or a vegetarian mezze box. I booked a garden tour ($25 per person) the first week they were offered, and it’s really remarkable what this once-bicoastal couple have envisioned for their little slice of farm heaven in zinfandel country. Combining Chris’s design background with Aria’s love of cooking, Noci Sonoma (noci means “walnut” in Italian) features an open-air farm stand with flowers, popsicles, Noci nuts and other provisions up front, a football-field-long water garden (opening in 2020), 900 fruit trees–all planted by the Adjanis, rows of flowers, strawberries, thorn-less blackberries and seemingly endless paths through the organic gardens. Private member areas for picnics and harvesting are located at the back of the property. There are even hammocks for member snoozes after a berry and lacinato kale-induced food coma. Membership levels give foodies access to private areas for picnicking, gatherings and complimentary harvesting several pounds of produce and buckets of flowers per month. The owners have no plans to make wine or plant a vineyard–Chris says they wanted to “do something new in this valley of wine,” so be sure to bring a bottle of your favorite wine for your picnic reservation.
Jordan Winery debuts new hilltop tasting featuring Journeyman Meat Co. salumi and Jordan cabernet
The planting of a new vineyard next to Jordan Winery’s iconic chateau inspired John Jordan and his hospitality staff to create a new Sonoma wine and food pairing experience. Jordan’s Chateau Block Vineyard Tasting, which debuted in late June, takes guests on a 10-minute uphill hike to an oak-shaded area with vista views of the Alexander Valley floor, Mayacamas Mountains and Jordan’s young cabernet sauvignon vines. Several vintages of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon are served at picnic tables alongside cured olives, nuts and platters of Journeyman Meat Co. salumi, including two recipes that were created in collaboration with Jordan’s chef. This outdoor Healdsburg wine tasting ($75) is only offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June through October.
The Matheson by Chef Dustin Valette begins construction on Healdsburg Plaza
After two years of planning, The Matheson—a two-restaurant concept with a rooftop bar and a few guest rooms from the team behind Valette restaurant—has been approved on Healdsburg Plaza and will begin construction this summer. Named after Colonel Roderick Matheson, a Civil War hero from Healdsburg, The Matheson is a historic building of special significance to Chef Dustin Valette and his family. Nearly 100 years ago, his great-grandfather opened Snowflake Bakery in this exact location, which most recently housed the Copperfield’s Bookstore. (Don’t worry, bookworms—the store hasn’t left the building.) The soon-to-be reimagined Matheson structure, which technically houses three storefronts, will continue to be home to Healdsburg’s beloved bookstore and a gourmet home goods shop, Plaza Gourmet. The Matheson restaurant on the ground floor—which promises to be both affordable and family friendly—will seat about 100 guests, while the Roof 106 rooftop bar and restaurant will seat about 50, serving quick bites and European-inspired cuisine cooked in a Mugnaini wood-fired oven. Both will offer local ingredient-focused fare, as patrons have come to expect from Valette, which happens to be located in another historic building where the chef’s great-grandfather opened his second bakery nearly a century ago.
Barndiva Gallery Bistro restaurant now open on Monday night; new format
The very short list of Healdsburg restaurants open on Monday night just expanded with the welcomed addition of Barndiva’s sister restaurant, the Gallery Bistro. Located next door to the hip barn that opened in 2004 one block off the Healdsburg Plaza, the Gallery Bistro now also features a new, shortened menu and order-at-counter service for a more casual experience. The owners have rearranged the seating and moved out a few tables, making the eclectic space even more lounge-like than before. Even though the menu is compact, the wine list and by the glass offerings are extensive.
Former Chez Panisse chef makes French specialties for the meat case at Journeyman Meat Co.
Famous French chef Jean-Pierre Moullé, who worked several long stints at Chez Panisse from 1975 until his retirement in 2012, is now making specialty items for the Seghesios at Journeyman Meat Co. in Healdsburg. The chef and his wife, who run immersive cooking workshops in Healdsburg and Bordeaux under the name Two Bordelais, have split their time between the two cities for decades. Moullé works his magic at Journeyman when the shop is closed early in the week, preparing French delights for the meat case, such as chicken tournedos and paupiettes. The items are offered in the shop Wednesdays through Sundays, though supplies rarely last to the weekend.
Idlewild Wines launches Maison Porcella pork pop-ups on Fridays
For the last two years, Idlewild has hosted culinary pop-ups in its Healdsburg tasting room, featuring everything from dumplings to crudo. French charcuterie is the focus this time around, as Maison Porcella presents pork pop-ups the last Friday of each month throughout the summer and into the fall, from 3 to 7 p.m. Maison Porcella Chef Marc-Henri Jean-Baptiste creates mouthwatering Parisian-style ham, pork rillettes and an assortment of patés (don’t miss the chicken pistachio), which are available to enjoy in Idlewild’s lounge and bar seats, or for take-out orders. Reservations are highly recommended for those who want to dine in, as the pop-ups fill up fast. Prices range from $12 for silky chicken liver mousse to $17 for rich rillettes of slow-cooked pork.
Duke’s Common closes for a remodel and gets a new chef
Duke’s Common is closed for a remodel, and former collaborator Scott Romano of Dry Creek Kitchen is no longer involved with the business. Not to worry: Food is still available next door at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails during the remodel, and the team has hired a new chef, Sean Kelly, to do the honors. Kelly has worked at some of Sonoma County’s best restaurants, including Bistro Ralph, Underwood Bar and Bistro, Willowside Cafe and Gerard’s Paella. Plans for the renovations are being kept under wraps, as the Duke’s team is still working to get everything squared away with the local building and health departments. The re-opening date has yet to be determined. In the meantime, Kelly has revamped the menu, “raising the bar” on family meals, according to co-founder Tara Heffernon, and bringing some unexpected additions: croque monsieur and shrimp lettuce wraps. Find the latter on the Best Appetizers at Healdsburg Restaurants list.
Colores Artisan Ice Cream opens across from Bravas
In late May, the owners of Colores Ice Cream & Cake in Santa Rosa opened an ice cream shop across the street from Bravas. Along with fruit juices, Colores Artisan Ice Cream whips up a colorful array of Michoacan-style frozen treats, including ice cream and paletas (popsicles) studded with chunks of fresh fruit. They even have a pico de gallo popsicle made with fruit and spicy chili peppers, which they make on weekends, so be sure to stop by earlier in the week. Pico de gallo popsicles were already sold out by Wednesday on my last visit.
Houtskool Dumplings pop up in a trio of Healdsburg tasting rooms
We can’t resist a plump, delicious dumpling, especially when it’s hand made by the masters at Houtskool Dumplings. This summer they’re bringing their artisan dumplings—filled with savory combinations such as cauliflower and broccolini, and pork and shrimp—to pop-up events at three downtown tasting rooms. On Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. they’ll be at Young & Yonder Spirits, across from Healdsburg City Hall, served alongside craft spirits flights and specialty cocktails. Medlock Ames, producer of sustainably farmed Alexander Valley wines, hosts Houtskool on Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. On Fridays in July, the dumplings pop up at Comstock Wines, a newer winery with a beautiful view of the Dry Creek Valley located just outside of town. Their schedule is constantly changing–dumplings were found on Tuesdays at Lioco Wines tasting room on Tuesdays in June–so it’s best to visit the Houtskool Dumplings website “Where to Catch Us” section.
New JAM JAR boutique showcases local jewelry and art
A lovely new shop just opened downtown, across from Cartograph Wines. JAM JAR evolved out a working studio shared to two Sonoma County artists: Molly Perez, a mixed media maven who specializes in painting and collage, and her business partner Jaime Jean, a jewelry designer who works primarily with precious and semi-precious stones. For years, the duo hosted events in Santa Rosa’s Arts district, featuring their own work as well as curating locally made, handmade pieces by other artists. They recently relocated their shop to Healdsburg, where they now offer a little bit of everything—from art to jewelry to vintage finds.
Coursey Graves opens a tasting room
Coursey Graves winery opened its doors in late May, moving into the former Valdez Family Winery tasting room near the downtown roundabout. The winery is a collaboration between John Graves, who worked in tech for years before getting into the wine business, and Cabell Coursey, former winemaker at Kosta Browne and Alder Springs, among others. Along with growing its own grapes—mainly Bordeaux varieties—at the winery’s Bennett Mountain location, Coursey Graves seeks out fruit from exceptional, lesser-known vineyards. The tasting room space looks like a stylish living room, complete with a record player for spinning vinyl. Walk-ins ($25) are welcome, or reserve a seated tasting ($35) that includes an artisan cheese board.
Dry Creek General Store bar set to return
Great news: The taps and bottles at the Dry Creek General Store bar are expected to flow again before harvest, officially ending one of the greatest injustices in Healdsburg history. The bar has been shuttered since 2017, when it lost its liquor license due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, but bottles and brews should be back soon, and Owner Gina Gallo of E&J Winery promised to make sure the bar won’t stop serving again. (They got their liquor license back in December 2018 but haven’t set an official date for the bar opening yet. According to one employee, they expect to reopen before the end of summer.) The bar itself is a local icon, dating back to 1881. The place survived Prohibition by running a bootleg operation out of its cellar. Today the bar is filled with vintage memorabilia and taxidermy kitsch; prior to the license snafu, it was known as the place where deals in the Dry Creek Valley get done.
Scout opens second shop in downtown Healdsburg
One of the best Sonoma County boutiques for home decor and artsy gifts is tucked behind a brewery in The Barlow, and stylish shoppers who don’t want to make the drive to Sebastopol can now find a second outpost of Scout in Healdsburg, just across the street from Costeaux French Bakery. Scout Healdsburg is smaller than the original location with an emphasis on clothing, but there are still some eclectic home decor pieces from independent designers. It’s well worth the short walk off the square. (A word of caution: If you google Scout Healdsburg, you’ll find yelp closed links and other articles about a short-lived bar named Scout, now home to Duke’s Spirits Cocktails. The new Scout is very much open, but sorry–it doesn’t serve martinis.)
La Follette opens a Healdsburg tasting room
Earlier this spring, La Follette winery opened a tasting room in the former Toad Hollow space next to Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar on Healdsburg Avenue. The space is much brighter now and evokes a contemporary Western vibe (think Jackson Hole). Tastings feature La Follette’s site-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, created to showcase the terroir of the winery’s locally sourced grapes.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants, Hotels, Wineries & Bars
(Posted: Spring 2019)
Healdsburg SHED closed
Healdsburg locals were shocked in December at word that SHED, the beloved community gathering place and self-proclaimed modern grange, would close its doors Dec. 31. Owners Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton blamed a drop in business after the October 2017 wildfires, but some local news reports speculated that the loss of Michelin-starred Chef Perry Hoffman also may have contributed to the move. As of mid-December, there was no news about potential buyers of the space, though sources indicated the Gallo wine company had made a strong offer. (Barbara Banke of Jackson Family Wines was also spotted walking into the building recently.) Whatever happens to the physical space, Daniel and Lipton have promised to continue SHED as an online-only retail business.
Jordan Winery dining room renovation
The exquisite dining room in the chateau at Jordan Winery is about to get even more spectacular, thanks to a full-scale remodel taking place through early February. The job is a complete redesign led by Geoffrey de Sousa of San Francisco. In addition to the dining room itself, improvements will comprise an indoor/outdoor butler’s pantry between the dining room and kitchen; this pantry will be a focal point for culinary events. It also will give Winery Tour guests a window into the inner workings of the Jordan kitchen. Attendees of the Valentine’s Dinner at Jordan (sold out in three hours of tickets on sale) will be the first members of the general public to experience the new dining room in February.
Harmon Guest House Rooftop Lounge now open for happy hour and dinner in Healdsburg
Healdsburg’s newest hotel, Harmon Guest House has a fabulous rooftop lounge, called the Harmon House Rooftop Lounge, which opened in October with lunch and early dinner service. The rooftop’s hours have since changed to 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday with an emphasis on the happy hour menu (offered from 3 to 6 p.m.), but the best part is the food. The kitchen is currently led by Ryan Fancher, formerly of Barndiva and The French Laundry. Don’t miss the blinis and caviar or the pork belly. Arrive early to snag a table outdoors.
Plank Coffee opens in north Healdsburg
Move over, Flying Goat. Look out, Downtown Creamery. Soon there’ll be a new coffee shop in town, and the new Healdsburg location of Plank Coffee likely is going to become a fan favorite within weeks. The coffee shop has taken over the old Wild Sage Deli space on the corner of Grove and Dry Creek Avenue, and it was expected to open by the end of 2018. The Healdsburg shop would be the second location for Plank; it has operated a successful shop up in Cloverdale since 2012. Details on the new store are nebulous at this time, but sources say it will comprise two stories and feature a limited menu.
Idlewild Wines sharpens food menu
When Sam Bilbro opened the Idlewild Wines tasting room in Healdsburg in 2017, he wanted to create a place where guests could taste his Italian-inspired wines and enjoy snacks, such as cheese, charcuterie and nuts. Bilbro has achieved that vision and much, much more. In recent months, he has been working on expanding offerings, hosting pop-up dinners on Friday nights 2-3 times a month. Some nights the guest chefs would serve dumplings; other nights they’d serve fresh Hawaiian poke. “Sunday School” educational wine tastings that enlighten locals about Italian wines are also a recent addition. The Idlewild Table, a curated tasting of cheeses and salumis paired with a flight of five wines, is offered everyday of the week several times a day. The programs have done wonders for Idlewild’s business; the line for pop-ups and educational events is often quite literally out the door. Moving into 2019, Bilbro suggests guests make reservations.
Coyote Howl taproom opens in Healdsburg
The new tenant for the former Sonoma Cider space on the south side of Healdsburg is a familiar face: Wilson Artisan Wines. The brand, which most recently opened the Rockpile tasting room on the northeast side of the roundabout, bought the former cider house, renamed it Coyote in honor of their new wine brand Coyote Sonoma, and reorganized the taproom to feature beer and wine. Food service is in the works, but no set date for when it will begin as of mid-January. Live music, however, has already started on Friday nights. Perhaps most important, Wilson built a big stage with reclaimed wood from a high-school basketball court, and it retained all the games that had become fan favorites at Sonoma Cider. This means you can chase your beers at Coyote with games of Pop-A-Shot, foosball, or Giant Jenga. No website yet, and hours will probably change once food service begins.
Healdsburg Roundabout finally open
After two years of construction and five years of planning, the roundabout at the south end of Healdsburg Avenue opened November 29 with speeches, fanfare, and a tremendous sigh of relief. The project spent months as a target of locals’ ire, and it was scapegoated for sagging business for restaurants and shops south of Matheson Street. Now, however, the rotary has beautified the southern end of downtown, improved access, and kept traffic moving. The new traffic circle celebrated the holidays with a giant light-up present and ornament into which passersby could climb and snap Instagram pix. Judging from the number of locals who shared photos from inside, locals already are willing to forgive and forget in the name of smooth travel.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants & Healdsburg Bars
(Posted: Fall 2018)
The newest in Healdsburg hotels, Harmon Guest House debuts
Hotel Healdsburg and the H2hotel welcomed a new sibling into the boutique hotel family in September with the opening of the Harmon Guest House. Named after Healdsburg’s founder Harmon Heald, the ultra-modern property, which took three years to complete, has a similar look and feel to neighboring H2 but steps out of the family mold with a sweeping glass entrance, three-story exposed staircase and a discreet, convenient parking garage entry at street level. This boutique Healdsburg hotel features 39 rooms with bar carts, window seats and Bluetooth-enabled sound systems. Downstairs, a Creekside path behind the hotel will connect the HGH to the H2; upstairs, a rooftop lounge with firepit will open soon; there are still rumors over whether it will be open to the public or reserved exclusively for guests. The hotel is aiming for LEED gold certification for its environmentally friendly design and also has a solar-heated pool and cruiser bicycles for guest use.
Robert Young Estate Winery Scion House opening delayed
One of the oldest and most historic Alexander Valley wineries, Robert Young Estate Winery has faced a few setbacks in the opening of its much-anticipated Scion House hospitality center, located on a gorgeous hilltop above the original winery and its tiny tasting room. The July opening was pushed to September and now October. Guests will be welcomed by appointment only for seated wine tastings and other experiences, including a picnic with 360-degree views of Alexander Valley. Designed to feel more like a home than a tasting room, Robert Young Scion House is not to be missed during your next visit to Healdsburg. (Geyserville is only a few miles north of downtown.) Read all about this ambitious new tasting room and the Young family on our recent blog, Seek Out These New Alexander Valley Wineries & Tasting Rooms.
Lioco Wine Company opens tasting room off Healdsburg Plaza
Known for its acid-driven, lower-alcohol wines of balance, Lioco has been a darling of the sommelier community for about a decade. (It was started in 2005 by a respected restaurant wine director and a wine sales colleague, Matt Licklider.) Today, husband/wife team Matt and Sara Licklider now have a more permanent home for sharing their chardonnay, pinot noir and Rhone varietal wines with consumers, thanks to a new Healdsburg tasting room space right off square across from Oakville Grocery, which opened in August. Formerly a clothing store, the Liocco tasting room is hip and bright with plenty of seating and a killer vinyl record selection. Lioco features sit-down tastings that can be booked on their website, as well as a walk-in tasting bar. The wines are made at a cooperative in Santa Rosa, though we’d love to have this dynamic duo crushing their beautiful fruit in HBG.
Healdsburg’s biggest hotel opens north of town
In a city short of hotel rooms, wineries, restaurants and shop owners have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Hotel Trio for two years. The largest modern hotel in Healdsburg, Hotel Trio features 122 all-suite rooms, each equipped with a full kitchen and a spacious living room. The Marriott group hotel had its soft opening in mid-July and is already hosting guests, though a handful of rooms are still under construction. Stays include complimentary hot breakfast served in the lobby, and regular shuttle service is provided to take guests to downtown Healdsburg. Prices begin at $199 per night weekdays and $289 on weekends. Learn more about this Healdsburg hotel in our 2018 Healdsburg Lodging Guide.
New small bites bar opens in Healdsburg
A tiny storefront right off the square is the Rodney Dangerfield of Healdsburg restaurants, and we hope it will finally get some respect with its latest incarnation. The former Charcuterie became Persimmon in early 2016, an Asian-fusion restaurant owned by restaurateur Octavio Diaz, who also owns three other Mexican restaurants, including Agave in Healdsburg. When that concept floundered, he transformed the space into Kitchen 335 in 2017, a nod to the street address, and served up farm-focused, hip cuisine sourced from an educational children’s farm in Sonoma County. But in a town already filled with farm-centric eateries, Kitchen 335 never gained traction. This summer, the curse of 335 will hopefully end with the opening of Barrels, Brews & Bites (B Cubed) in June, a craft beer and “hidden gem” wine bar serving casual fare in tapas format, such as hummus and veggies, Mexican corn elotes skewers and deviled eggs with bacon jam (pictured above). Healdsburg is a haven for small bites restaurants, so add this new stop on your Healdsburg Grub Crawl itinerary. Under new ownership, led by the former general manager of Eel River Brewing Company.
JCB Tasting Salon returns to Healdsburg Square
Locals have noticed a familiar logo on the windows of a tasting room that anchors the corner of Plaza and Center streets on the east side of the Healdsburg square. Frenchman Jean-Charles Boisset is back in town. The bon-vivant wine businessman first took over the tasting room occupied by his wife Gina Gallo’s family tasting room, Gallo of Sonoma, in 2010, transforming the space into a lounge that looked more like a tiny Vegas club replete with Baccarat chandeliers and plush velvet furnishings. Known as Boisset Taste of Terroir for three years, the space became the home of C. Donatiello wines in 2013, but when vintner Chris Donatiello closed the tasting room in May 2018, the owners of the building invited Boisset back. The new JCB Tasting Salon-Healdsburg is larger than its former incarnations, and the interior design is flamboyant, opulent and full of color—just like JCB’s other wine tasting salons in Yountville and San Francisco. There are even resident (albeit taxidermy) peacocks. JCB Healdsburg takes walk-ins and appointments for private tastings with a variety of seating options in two rooms. They will be offering food and wine pairings in the future.
Locals hangout in Healdsburg closes, becoming a coffee cafe with serious food
Wildflower Saloon said goodbye to drinkers and diners in May. The restaurant and bar, located two blocks off the square in a strip mall, was a local favorite with a rustic vibe, full bar and affordable prices. The new tenants are the founders of Black Oak Coffee in Mendocino, which is busy transforming the space into Black Oak Cafe–their first location in Sonoma (the other is in Ukiah). They plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to their award-winning coffees. Chef Jack New of Sydney, Australia, is developing a menu that combines his Scandinavian, Australian and Japanese influences. Opening in late summer 2018.
Silver Oak’s new Healdsburg winery and tasting room opens
The sleepy stretch of Highway 128 in the southeast corner of Alexander Valley is going to see a lot more traffic with the opening of Silver Oak Cellars new Healdsburg winery, which features a walk-in tasting room, and tastings by appointment, including an impressive food and wine pairing lunch. Learn more about the other Alexander Valley wineries that opened in the last year.
Cafe Lucia restaurant closes
The second outpost from the Portuguese restaurant family behind LaSalette and Tasca Tasca in Sonoma, Cafe Lucia closed in May, after years of struggling to gain traffic at a location off the town square tucked behind a tasting room. Co-owners, Manuel Azevedo and his sister Lucia Azevedo Fincher, blamed their decision on both the ongoing construction of the Healdsburg roundabout and the building of the Harmon House hotel next door. The October wildfires only worsened the situation, deepening the housing crisis for restaurant workers.
Otoro Sushi opens in Healdsburg
Just when we locals think the Healdsburg food scene can’t support another restaurant, we are forced to eat our words. Healdsburg’s second sushi restaurant arrived in 2018, Otoro Sushi, and the owners decision to tailor its business to locals was a smart one, as its no-frills location in a quad building far north of downtown Healdsburg makes it less attractive to tourists. The basic decor offers a stark contrast to the colorful, flavor-packed menu, which boasts two pages of maki rolls alone. You’ll have to Yelp to see the full menu; their website has been down since opening. Don’t miss the Bodega Bay Roll with shrimp tempura (pictured above), soft shell crab, avocado and cucumber, or the Jalapeño Bombs. The wine list is lacking, but the corkage fee is only $5. You can’t beat Otoro’s prices for great sushi. Downtown Healdsburg’s flagship sushi restaurant, O’Sake, has some stiff competition.
Journeyman Meat Co. unveils its first salumi club
Last winter, Sonoma County’s top salumeria, Journeyman Meat Co., launch its Meat Guild, a salumi club for carnivores. Members receive quarterly shipments of two artisan salumis, made by owner Pete Seghesio, a complimentary charcuterie board gift certificate, tickets to Journeyman’s annual Meat Guild party dubbed CARNival, tickets to a sausage-making class and first access to other classes. Journeyman is located in downtown Healdsburg–in the same building that houses SingleThread Restaurant & Inn–and select Journeyman events are hosted on the SingleThread rooftop terrace (like the first member event, Meat & Mingle).
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants & Healdsburg Bars
(Posted: February 2018)
Duke’s Common to bridge Duke’s and Brass Rabbit on Healdsburg Square
When beloved restaurant Scopa closed its doors in April 2017, rumors flew about what would take its place. Finally, in February 2018, Healdsburg got its answer: a fast-casual joint called Duke’s Common. Helmed by Brass Rabbit Chef Shane McAnelly, the new eatery will specialize in “casual global street food,” including items such as pizza by the slice, shrimp skewers, falafel burritos, sandwiches and “Disco Fries,” a new take on poutine. McAnelly promises no items will be more than $10, making the Common one of the most affordable restaurants on Healdsburg Plaza. The best part? The kitchen will serve food late—until 9 p.m. on site, and until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends at Duke’s.
Makeover at Giorgio’s Restaurant
Giorgio’s family-style pizzeria is one of the best-kept secrets in Healdsburg, especially if you like restaurants with old-school charm and saucy servers. For years, one of the eatery’s claims to fame was the ceiling in the main dining room—it was almost completely covered in plastic (and, um, dusty) ivy. Earlier this year, sometime in January, to be exact, the team at Giorgio’s decided it was time for a makeover and removed the ivy completely. The new dining room feels completely different. For starters, it’s brighter, as there’s no faux greenery blocking the light. It also just feels cleaner. Of course the pizza is as good as always.
New Healdsburg bar brings pub life to town
The newest addition to the Healdsburg bar scene, Elephant in the Room, is one-part pub and one-part live music venue. Occupying the old For Locals Only space south of Matheson near the Parish Café and the Sonoma Cider Taproom. The “Elephant,” as locals have taken to calling it, offers about a dozen beers on tap, craft brews by bottle, and a seemingly endless string of football and soccer on the bar televisions. On weekend nights, the place hosts live music sessions from local artists. The patio, which spans Foss Creek south of town, is just as welcoming as always, especially on those warm nights. Plans for spring and summer include food trucks on certain days. Once the Healdsburg round-about and sidewalk construction is finished, the Elephant will be an easy walk from the Plaza.
New Healdsburg shopping boutique offers ‘Twisst’ on leisure wear
The folks at Healdsburg’s newest clothing store have coined a phrase to describe the type of apparel they sell: “Athleisure.” As the word implies, this means the clothes double as athletic wear and leisure wear, and can work at the gym, the yoga studio, the office, or dinner at a fancy restaurant. Featured brands include Nux, Varley, Glyder, Allfenix and Goldsheep, to name a few. The shop also boasts a tasting bar—not for wine, but for fresh-pressed juice from Sonoma County Juice Company, which uses only organic products from local farms and donates a portion of all sales to funds that help victims of the October 2017 wildfires. Healdsburg already has some of the best shopping in wine country, and it just keeps getting better.
All aboard for wine tastings at The Flight Deck tasting room
With the new year came a new approach at the Vintage Wine Estates tasting room on the Healdsburg Plaza. Dubbed The Flight Deck, Vintage 2.0 is all about wine tasting flights—exploratory experiences featuring wines from prestigious wine regions including the Russian River Valley, Oakville, North Coast, Carneros, Dry Creek, and the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Visitors can choose from curated flights by varietal or appellation, or they can piece together a flight that includes wines from brands including Girard Winery, Middle Sister, Windsor Vineyards, Viansa Sonoma and Clos Pegase. The Flight Deck also pours wines by the glass, and offers regular events including Wednesday night gatherings that pair bubbles and popcorn.
The Latest News on Healdsburg Restaurants & Healdsburg Bars
(Posted: August 2017)
Scopa becoming a Duke’s private lounge
When the beloved Italian Healdsburg restaurant Scopa closed its doors in April 2017, locals heard rumors that owners would keep the space to host private events and large parties for their neighboring restaurant, Campo Fina. No longer. A new ownership notice has gone up in the window of Scopa. A local official initially told us that mega vintner Bill Foley—owner of Les Mars hotel, Chalkboard and the new Brass Rabbit in downtown Healdsburg—had snatched up the skinny, rustic spot to turn it into a lounge for Brass Rabbit with cocktail service provided by next-door neighbor, Duke’s Spirited Cocktails. It’s actually the other way around, according to Shane McAnelly, executive chef of Chalkboard and Brass Rabbit. Duke’s has acquired Scopa restaurant for private events and access to Scopa’s kitchen with plans to add a food menu at Duke’s. McAnelly and his staff at Brass Rabbit are developing cool bar food recipes now and will handle the cooking. No official announcements yet on when Duke’s new space will be ready or when food service will begin, so stay tuned. (If you’re curious why Scopa closed and when Brass Rabbit restaurant opened, scroll down for our April 2017 Healdsburg restaurants news report.)
Kitchen 335 opening at Persimmon
When I walked by Persimmon on a Thursday night at 8 p.m. two weeks ago, I was surprised to see the Healdsburg restaurant closed with no notes posted on the door. Big changes were already in the works. Owner and veteran local restaurateur Octavio Diaz was already deep into a 3o-day revamp to transform what was one of the plaza’s newer eateries into Kitchen 335, a farm-to-table restaurant named for its street address. The Healdsburg restaurant sources all ingredients from nearby farms, with an emphasis on What’s Up Farms, a privately-owned Sonoma County farm that works with schools in Santa Rosa to teach children about farming. Chef Rodrigo Mendoza, who left Willi’s Seafood less than a year ago to head the kitchen at Persimmon, will remain executive chef; he also supplies the kitchen with herbs and vegetables from his home garden. Kitchen 335 opened on August 1, and the menu looks tasty. Grand opening will be later this month once the liquor license is secured. (Read below to learn about the recent changes at Willi’s and Persimmon.)
Journeyman opens off Healdsburg square
Pete Seghesio, a fourth-generation member of the Seghesio wine family, has fulfilled a life-long dream to make his own prosciutto, just like his grandfather once did. After he and his relatives decided to sell Seghesio winery in 2011, Pete traveled to Florence, Italy, every winter for five years to apprentice with a top charcuterie maker. The culmination of his passion project is Journeyman Meat Co., Sonoma County’s first small-batch, custom-crafted meat shop and salumeria. Located in the same building as Single Thread Farm Restaurant & Inn just off the Healdsburg square (which Pete owns), Journeyman is more than a place for Pete and his wife, Cathy, to sell their cured meats. It’s an intimate tasting bar for wine and charcuterie, featuring their new Journeyman wines, as well as a retail space and most importantly, a salumificcio and butcher shop. Pete makes his charcuterie in Cloverdale at Journeyman’s new, USDA-approved salumificcio, fully equipped with authentic Italian fermentation and aging equipment, including four small-batch fermentation rooms and two individual aging rooms for aging whole muscle meat and salumi. Journeyman is one of the few charcuterie makers that practices single fermentations for each of his meats. He also has a smoking chamber for slow-smoking sausage, curing bacon and more and will offer butcher services.
Jordan and Relish Culinary team up for winery lunch cooking class in Healdsburg
Jordan Winery has launched a new series of Healdsburg events in September and October with Relish Culinary Adventures called Farm-To-Table Interactive Cooking Luncheons. The experience begins with a garden tour and continental breakfast in the Jordan Estate garden, featuring the Jordan Cuvée Champagne by AR Lenoble, homemade pastries, harvesting activities and more before provisions shopping at SHED and the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market near the Relish Healdsburg demonstration kitchen. At Relish, guests enjoy a reception with Jordan chardonnay and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a hands-on cooking class with the Relish chefs, before a three-course winery lunch paired with Jordan wines and other surprises. Tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased on Jordan Winery’s website.
Tiki parties at Duke’s bar on Healdsburg square
Duke’s is doubling down on the tiki craze. Two Polynesian-themed tiki pop-up parties have been hosted so far this summer—the first replete with Star Wars tiki mugs and a second with complimentary ahi poke and pork sliders, passed by bar co-owner, Laura Sanfilippo, wearing a traditional Hawaiian dress. Justin D’olie, formerly of San Francisco’s newest tiki bar, Pagan Idol, has relocated to Sonoma County and joined the Duke’s team. Justin grew up in Hawaii, and you can always recognize him by the ever-present smile and tropical shirt. (He also hosted Duke’s first Tiki Cocktail Class last weekend.) Be sure to like the Duke’s Facebook page for future event announcements.
More News about Healdsburg Restaurants, Healdsburg Tasting Rooms & Healdsburg Bars
(Posted: April 2017)
Bistro Ralph becomes The Brass Rabbit
A fixture in the wine country restaurant scene for more than two decades, Bistro Ralph’s reinvention as Ralph’s Martini House in 2015 was sadly short-lived. Now, vintner Bill Foley, owner of Healdsburg’s well-loved Chalkboard, is opening a new concept chez Ralph dubbed The Brass Rabbit. Chalkboard Chef Shane McAnelly and the team have kept quiet on details, but Tasting Table reports that the new restaurant will open in May and offer a “seasonal supper club menu” with French influences.
Willi’s Seafood in Healdsburg gets makeover, new chef
A pillar of the Healdsburg dining scene since 2002, Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar closed for a week in late March for a mini makeover, including new lighting and paint throughout. Chef AJ McCloud, formerly of Houston’s in Southern California, now oversees the kitchen, replacing Rodrigo Mendoza (see Persimmon news below).
Healdsburg’s beloved Scopa is closing
Hard to believe it, but one of Healdsburg’s best and most beloved restaurants is shutting its doors after eight years. Scopa, the narrow-but-delicious upscale Italian restaurant on the Plaza, will close April 8 so owners Dawnelise Regnery and Ari Rosen (who is also the chef) can focus on spending more time as a family. The duo has become a fixture in the local community, opening Campo Fina, the more casual restaurant around the corner, and starting Corazon Healdsburg, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting equality. Regnery, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, said Campo Fina will remain open, and noted that the end of Scopa was bittersweet. “It’s been a really difficult decision, but one of moving our family and lives towards simplification and space for the new,” she said. We wish them luck, and thank them for all that great food.
Idlewild opening tasting room in Healdsburg
Downtown Healdsburg’s newest tasting experience: Idlewild, which opened early March in the old Sanglier space on Plaza Street. The salumi and wine bar is the brainchild of Sam Bilbro, who makes wine for a label that also bears the Idlewild name. All of Bilbro’s varietals are of Piedmont origin but grown locally—think Dolcetto, Barbera, and a variety of clean, bright whites and pinks. Inside the space, the experience is intimate but not over-the-top; bar seats and window bench seats are the options, and servers only share the origin of the meats if you ask. The result: an environment that allows the products to speak for themselves. Bilbro himself comes from good rootstock; his two brothers, Jake and Scot, and their father, Chris, are in the business as well, crafting the Limerick Lane and Marietta labels.
Highly anticipated Single Thread Farms opens
For more than a year, Healdsburgers (and foodies across the country) have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Single Thread Farms Restaurant & Inn by husband-wife team, Kyle and Katina Connaughton (pictured). As we reported last spring, the restaurant experience includes personal tours of the restaurant’s rooftop garden and greenhouse, an 11-course meal, California-focused wine pairings and the option to stay in one of five suites on-site. The menu, heavily influenced by the chef’s work with French chef Michel Bras in Japan, revolves around fresh produce Katina and her team grow at the couple’s property nearby. Their thoughtful, farm-focused cuisine highlights not just the four seasons–but 72 micro-seasons of ancient Japan (each lasting five days). A soft opening occurred in December 2016, and Single Thread has already been nominated for James Beard Awards’ Best New Restaurant.
K-J Partake becomes Siduri Wine Lounge
The Kendall-Jackson family of brands has a new home in downtown Healdsburg: Siduri Wine Lounge, which opened late last year in the space formerly occupied by K-J Partake. Today, this spot offers regionally inspired, eclectic bites designed to go with wines by the glass or bottle, including more than twenty Pinot Noirs. The place has a distinctly hipster vibe, with an old-growth redwood tasting bar, a retro turntable (with vinyl ready to play) and even draft beer. What to order? For starters, be sure to dig in to the candy cap mushroom kettle corn and buttermilk fried chicken (pictured). Later, try a plate of braised and fried alligator dunked in remoulade with grilled lemons.
Persimmon 2.0 (**Closed July 2017**)
It’s only been a year since Asian-fusion eatery Persimmon took over the tiny Charcuterie bistro on the square, and owner and local restaurateur Octavio Diaz is already making big changes to keep up with Healdsburg’s ever-changing food scene. Not content with traffic after the restaurant’s first summer season, Diaz refreshed the concept, bringing in a new chef, Rodrigo Mendoza (pictured), formerly of Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, and a new manager, Healdsburg-raised Ryan Costa, who just returned from the New York restaurant scene. Today the menu is more, well…Asian, featuring a variety of clay-pot, broth-based dishes (don’t miss the Dungeness crab in coconut milk during season), somen noodles, crispy duck and baby back ribs. Ingredients are sourced primarily from local farms. Mendoza, who is from Bolivia, has added South American spice to some of the dishes as well. Persimmon’s wine list has been reinvented, too, focusing almost 90 percent on Sonoma County wines.
Sonoma Cider Taproom debuts
For the last few years, the only way to sample Healdsburg-made Sonoma Cider was to find it at local bars or buy it at Big John’s. In October, however, the company opened a taproom and restaurant one block south of the Healdsburg plaza, in the same shopping center as FLO behind the Parish Café. The taproom boasts 25 taps in all, and will pour micro-releases, experimental batches and exclusive flavors from Sonoma Cider, as well as additional artisanal ciders from around the world. A menu of approachable fare in the form of small snacks and shareable plates also is available. Open since October 2016.
New chef at Dry Creek Kitchen
A new executive chef took the reins at Hotel Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant last summer, and he’s a familiar face to owner (and celebrity chef) Charlie Palmer. Chef Scott Romano (pictured) started his career in New York at Aureole, Palmer’s flagship restaurant, back in 1997, and the two have been friends ever since. Romano was most recently executive chef at Charlie Palmer at the Joule in Dallas. To celebrate their long connection, Romano and Palmer have collaborated on a special menu of “Reflective Cooking” that comprises dishes to remind them of years and times past. Highlights include seared quail with corn and sweetbread pudding, and veal chop with sautéed foie gras, orange-cooked carrots and potato-parsnip puree. (Last month, DCK also hired a new sommelier, Jeff Creamer. He most recently served as wine director at Brix Restaurant in Yountville, where he managed a 4,000-bottle cellar.)
Breakfast at Mateo’s Cocina Latina
Back in the days when Mateo Granados operated a food truck at the local farmers’ market, hungry shoppers would line up by the dozens for his legendary farm-fresh breakfasts. Last summer, Granados brought back those breakfasts—this time to his Healdsburg restaurant, Mateo’s Cocina Latina. The “Market Breakfast” is available only on weekends, and comprises different items every week, depending on what’s available. Produce from local spots such as MIX Garden, Ridgeview Farms, and Soda Rock Farm are mainstays on the list. Be sure to try Granados’ hot sauces with your meal.
Cellars of Sonoma moves to Healdsburg
For eight years, Cellars of Sonoma owner Scott Jordan (no relation to the Jordans at Jordan Winery) has been championing small Sonoma County producers at his tasting room in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa, and he’s bringing the same focus and level of hospitality to a new tasting room space just off the Healdsburg square behind Healdsburg Bar & Grill. Open since July 2016, Cellars of Sonoma pours wines from eight Sonoma County vintners; many produce small lots of wine with only a few hundred cases per varietal and are not available in national distribution. Jordan closed his Railroad Square tasting room on New Year’s Eve to focus entirely on his new space in Healdsburg.
Barndiva adds Bistro and Somm’s Table
For years, the Studio Barndiva space—just north of Barndiva restaurant on Center Street—has been an art gallery by day and private event venue by night. Last June, Barndiva owners decided to bring daily dining service to the eclectic space and renamed it The Gallery Bar + Bistro. Think of the new iteration as an informal version of the restaurant next door, a nod to the environment of a public house with artisanal cocktails and a classic French bistro menu by Barndiva Chef Ryan Fancher’s cuisine, a French Laundry alumn. The funky patio seating, cocktails and vintage cigarette card collection were already worthy of a visit, but now the cuisine is drawing epicures. Mainstays here include steak frites, macaroni au gratin and the “Gallery Board,” from which you can make your own duck leg carnitas tacos. The Gallery serves fabulous “Sunday Supper” three-course prix fixe dinners every weekend and continues to add features to the bistro’s hospitality. Be sure to ask about the new Somm’s Table. It’s a curated wine shop by day, and in the evenings, when not being used for winemaker dinners, the artistic dining space can be booked for up to ten diners for an intriguing wine pairing chef’s table.
Duke’s Spirited Cocktails debuts on Healdsburg Square
Artisan craft cocktails are more popular than ever, and Duke’s, which opened last summer in the old John & Zeke’s space on the Healdsburg plaza, is the most popular place to sip for locals and tourists alike. The bar is helmed by three Spoonbar! alums (Laura Sanfilippo, Tara Heffernon, and Steve Maduro), and the menu is chock-full of cocktails made with garden ingredients grown by Sanfilippo and Heffernon. Perhaps the biggest attraction is cocktails on draught, which have a touch of spritz and seasonal ingredients. The only downside to Duke’s: On weekend nights, it can be difficult to get in (seriously). Part of the Healdsburg Cocktail Triangle.
Geyserville Gun Club opens
Devotees of Diavola, Geyserville’s famous pizza place, always complained about not having enough to do while they waited for tables. They now have an entire playroom in the Geyserville Gun Club, which opened last March. The eclectic bar, owned by Diavola chef Dino Buciga, sits just three doors north, and boasts a swanky city-meets-country vibe that draws as many farmers as it does tourists. Gun Club specializes in craft cocktails made from boutique spirits and even has Negronis on tap. Not surprisingly, “GGC” has great food, too, including lumpia and, of course, cold pizza—all made by Buciga and served through a window between the two kitchens. The best part? If you go when you’re waiting for a table at Diavola, the hostess will call the bar when your name is up. Also part of the Healdsburg Cocktail Triangle.