photo collage of restaurant patios, pizza and duck breast

Healdsburg Restaurant Trends That Aren’t Going Away

Restaurateurs cooked up so many creative ways to serve customers during the pandemic, the interns at Eater likely pulled all-nighters to keep up on coverage. While restaurants look forward to getting back to business as usual, some ideas have been so popular that they won’t be canceled after COVID, including the extension of parklet-style dining (now extended until January 2023). Here are a few of our favorite Healdsburg restaurant trends that aren’t going away.

Restaurant Owner standing outside restaurant

Provisions To-Go Menu and Outdoor Patio at Valette

During the pandemic, Chef Dustin Valette of Valette became as well-known for his Facebook Live to-go menu cooking videos as he is for his addictive scallop en croute. Even after creating a patio for outdoor dining, the chef continued to refine and expand Valette To-Go. His “provisions” menus—dinners prepared to about 85 percent for customers to finish at home—sold out in minutes every week, and they will not be going away. The burning question, however, is whether Bob Valette, Dustin’s dad, will continue hand-delivering every bottle of Valette Rosé ordered with a to-go meal. Good news is that you can usually spot Bob at the Valette Patio, a lovely outdoor dining room erected alongside the restaurant’s side entrance.

Valette, 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA,

burger with french fries and cocktails in a restaurant courtyard patio

Courtyard Sipping at Spirit Bar

Located inside Hotel Healdsburg’s luxe lobby, Spirit Bar moved outdoors to the hotel’s interior courtyard during the pandemic and has no plans of returning to indoor-only service. With its secluded location and pergola-shaded perimeter, the courtyard has an almost zen-like vibe for sipping craft cocktails or Sonoma wines while listening to live music. Due to its popularity, Hotel Healdsburg will be enhancing the Spirit Bar space with more comfortable lounge and cocktail seating, as well as adding new landscape features and a large fireplace. Delicious bar bites including the famous Smash Burger are also on the Spirit Bar menu, prepared by the chefs at neighboring Dry Creek Kitchen.

Spirit Bar, 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-0330,

frozen sausage pizza on a wooden cutting board

Hand-Cut Pastas and Frozen Pizza at Diavola

At the beginning of the pandemic, chefs needed outlets for their creative energy. For Dino Bugica, chef/owner of Diavola in Geyserville, that meant exploring new tools and techniques for his wildly popular Italian food when to-go was the only option. Bugica bought his first pasta extruder for making beautiful hand-cut pastas, and he has no plans of going back to spaghetti. The extruder has an auger and changeable brass dies, allowing the chef to make an array of different fresh pasta shapes, such as rigatoni, fusilli, rotini and other spirals. Diavola is known for its wood-fired pizzas, so his to-go business was brisk during the shutdown, but he also added cook-at-home pizzas to his menu, and the concept took off. Bugica spent several months focusing on perfecting frozen pizza recipes, and the frozen Margarita, Pepperoni and Mushroom Basil pizzas will remain fixtures in the to-go section on his website. The pop-up retail business created for pantry products, such as infused oils, marinated olives and canned sardines, will also stay.

Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, 21021 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, CA,

guests sitting outside in restaurant patio

Garden Dining Room at Spoonbar

H2 hotel’s open-air bar and restaurant has always had an outdoor feel, thanks to its retractable walls facing Healdsburg Avenue, but the owners turned to their back patio when COVID restrictions closed the dining room. Dining at spoonbar during the pandemic felt more like hanging out at a friend’s backyard—a very enchanting one with the soothing sound of a seasonal creek. This charming, country setting in the middle of downtown is something the customers and owners don’t want to give up, so garden dining is on the menu for the foreseeable future. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, making the spoonbar garden popular with locals and day-trippers. Two chefs formerly of Barndiva have also taken over the kitchen, and hyper-fresh salads and weekly specials, such as Fried Chicken Wednesday, are not to be missed.

Spoonbar, 219 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg CA,

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About the Author

Born and raised in rural Kansas, Lisa Mattson fell in love with wine during college in South Florida and worked for a wine magazine before moving to Northern California. She spent almost a decade working as a writer, marketing director and photographer/videographer for Jordan Winery and now serves as a hospitality design and marketing consultant for several wineries, including Jordan. She also designs succulent gardens under the name Sonoma Succulents. When she’s not eating and sipping her way through Sonoma County in the summer and Baja California Sur in the winter, she travels the world with her husband in search of new succulents, ethnic foods, snorkeling spots and tiki bars.

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