Top Five Healdsburg Food & Travel Stories in 2016
Healdsburg has dramatically changed since the Jordans founded Jordan Vineyard & Winery in the 1970s. Back then, “downtown” was nothing more than a quaint plaza flanked by sleepy mom-and-pop shops. Today, our city regularly appears on national lists of the best places to live, and it feels like we’re adding award-winning restaurants every week. Here’s a rundown on what’s new for spring 2016.
MICHELIN STARS IN SIGHT
Chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife, Katina (pictured left), will open what is arguably the West Coast’s most anticipated restaurant this summer, Single Thread Farms Restaurant & Inn. Dining at the exclusive, ticket-based restaurant will be an “experience” that 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 the upper floors of the corner building across from Valette. The menu will be heavily influenced by the chef’s celebrated work with French chef Michel Bras in Japan, revolving around fresh produce Katina and her team grow at the couple’s property nearby. Food experts say Single Thread will be the kind of restaurant that will get people from all over the world talking about Healdsburg. We can’t wait to see it for ourselves.
BIG JOHN’S MARKET EXPANSION
Healdsburg’s largest independent grocery store doubled in size this January when it expanded into a new 34,000-square-foot space highlighted by a two-story rotunda. The new area comprises an expanded kitchen, bigger olive and hot food bars, larger deli counters, a more robust wine section and a new pizza oven for made-to-order pies. The store also tripled the size of its cheese counter and opened a satellite location of Costeaux French Bakery. Construction on the remainder of the store is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year; it’s a great spot for procuring wine country picnic provisions.
The barbecue craze has come to Healdsburg in the form of KINSmoke, a casual barbecue-meets-sports-bar restaurant in the old Center Street Deli location on the east side of the Plaza. The eatery serves carnivorous favorites, from ribs to shoulder, pulled pork and more. Sides include tater tots, hush puppies, slaw, potato salad and other Southern mainstays. KINSmoke also pours a number of beers—some local, some (much) more far-flung. Its name gives a nod to the owners first restaurant, the popular KIN in Windsor. Even if you just swing by for a smell, it’s worth a visit.
NEW ROOMS AT HOTEL HEALDSBURG
Rooms inside the chic Hotel Healdsburg have received a makeover, and the result is something sharper and snazzier than ever before. The new rooms, which debuted in February, are the result of a collaboration between Myra Hoefer Design and David Baker Architects. Modernized accommodations boast custom cowhide benches, linen-slipcovered chairs, silk and wool rugs, as well as reclaimed wood bedside tables. Paintings of clouds, unique to each room, play off of white walls and pale green-blue shutters. An oasis on the bustling square.
NEW CHEF DUO AT SPOONBAR
It took two chefs to replace Louis Maldonado, but Spoonbar, inside the H2 Hotel, now has a co-executive chef duo at its helm. The chefs, Patrick and Casey Van Voorhis (pictured above), are a married couple who met as students at the Culinary Institute of America and have spent quality time in the kitchens of San Francisco’s Acquerello (where Patrick was the executive sous chef) and
Jane Bakery (where Casey focused on bread). Their plan is to revamp the menu with more of a rustic Italian focus, featuring items such as rye gnocchi and roasted carrots with prosciutto. Healdsburg’s roster of Italian eateries just got deeper.
ASIAN FUSION COMES TO TOWN
Asian food always has been hard to find in Healdsburg; hopefully Persimmon will change that for good. The Persimmon restaurant opened in January with a Vietnamese-accented pan-Asian menu that features a variety of finger foods (think dim sum) and noodles. Executive Chef Danny Mai, who fled Vietnam for the United States during the 1980s, also offers various kinds of pho, the popular Vietnamese noodle soup. Interestingly, the financial backers of this eatery are the Diaz brothers, the same family that owns Agave, El Farolito and Casa del Mole—some of the most popular Mexican fare in town.