Exploring The Marketplace Restaurants at the New Graton Casino
It’s true – the spectacular 320,000 square foot, $825 million Graton Resort & Casino boasts so many notable restaurants that we had to divide information into two listings – one for full-service, and one for casual Marketplace.
For the 500-seat, 24-hour Marketplace, think high-end food court, featuring nine top-notch restaurants that put typical hot dogs and sandwiches to shame. See this article for a write-up about the full-service restaurants: Dining Guide for top restaurants at Graton Casino in Rohnert Park.
Whether you’re craving gourmet chicken wings from a world class chef, or a simple, satisfying taco, you’re in for a treat. Many of the restaurants are local, as are their purveyors and staff.
Note that there is no generic buffet, or $5.99 prime rib dinner special. Yet there are plenty of bargains to be had, such as a big bowl of fried chicken ramen with fish cake for $9.97 from Boathouse Sushi, to a hearty Milaneza steak torta for $7.96 from La Fondita. The eateries tend to offer the same menu prices as at their out-of-casino locations, as well, so grabbing something to eat is quick, easy, and affordable.
The lavish property at Highway 101 and Wilfred Avenue/Golf Course Drive West in Rohnert Park is built around convenience, notes casino general manager Joe Hasson. The Marketplace has a private entry, for easy restaurant access even if you’re not gambling, and all food is available to-go.
As a bonus, you can click through to each Marketplace restaurant’s menu here, for call-ahead ordering.
DK Wings – It may be hard to believe that this bright, cheerful spot comes from chef Douglas Keane, former owner of the Three Michelin Star Cyrus, and current Bravo Top Chef Master. But indeed, he works his art on some of the best quick-casual bites to be found anywhere. The core is gourmet chicken wings, fried chicken, salads, wraps and fries, with the moist chicken dressed in ultra crispy skin and finished in a myriad of finger licking sauces like Vietnamese or Yuzu Kosho. Rounding it all out is the pickle bar, stocked with glorious crunchy handcrafted delights like green beans, radishes, daikon kimchee, Manhattan style whole kosher pickles, bread & butter pickles, Napa cabbage kimchee, and carrot tsukemono in kombu and soy.
Boathouse Sushi – The original location is in Rohnert Park, but for an extra twist, owner Catherine Do has added Vietnamese favorites to the casino spot. Service is speedy, from a steamer table but also with custom made sushi like the whimsical Trainwreck Roll of unagi, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber and onion. The combination pho is steamy goodness brimming with steak, brisket and meatballs, while combo plates bring classic choices like sweet and sour pork, pepper chicken, and vegetarian chow mein.
La Fondita – If you’ve stopped by the ever-busy restaurant and taco truck on Sebastopol Road at Dutton Avenue, you know this is some of the best Mexican food in town. The Super Burrito is a beautiful bomb of meat, rice, beans, salsa, cheese and sour cream, and you can get a huge platter of Enchiladas Michoacanas, sautéed in enchilada red sauce, topped with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, onion and salsa, then served with sautéed potatoes, carrots, and jalapeños, plus a choice of chicken or steak. Dining here is the real deal, too – protein choices include suadero (rosy brisket), lengua (beef tongue), and cabeza (roasted beef head meat).
Roadside Barbecue – The San Rafael-based smoke house has set up an actual wood-fired smoker for its new Sonoma County satellite. It’s fun to watch the cooks working the bright red beast for the hefty wood smoked baby back ribs, slow-cooked smoked chicken, stuffed potatoes, and salads. The spicy Texas cheesesteak is a full meal, but for an even larger indulgence, go for the platters including a corn muffin, side dish like sweet potato fries, and meats like Memphis pulled pork, Texas brisket and chicken sausage.
Slice House –Chef-owner Tony Gemignani is an 11-time World Championships of Pizza Makers winner, and this is a more casual option for his other full-service restaurant in the casino, called Tony’s of North Beach. It’s hardly a short menu, though, ranging from a meatball sub, to lasagna, to New York, California, Chicago deep dish or Sicilian pizza by the slice. The pies are made right in front of you, in a fire-breathing oven, and be sure to try the out-of-this-world purple potato pizza.
Scoops/Three Twins Ice Cream – Organic ice cream made from local milk helped make this San Rafael-based shop famous, and it’s just as delicious here. Flavors change with the seasons, but some signatures include Sea Salted Caramel, Fair Trade Vanilla Bean Speck, Chocolate Orange Confetti and Lemon Cookie.
Habit Burger Grill, Beach Hut Deli and Starbucks are chain operations, which makes them familiar favorites.
At Habit, you can fill up on juicy, grilled-to-order charburgers starting at $3.45, a char-grilled pastrami sandwich on French roll, sourdough or wheat bun, or a barbecue chicken salad.
Beach Hut, meanwhile, brings oversized sandwiches like the messy marvelous Pig Kahuna of luau-style tender pulled pork splashed with Tabasco, Bulls-Eye barbecue sauce and melted mild cheddar on a toasted roll garnished with chilled pineapple.