Discover Penngrove, California
Once a freight station on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, tiny Penngrove offers a slice of small-town life in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country.
This tight-knit community of sprawling farms and rural estates is tucked to the east of Sonoma County’s multi-lane Highway 101 corridor, between Petaluma and Cotati. Only a few blocks long, Penngrove’s downtown Main Street boasts an eclectic array of local shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, in a variety of new and historic buildings.
Here’s a sampling of just some of the things to see and do in Penngrove.
On The Farm
A retired dentist, “Doc” Darling’s passion is growing spray-free, non-certified organic fruits and vegetables on his just-under-11-acres farm. In the summer, you can buy Doc’s corn, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and more, at his produce stand located north of downtown Penngrove, near the border with Cotati.
Frequently you can hear his bees buzzing nearby, and perhaps buy some of their honey, if you’re lucky enough to get there before it sells out.
He also sells produce (also grown without spraying) from other local farms, and items like bananas and mangos from the San Francisco Produce Market. Doc’s more than happy to lead walking tours of his farm, with golf cart tours available for folks with mobility challenges. During harvest, children are invited to pick their own carrots, beets, and blackberries (from a thornless bush). Open daily noon to 5 p.m. year round, except for holidays and rainy days. 7000 Petaluma Hill Road, Penngrove, 707-774-5754
Farm owners Laci and Travis Sandoval share their personal relationship with food through farm-to-table dinners, cooking classes, food growing lessons, and nutritional information sessions. Plus, Laci crafts delicious, beautiful, custom-made wedding cakes using local, seasonal ingredients, and Travis creates one-of-a-kind handmade glass cake stands that forge sophisticated functionality with whimsical modern forms, making each one worthy of becoming a family heirloom. Penngrove, 510-459-2709
Three Tastes in One
Taste wine and more at this historic property that is home to a winery, vineyard, and community. Relax among beautiful old trees on 6.6 acres, add sip from vintage glasses to sample the wares of three different beverage companies. Acre and Spade Craft Cider focuses on less-sweet craft ciders, all made onsite. Sonoma Aperitif reimagines a 700-year-old winemaking tradition, crafting seasonal aperitifs (pre-dinner drinks designed to spark an appetite) infused with fruits, herbs, and flowers. And Pansey Valley Winery (formerly 1881 Vineyards) specializes in red wines. Tasting by appointment only: 111 Goodwin Ave., Penngrove, C844-336-6266
This extremely family-friendly shop is the place for handmade, one-of-a-kind items for home, kids, baby, and gifts. There’s a fun playroom open to all children (or child-like adult) visitors. And you might meet owner Kaitlin Loewenthal’s 4-year-old daughter, who loves to price, scan, and re-organize the shop, and especially loves to greet shoppers. A weekly Story & Song Time offers a fun morning hour singing and reading with friends, held Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m., for all ages. 10101 Main St., Penngrove, 707-665-5759
Both family and pet friendly, this 12,000-square-foot, warehouse-style store offers “Feeds, Seeds ‘N Country Needs” for small and large animals, from the family pet to livestock. You’ll also find work clothing and boots, and the stove department features wood, gas, and pellet stoves, and the fuel to go with them. Founded in the nearby town of Sebastopol in 1938 and named for the last names of the two proprietors who operated the store from 1947 to 1966, this is one of the longest continually running businesses in Sonoma County. 10035 Main St., Penngrove, 707-992-0144
A Bite to Eat
All the ingredients are fresh daily, and there’s no pre-made frozen dough, or any preservatives. The produce comes from the Palace of Fruit and the bread from the nearby Full Circle Bakery. Opened by the Capara family in 1998, the pizzeria is now run by Joe and his youngest daughter Teressa, but the entire family is still around. Enjoy West Coast gourmet pizza with traditional toppings like extra cheese, Italian sausage, or pineapple, and specialty toppings like anchovies, jalapenos, and eggplant. Choose from sides like homemade garlic bread, breadsitx, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, chicken wings, or zucchini stix, or decide whether you want a basket of fries, sweet potato fries, or garlic fries. There’s also delicious baby back ribs, sandwiches, salads, beer, and wine. 10101 Main St., Penngrove, 707-664-1515
It’s all about the flour. Owners Keith and Kathy Giusto work closely with their organic farmers and are part owners of one of the West’s largest organic grain mills in Logan, Utah. The bread is baked fresh daily, and in 1996 their crispy, crunchy sourdough won a James Beard award (sort of like the Academy Award of food). Loaves like the French baguette, sourdough round, and rosemary ciabatta are offered daily, along with specialties like kalamata olive, country walnut, roasted garlic with cheese, and cinnamon Challah. 10151 Main St., Suite 120, Penngrove, 707-794-9445
Bring your family and friends to this kid-friendly coffee house, and choose from a variety of specialty coffee drinks, pastries, bagels and cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, signature sandwiches, homemade soups, and salads. There’s a great children’s menu, and on Saturday and Sundays they serve a made-from-scratch full breakfast. 10101 Main St., Suite A, Penngrove, 707-794-1518
Housed in a bright and spacious 1870s-era building that over the years has served as a railroad station, general store, post office, and hardware store, this market offers locally sourced groceries, a selection of beer and wine, a variety of prepared foods, home goods, and gifts. Market owners Rebecca and Evan McDowell and Joe and Shaina Ferraro bring years of culinary, restaurant, natural foods, and grocery store experience to their vision of a neighborhood store that nurtures connections with the community, environment, and local farmers and artisans. Enjoy pizza, calzone, and piadine (Italian flatbread) made to order in the wood-fired oven, or choose from a variety of soups, hot salads, hot chicken, pre-packaged salads, espresso drinks, and baked goods. Out front, tables on a covered patio offer a comfortable place to eat. 10070 Main St., Penngrove, 707-753-4974
Squeezed into a small storefront, this takeout-only, family-run eatery offers Greek and American food with a Sonoma County spin. Everything is made by hand. Chef Chris Adams-Albrecht crafts the gyro meat using a combination of beef and lamb and then cooks it sous vide (with circulating water), a technique often used by high-end chefs to create tender meat. It’s then crisped on the grill before being slipped into a pita with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce). The menu also includes items named for family members, like Brother Bill’s GBLT (Greek bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich), Tom’s Burger, and Popi’s Flaming Cheese (named for Grandma). There are a few seats indoors, picnic tables in the parking lot, or you can order at the counter then take a seat in the Petaluma Pub next door, and Yia Yia’s will deliver the food to your table. 10007 Main St., Penngrove, 707-664-5442
Dinner and Nightlife
Mack’s Bar and Grill
Settle into this hometown hangout, where the dark wood paneling glows with neon beer signs, and the cozy bistro-style dining room is hung with historical black-and-white photos of Penngrove back in the day, when it was first being built. The menu features American pub food, with Taco Tuesdays and breakfast on the weekends. The full bar serves until 2 a.m. daily, with Happy Hour specials, pool tables, and a pool league. You can get fed at the bar, too, with snacks like chicken wings or nachos. And the place rocks with live music on Saturday nights. 10056 Main St., Penngrove, 707-793-9480
Twin Oaks Roadhouse
Whatever your definition of a tavern, honkytonk, or roadhouse, there’s a bit of each in here. The menu features delicious pub fare, like potato skins baked to a crisp and then topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions, and sour cream. Or Yanni’s sausage skillet, with a choice of mild or spicy local sausage, sautéed with caramelized onions and peppers in a mini skillet and served sizzling to the table. For a fuller meal, consider the Roadhouse Burger, a fried chicken or pulled pork sandwich, or a vegetable Panini. The menu also includes soups, salads, and sides like a cup of chili or corn on the cob. There’s a full service bar, a live music schedule, and a great outdoor patio. 5745 Old Redwood Highway, Penngrove, 707-795-5118
In addition to its in-town attractions, Penngrove makes a convenient headquarters for exploring nearby towns. For ideas, check out 5 Fun Things to do in Petaluma, Where to Eat: Restaurants in Petaluma, Guide to Wine Tasting in Petaluma, 4 Fun Things to do in Cotati, and Cotati Offers International Restaurants.