New Spring Restaurant Openings In Sonoma County

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate

Acme Burger, the doubly-delish Cotati restaurant from Chef Todd Kniess, is slated to open a second location in the former Union Hotel space on College Avenue in Santa Rosa. Kniess, who spent years in upscale Bay Area dining spots, opened Acme Burger in 2019, bringing his experience with local ingredients and sophisticated flavors to a fast-casual concept. Don’t worry, Union Hotel fans, the Occidental restaurant and Santa Rosa location on Mission Boulevard will remain open. More details as opening gets closer. The original Acme Burger is at 550 East Cotati Ave., Cotati, 707-665-5620.

cheese burgers with tomatoes and lettuce in sesame buns
Heather Irwin

Falafel Hut opening in downtown Santa Rosa

I’ve always felt a little disappointed that Sonoma County doesn’t have more fast-casual spots for falafel, shawarma, kebab, gyro, tabbouleh and all the accompaniments. The flavors of grilled meat, mint, cucumber, yogurt and tomatoes are among my favorites, and the simplicity of a great hummus or baba ganoush are so underrated. Good news! San Rafael’s Falafel Hut will be opening in the former Gerard’s Paella space on Fourth Street (hopefully) this summer, with all of the above. If you’re missing Gerard and his giant pans of paella, he’s on the move, serving at Old Caz Brewing in Rohnert Park as well as at the Novato and Fairfax Farmers Markets.

Kendall-Jackson Summer Series Returns

This series of farm-to-table dinners among rows of tomatoes, lettuces and peppers is one of the things I took for granted in the halcyon days before the pandemic. Now that it has returned, it continues to be a so-worth-it adventure with food prepared by the stellar Jackson Family Wines’ culinary staff (led by Justin Wangler) and plenty of wine.

server holding meat and lettuce on long white plateFour acres of gardens are the backdrop for this al fresco showcase of Sonoma County’s best produce and ingredients. Adding to the mix, Chef Tracey Shepos Cenami will add a tasty cheese component to each dinner. On June 12, guest purveyors will include Costarella Seafood and Chevoo Cheese, followed by Snake River Farms Beef and Valley Ford Creamery on July 10, Liberty Ducks and Dry Creek Peach on Aug. 14 and a vegetarian dinner featuring Mycopia Mushrooms and Nicasio Cheese on Sept. 11. In October, Ward Ranch Beef and Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. will be the guest purveyors. Sign up early; dinners tend to sell out fast. Details at kj.com/events/farm-table-dinner-series.


By: Heather Irwin

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