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Char Burger Grill Soon to Sizzle in Sonoma County

The first Char Burger Grill is slated to open this summer in Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village Shopping Center, but for owner Mike Shatnawi, that’s just the tip of the French fry. If all goes as planned, we’ll be seeing several more locations across Sonoma County, planned for later this year and into next year.

Where? Shatnawi is still scouting space, but with the first store nailed down for the prime space that was formerly Tea Rex bubble tea lounge in the upscale retail center, he’s off to a high profile start.

It’s been a busy year already for the entrepreneur, who also owns Palms Grill in Boyes Hot Springs/Sonoma and Palms Grill in Petaluma. In February, he completely renovated the new Sonoma grill to look like an upscale, retro-chic diner complete with a chrome framed peek-a-boo kitchen. And that came just a month after an extensive freshening up of the original Petaluma grill.

As its name suggests, the core of Char’s will be a variety of burgers, in half-pound models of beef, turkey or veggie patties, topped with things like American cheese, bacon, jalapenos, chipotle mayo or bleu cheese. Other specialties will include sandwiches like cheesesteaks, tuna melt and French dip, entrée salads, and sides such as onion rings, zucchini fries, sweet potato fries, fried green beans. For dessert, it’s soft serve ice cream.

While we’re waiting for the first burger to come off Char’s charbroiler, we can visit either of the Palms, and get a taste of Shatnawi’s cooking. That means signatures like a teriyaki burger of flame broiled Angus beef topped with American cheese, grilled onions, pineapple and teriyaki sauce, with lettuce, tomato and pickles on a grilled bun plus a pile of French fries, or the bleu cheese burger capped in bacon, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mayonnaise.

Be sure to pack an appetite, too – the portions are generous, or huge, actually, like the Palms sampler platter that could easily feed four, brimming with zucchini fries, crispy fried cheese, avocado egg rolls, buffalo wings, fried pickles, beer battered onion rings and Santa Fe egg rolls stuffed with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions and cilantro.

Palms Grill Sonoma, 18999 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma, 707-939-8100, palmsgrill.com.
Palms Grill Petaluma, 100 S. McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, 707-763-3333, palmsgrill.com.
Char Burger Grill: 722 Village Court (Montgomery Village Shopping Center), Santa Rosa

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