Red Grape – Best Pizza and Best Business
“The Best Pizza in Sonoma.” That’s a pretty bold statement for any restaurant to make, but The Red Grape may have something behind that. The pizzeria was recently named 2012 Business of the Year by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The concept, from owners for Carol and Sam Morphy, can also claim to be the only New Haven-style pizza in Sonoma County. If you’ve never heard of New Haven style, it’s based on thin, crispy crusts high-fired in a stone-lined pizza oven, and it’s a distinctive flavor that has made this eatery next to Sonoma's historic Plaza a destination for more than decade.
Besides pizza, the shop sells appetizers, salads, pastas, and panini, but it’s those pies that steal most of the spotlight. A day of bliss can be found with a seat on the lovely patio, watching the world go by and nibbling a Tre Funghi pizza (piled in meaty chanterelle, oyster, and maitake wild mushrooms, fontina cheese, fried rosemary and garlic chips) alongside a bottle of fine Sonoma County Pinot Noir.
While Red Grape offers delicate Wine Country flavors — a pizza laced in Prosciutto di Parma and Laura Chenel chèvre spiked with peppery arugula is divine — there’s plenty for hearty appetites, too.
More “New Haven” type treatments come in big combinations like a BBQ chicken pie smothered in applewood smoked bacon, BBQ sauce, red onion, garlic with aged gouda, while a Sonoma pie buries pepperoni and housemade sweet fennel sausage in sautéed mushrooms, red onion, pepper jack and parmesan.
This is also a terrific place to reel in fresh seafood and pick fresh local produce — toppings include clams, shrimp, artichoke hearts, pears, roasted garlic, fresh spinach, and spicy pickled peppers. Besides pie, the good stuff comes as dinner entrees, such as grilled salmon or steak and risotto.
To get the attention of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the restaurant needs to do more than fill stomachs with great food, of course. According to chamber CEO Jennifer Yankovich, the business is recognized as an “exemplary employer,” with a “commitment to community that has been tremendous over the years.”
From donations to charity events, sponsorship of golf tournaments to community clean-up and landscape projects, the Red Grape is a significant supporter of so many youth and service organizations including Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Sonoma Teen Center, Sonoma Valley Boys & Girls Clubs and Sonoma Valley Rotary.
It’s all effort well spent, note the Morphys, who have expanded the business to include their own children as owners. Here’s to many more decades ahead.
Details: 529 1st St W, Sonoma, 707-996-4103, theredgrape.com.