YiaYia's The Grateful Greek in Penngrove
Sonoma County is rich with little treasure chest restaurants, those small but very special spots boasting talented chefs and interesting cuisine – just like the new YiaYia’s The Grateful Greek in Penngrove. The name is almost bigger than the 270-square-foot shop outfitted with nothing more than a tiny kitchen, a deli case and a stand-up counter to assemble take-out.
But chef Chris Adams-Albrecht works every inch of space, putting together a brief but beautiful menu of Greek sandwiches, salads and sausages that is worth the drive from nearly anywhere. Set in the tiny town of perhaps 800 residents, it’s a shining star for signatures like grilled, brandy- and lemon-splashed saganaki cheese that melts into molten joy.
After taking over the former Yanni’s Sausage Grill, owners Tom Adams and Dr. Thea Robb wisely decided to keep the tiny spot’s heart and soul: Yanni founder John Vrattos’ handcrafted sausages in mouthwatering flavors like traditional Greek pork loukaniko kissed with anise and orange. You can eat the snap-skinned beauties as is, or get them with the works, served on sweet Italian bread from Full Circle Bakery (just steps away on Main Street) with optional toppings like pepperoncini, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes, homemade tzatziki and/or a variety of cheeses.
Even if the menu is small, creating the food is labor intensive, with everything made from scratch. That means vegan lentil soup with its homemade vegetable stock, green lentils, carrots, onions, celery, garlic and a dollop of tzatziki, and the homemade lamb and beef gyro meat cooked to succulence sous-vide then grilled for a crispy finish.
You can get a burger, a quarter pound hot dog or a BLT jazzed with tzatziki. But go Greek, and get the classic feta salad dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, or the saganaki pressed in a grilled pita, with fries on the side (the fries are a meal in themselves, scattered with roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and feta).
Also ask about the “secret menu.” Daily changing items might include a saganaki burger, avgolemeno soup of orzo, lemon, chicken broth and egg, or gyro meat atop waffle fries.
Details: 10007 Main Street, Penngrove, 707-664-5442.