You love Sonoma County, and you’re devastated about the recent fires from which residents and Sonoma County lovers everywhere are still reeling. So, do you want to know the best way to help? Come visit. Sonoma County is still beautiful, still has the best food, wine, beer and spirits of anywhere and the people are, well – we’re pretty freaking great. So, when you come visit, or if you are already living the dream and reside in our lovely part of the world, here are list of places for you to visit. The owners of these restaurants lost their home last month, so let’s support them however possible.
Buns & Burgers, Larkfield/Santa Rosa
I went to high school down the street from this tiny burger joint – in fact, I ditched last period a time or two for these delicious, old fashioned burgers and fries. Although my high school burned down in the fire, this place survived and it’s a good thing. Where else would the old guys with classic cars go on Friday nights in the summer?
Gio’s Pizza, Bennett Valley/Santa Rosa
Gio’s Pizza for the freaking win. This place is great, the crust is perfect and they are generous with the toppings. I usually take my pizza to go, because I like to eat it off a plate resting on my stomach on the couch – but a lot of people dine in and the service is good. They have local beers on tap (bonus!) and a couple pasta, sandwich and salad dishes. Even though I’m a give-me-all-the-pork-products type of girl, they do have vegan cheese for you veg-heads.
Home Run Pizza, Larkfield/Santa Rosa
Another high school haunt, Home Run Pizza is a sports bar and pizza joint in the same strip mall as Buns & Burgers. This place is always packed for games and is definitely a local spot where everyone knows everyone else. They have a standard pizzeria menu and the pizza is good. Their pesto breadsticks are ridiculous. I wish I had one (four) right now.
Jackson’s Bar & Oven, Santa Rosa
Jackson’s has great cocktails, tasty food and one of the best happy hours around. Their truffle fries are the best in Santa Rosa for sure. Therefore, I highly recommend three orders of fries plus their burrata plate. The menu is California cuisine – a couple sandwiches, a steak, a pasta dish and some pizzas. Be adventurous and order the “Undecided Pizza” – the chef makes you whatever strikes their fancy and I’ve never been disappointed.
Jeffrey’s Hillside Café, Santa Rosa
Breakfast heaven. Duck hash and eggs? Sign me up. They have huevos rancheros I’d fight for and French toast made of sticky buns. OF STICKY BUNS. They also serve beer and wine which is great because I love a good mimosa. Hell, I love a crappy mimosa.
Lala’s Creamery, Petaluma
Lala’s is an old-school ice cream shop with new school flavors. I had goat cheese ice cream here this summer that I still think about. They use high quality ingredients and offer a large range of dairy free flavors! Also, you can do a flight of ice cream, because why not. And I do believe their milkshakes really do bring the boys to the yard.
Mai Vietnamese, Cotati
Lynn is the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet and her pho is some of the most savory. I’ve eaten the pork rib (shocker) lunch plate, noodles, rice dishes, etc. It’s always flavorful, fresh and served in the friendliest atmosphere. She even has an extra small pho dish which is awesome, because then I have room for the made-to-order fresh rolls.
Kin Restaurant, Windsor
American comfort food, the way you want it. And a Sonoma-focused wine list, the way I want it. I accidentally ordered a vegetarian burger here made with a mushroom instead of beef and I wasn’t even mad about it.
T4 and Poke, Santa Rosa
This place is perfect for a quick bite to eat; I got a tuna poke bowl to go. It’s not fancy, which is exactly what I needed while foraging for food in sweatpants. And the staff didn’t judge.
Here’s a list of additional restaurants with owners who’ve lost their homes. I haven’t personally tried them or it’s been so many years , it wouldn’t be a reliable review:
China Bowl Bistro, Santa Rosa
Goji Kitchen, Santa Rosa
El Patio #2, Santa Rosa
KC’s American Kitchen, Santa Rosa
La Texanita, Santa Rosa
Lee’s Noodle House, Santa Rosa
Lupe’s Diner, Windsor
Mel’s Fish and Chip, Santa Rosa
Moxie’s Yogurt & Toppings, Windsor
My Deli, Santa Rosa
Pamposh Restaurant, Santa Rosa
Royal China, Santa Rosa
Sushi Hana, Sebastopol
The Publican, Windsor
Toyo Sushi, Santa Rosa
For more locally owned restaurants, click here.
So, you love Sonoma County. I know you do. Why else are you reading this? Oh, because you’re my mom’s friend? Okay. Well, I love Sonoma County and love my fellow residents. So, if I’m going to eat, drink and buy things (and let’s face it, I do those things more than I should), I’m going to do it locally.