New eatery to take KenWood Restaurant space
The KenWood Restaurant is changing hands, bringing in a completely new restaurant with a new name, to be run by Catherine Venturini and her husband John Burdick.
You likely know the two for their highly regarded Olive & Vine Restaurant, which operated for many years in Jack London Village in Glen Ellen before closing its doors earlier this year. Olive & Vine developed a strong local following over the years for its catering business as well as for its fine-dining restaurant.
The new restaurant at 9900 Sonoma Hwy. will be called Crush Bar & Grill, a casual roadhouse-type establishment, Sonoma Valley style. Venturini said to think of a “Mustard's in Sonoma,” referring to the popular Mustard's Grill in Napa.
“We're going to have a great vibe,” said Venturini, who said plans are for music (Burdick is a well-known area musician) and fun food events such as “Blues, Bubbles and Oysters.”
For the last three years, The KenWood Restaurant was owned and operated by Bill and Becky Foss. They bought the restaurant in 2013 from Max and Susan Schacher, who had run the local eatery for over 25 years. The Fosses own Fish Restaurant in Sausalito and Cannetti Roadhouse Italiana in Forestville.
For now, the Fosses will remain the owners of the property while the management will be taken over by Venturini. However, there is a deal in the works to sell the property to Dean Bordigioni, who owns Annadel Estate Winery off of Sonoma Highway across from Oakmont.
Bordigioni said he had been looking for a commercial real estate investment when the KenWood Restaurant opportunity came up. He knew that Venturini and Burdick were looking for a home for a restaurant, sat down with them over some wine, and the rest is history. Venturini said she actually looked at the KenWood Restaurant property as a potential site for the first time some eight years ago, and now things have come full circle.
Bordigioni, Venturini, and Burdick all praised the Fosses for being “fantastic to work with” as the deal was being constructed.
Crush Bar & Grill will do some remodeling, with an aim towards opening in mid- to late- November.
Horatius has a formula for success
Horatio Gomes, owner of Horatius, the new coffee shop, event space and wine lounge in Glen Ellen's Jack London Village, is good at bringing things together and repackaging them into something better.
A former ad man and owner of one of the first Hispanic-focused ad agencies north of Los Angeles, he has spent many years learning what makes businesses work. Gomes got his start early, working under his father who owned a chain of upscale grocery stores in Venezuela. After a taste of retail, Gomes, who was born and raised on the island of Madeira, Portugal, enrolled at the University of San Francisco and moved north to a city his grandfather had once called home.
After graduation, Gomes started HeadQuarters, a successful ad agency tapping into the growing Hispanic and Latino market. In 2001, Gomes bought a ranch in the Sobre Vista neighborhood of Glen Ellen, welcoming the change of pace and the return to a landscape that very much reminded him of the town where he grew up, and where he still has ties today. Gomes spent the entire last year in Madeira remodeling and restoring his great grandparent's ancient stone house, which he inherited, estimated to be at least 260 years old.
But restoring and improving old things isn't new for Gomes (although dealing with unreinforced masonry walls was a challenge). After selling HeadQuarters, Gomes launched a new brand and venture, Horatius, which became a popular event space in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Gomes remodeled the space from an old warehouse to a modern industrial-chic event center and café. The San Francisco Horatius, surrounded by new tech companies, was rented out for office parties, business meetings, birthdays, weddings, and government functions. In addition to the event space, the 10,000-square-foot Horatius housed a commercial catering kitchen and café, whose primary clientele were locals who didn't want to drink Starbucks. In 2009, the California College of the Arts gave Gomes “an offer [he] couldn't refuse,” and purchased Horatius for its own event venue (Perry Family Event Center). While Gomes said he was reluctant to sell, he had already been eyeing Jack London Village for a Horatius #2 and so Horatius #2 became Horatius #1, transplanted. “Horatius San Francisco was big, and I loved it. Even if I still had it now, I'd love it, but this [location] has so many similar elements,” said Gomes, pointing out the exposed ceiling beams and original wood floor. While a much smaller venue, Gomes plans to follow the same successful formula he found in San Francisco.
In Glen Ellen, the cafe serves Horatius's own locally roasted coffee and espresso, including its own brand of Nitro Cold-Brew coffee. Nitrogen, added to cold-brewed coffee, affects the taste and texture, making it creamier and, some say, stronger. Gomes said they are working on developing small plates and will soon be serving sandwiches and other snacks. Adjacent to the café, Gomes is putting the final touches on the wine lounge, which will serve beer, wine, and small plates, and will function as a space for elegant small events. Paying homage to Gomes's roots, the wine lounge will serve premium Portuguese wine (including Port, of course) and beer, but also hopes to highlight small, local winemakers and brewmasters who perhaps don't have a tasting room, store front, or other way to get their products into the hands of people who may enjoy them. “I know there is a need for that,” said Gomes. Look for a Grand Opening event for the lounge in mid-October.
Gomes said he hopes Horatius GE becomes as integrated into the community as Horatius SF was, where neighbors still greet him when he's visiting the area. “I'm so happy how supportive, positive and engaging the community here has been,” said Gomes. “
Horatius is located at 14301 Arnold Dr. in Glen Ellen. They are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday -Monday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. They plan to extend their hours soon.
Urban Refind - everything, including the kitchen sink
Patinaed bronze cow bells, old license plates, blue glass bottles, retro advertising signs, brass door knobs, rolling carts, pallets, and old trunks - if these are just a few of your favorite things, you'll be able to find them all at Urban Refind, a new refurbished home goods store that recently opened its doors in Boyes Hot Springs. In other words, if you're a fan of the American Pickers TV show, you'll probably love Urban Refind. Pieces on display are the crème de la crème culled from the finds of husband and wife team Leslie Boutell and Simon Purshouse, who started a hauling business, Good Riddance Hauling, almost a decade ago. Boutell calls Urban Refind “funky, eclectic, boho-chic,” but, with a good eye and an imagination, most of its stuff will fit into many styles. Boutell extolls the value of elbow grease or a splash of paint to give new life to something found in the sticky cobwebs of someone's barn.
“I love rust and old metal. Carts, hooks, baubles. And I love to repurpose this stuff,” said Boutell.
Boutell and Purshouse started Good Riddance Hauling during the 2008 recession, and still get most of their hauling work locally in Sonoma Valley. Boutell remembers seeing piles of stuff on corners as people were moving, foreclosing, and downsizing. “I thought, where is this stuff all going?” It seemed like a good time to get into the hauling business.
Often, when they were asked to clear out or salvage old barns and sheds, many clients were just happy to get the dusty contents off their hands, but it seemed a shame to send some of the stuff to the dump. As the years went by, Boutell found they were slowly becoming like their clients: too much stuff in their barn and nowhere for it to go. They had been selling bits and pieces online, but Boutell decided it was time to open a proper storefront - to help clear out the barn.
Boutell said her inventory is always changing and she'll be hosting two big sales - one this fall, and one in the spring - to help move stuff along. Additionally, she will be carrying locally made jewelry and artwork.
Urban Refind is located at 17503 Sonoma Hwy., and can also be found at www.urbanrefind.com. Open Thursday-Sunday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
A. Bright Idea wins award
Advertising and public relations agency A. Bright Idea, with an office in Glen Ellen, earned a Telly Award for a tourism video made for the Yountville Chamber of Commerce.
Telly Awards honor video excellence in local, regional, and cable television commercials. A. Bright Idea won a bronze Telly Award in the Online Travel Video category for the Yountville video “Taste Life Here.” The video uses interviews and video footage to highlight Yountville as a desirable tourist destination.
A. Bright Idea has offices in Glen Ellen and Bel Air, Maryland. For more information on the agency, go to www.abrightideaonline.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vault Café in Oakmont is having a special Happy Hour on Friday, Oct. 7, 4-5:30 p.m. Taste Deerfield Ranch wines with Deerfield's tasting room host Bill Klein. There will be cheese and canapés prepared by the café. Cost is $10. Space is limited - call 890-5270 or stop by the café at 6580 Oakmont Dr…Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery in Jack London Village in Glen Ellen continues its “Sunday Socials” on Sunday, Oct. 2, with watercolor artist Benita Gaudier. She will demonstrate her watercolor painting technique between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Gaudier's paintings hang in over 200 corporate and private collections. Her recent work focuses on barnyard animals and some of that work will be on display on Oct. 2. Call 343-1931 for more information, or go to www.hopscotchgiftsandgallery.com… The Glen Ellen Veterinary Clinic closed down its Arnold Dr. location at the end of September. Drs. Nicole and David Brooks had run the clinic since the end of 2013.…On the subject of animals, St. Francis Winery is having its annual blessing of the animals on Sunday, Oct. 2 ,2-5 p.m. The afternoon includes a raffle, silent auction, wine by the glass, Winery Dog of the Year contest, and more. The event raises funds for the Sonoma Humane Society. St. Francis is located at 100 Pythian Road…Live music at B.R. Cohn Winery on Oct. 16 features guitarist extraordinaire Jason Bodlovich from 2-4:30 p.m. B.R. Cohn Winery is located at 15000 Sonoma Hwy. in Glen Ellen...The Sonoma County Economic Development Board has a new website, www.SonomaEDB.org. The website is designed to help businesses get the information they need to start a new business or grow their operations.