(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) — With new and expanded air service, a growing portfolio of new or completely renovated hotels, and a lengthy list of new restaurants, bars, and other businesses, the timing of the reopening of California’s economy coincides with a welcome resurgence of visitor and tourism-related services in the Sonoma County community of Santa Rosa.
In total, more than two dozen new, renovated, expanded, or planned businesses now call Santa Rosa home, at a time when many similar projects have been postponed, delayed indefinitely, or altogether shuttered nationwide. Santa Rosa’s hoteliers, restaurateurs, shop owners, wineries, breweries, and activity providers are now eager to show off their new or improved products.
“My hat is off not only to the Santa Rosa businesses that endured the pandemic’s challenges, but also to the many entrepreneurial spirits in our community who doubled down on tourism’s future, and who will not let anything get in the way of their pursuit of the American dream,” said Brad Calkins, Executive Director of Visit Santa Rosa. “Our resolve has been tested before, and each time we emerge stronger, more unified, and ready to welcome visitors back to a wonderful place that we are fortunate to call home.”
Following is a list of the new, renovated, or expanded businesses and services that have sprung up in Santa Rosa in recent months, or plan to do so in the coming months:
Avelo Airlines – The inaugural Flight from America’s first new mainline airline in nearly 15 years — Avelo Airlines — touched down at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport on April 28. Avelo offers daily non-stop service between LA’s iconic Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and Santa Rosa (STS), the gateway to wine country.
Alaska Airlines – Alaska Airlines has increased its service and commitment to Santa Rosa/Sonoma County with more nonstop flights. Starting June 1, the airline added daily nonstop service between Santa Rosa/Sonoma County and Burbank. On Sept. 8, Alaska will add additional flights to both Orange County and San Diego. With the additional flight, the airline will have 13 peak day nonstop flights to six destinations from Sonoma County.
AC Hotel by Marriott (Opened August 2020) – Located in the historic Railroad Square, the hotel offers a blend of Spanish roots and European style, paired with the authentic urban vibe of Santa Rosa and its surrounding neighborhoods.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham (Opened February 2021) – The new La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham is a contemporary hotel, located in the heart of Santa Rosa and features include super-fast Wi-Fi, micro and fridge, outdoor pool, hot tub, fire pit patio area, oversized fitness center, and a lobby bar.
Flamingo Resort (Remodel completed June 2021) – The Flamingo Resort is a mid-century marvel and was the place to see and be seen in Santa Rosa of the late 1950s. Patterned after the horizontal glass and stone design of Las Vegas’ Flamingo, wings of rooms fanned out from a resort-size pool and manicured gardens, all topped by a big, pink bird revolving atop a landmark 50-foot tower. The buildings, rendered with natural materials and iconic angular silhouettes, are the work of master architect Homer A. Rissman and were declared a Historic Landmark in 1996. Fully remodeled in 2021 the 10-acre campus includes 170 sanctuary rooms, a year-round heated pool, hot tub, ice bucket shower, full-service fitness center, Pilates and cycling studio, tennis courts, lap pool and spa.
Holiday Inn Express Santa Rosa North (Remodel completed June 2021) – Following a seven-month closure for a complete remodel, the property recently reopened under the Holiday Inn Express brand. The top-to-bottom remodel included all guest rooms, public areas, and the outdoor pool where they have added grills and fire pits for the year-round wine country experience.
Art House Hotel (Opening August 2021) – The 36-room Art House Hotel, built in a sleek modern design and appointed in serene neutral tones, offers a sophisticated stay, designed as a city sanctuary, and just steps away from the heart of downtown action. Its prime location, two blocks off historic Courthouse Square, makes for the perfect launch point to Sonoma County’s spectacular wine country, redwoods, and coastline or just relaxing in our Art Gallery Lounge. Choose from a Classic King Room with your own private balcony, Urban Escape Studio designed for chic city life or a Glassy, expansive, intimate and evocative Apartment Suite that offers appointed living rooms, boasts a queen sofa sleeper, fully appointed kitchens and dining tables that make dining in a tempting option.
RESTAURANTS & BARS – NEW IN 2021
Warike Restobar – Warike Restobar was born in the search for the perfect pairing between Peruvian cuisine and the best product obtained in the California waters. Three family partners with Latin roots: Luigi, Kevin, and Gustavo bring the concepts of the true cevicheria and Peruvian restaurants to downtown Santa Rosa. From the same family as Ayawaska in Petaluma and Novato.
La Fondita – Roseland’s iconic La Fondita restaurant is expanding to downtown Santa Rosa. Known for more than 20 years for authentic, affordable Mexican cuisine, the downtown location will be the third for owner Maria Elena Reyes. Elena Maria Reyes started her food business in 1996 with an old food truck she and her husband financed by selling their cars and asking her grandmother for a few thousand dollars in start-up money.
Falafel Hut 2 – Owner Mohamed Shawa opened his first restaurant, Falafel Hut, in 2006 with his father in San Rafael. Since then, he’s been serving up authentic Middle Eastern cuisine reminiscent of his Palestinian heritage — shawarma, kebabs, gyros, and, of course, falafel. His recipes, inspired by his mother’s cooking, come straight from Palestine, a place he’s visited for long stretches of time over the years, and where his cousin has been a chef for thirty years. Now, he’s going into business with his cousin, Asem Alshawwa, to open Falafel Hut’s sister restaurant, Falafel Hut 2 in Santa Rosa.
Nothing Bundt Cake – Founders Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz started out making cakes for their friends and family and the cakes they made were delicious, unlike anything anyone had tasted and as a result, the side project turned into something more. Local owners Jan and Waverly are a mother and daughter team. Jan’s bakery in Arizona has won best dessert/bakery in the Phoenix East Valley for the past three years and Waverly is currently the chairwoman of the Healdsburg Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs.
Sushi Rosa – From the same family as the popular Otoro Sushi in Healdsburg comes Sushi Rosa, which recently opened in downtown Santa Rosa. Like their sister restaurant, Sushi Rosa specializes in traditional Japanese cuisine with a touch of California flavor, and features the freshest, highest quality fish daily.
3 Disciples Brewing (Relocated brewing facility to Santa Rosa) – 3 Disciples Brewing is the result of the perfect balance that three partners, James, Matt, and Luke have created. Determined to never cut corners, and to make certain every single batch has all the qualities they desire, or else it never makes it to your glass. We believe in our vision and have prevailed to ensure our followers will also see the light. 3 Disciples Brewing has crossed boundaries and blended style genres, yet we keep our focus on one goal: Innovative Ales.
Grill Santa Rosa (Opened April 2021) – Head founders, Ali Cetin and Berat Ilhan, fuse Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, comforting classics, and west coast flair to craft their seasonal menus including our ever-changing Grill Santa Rosa, a four-course dining experience.
Johnny Donuts (Opened May 2021) – Owner and founder Craig Blum was part of the opening team for the first US Hard Rock Café but then he got the idea of starting a food truck and doughnuts quickly became his calling. In addition to doughnuts, the new shop will serve up Crodoughs, Bismarks, cinnamon rolls, and even vegan doughnuts.
Dolan’s Den (Opened April 2021) – Local owners Derek and Trinh Dolan have always appreciated restaurants and bars, never missing a date night at any one of Trinh’s favorite spots. While working in the corporate world, Trinh would always dream of bartending or cooking up one of her amazing meals for the reward of putting a smile on a stranger’s face. Born in Vietnam and raised as an Air Force brat, Trinh spent her childhood in different countries and was exposed to many different cultures. Her love of cooking might have derived from cooking for her 3 siblings as her parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. Derek–born in San Francisco and raised in Sebastopol–always had one foot in the city and one in the country. He decided to follow in the footsteps of his grandpa and great-grandpa and is working as a Local 38 plumber in San Francisco. The thought of a career change often crosses his mind but for now, plumbing is first. Derek spends his free time supporting Trinh’s dream of owning a bar and grill during an unprecedented time of entering the restaurant business.
Crumbl Cookies (Opened April 2021) – Local owners Jim and Moley are successful restaurateurs from Ukiah and their son Chris, and his wife Caley (from Petaluma) decided as a family to jump headfirst into this adventure together. A rotating menu with 120+ specialty cookies are made fresh daily, and they’re baked in an open kitchen for all cookie-lovers to see up close! They are still looking for that quintessential Santa Rosa/Sonoma County cookie to add to their offerings.
Huckleberry’s (Opened January 2021) – Ann Bailey, owner and General Manager is from the Bay Area and has always been a breakfast fan. Ann previously managed other restaurants before diving headfirst into ownership and opening Huckleberry’s in Santa Rosa, where they serve southern cooking with a California twist.
3rd Street Aleworks (Remodeled May 2021) – When the new owners took over in April of 2019, they set out to carry on this winning tradition, and breathing some fresh life into the pub itself. During the pandemic, they took advantage of being closed/outdoor dining, and started a multi-phase remodel. They fully remodeled the bar. Now when you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a marble-like facade and seven brand new TVs, with a 75” digital beer board in the middle, which will double as a TV for the big games!
RESTAURANTS AND BARS – NEW IN 2020
4th Street Social Club (Opened October 2020) – The energetic 30-something first-time restaurateurs Melissa and Chris Matteson hope will make the 4th Street Social Club an instant favorite for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike. A longtime gardener using sustainable practices, Melissa is creating health-forward, yet crave-able dishes (including gluten-free options) such as Jacked Up Popcorn Chik’n and Seasonal Sliders (meat-based and vegetarian) based upon the changing bounty of her garden; currently planted with over a dozen varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Multi-flavored signature micheladas and creative, food-friendly cocktails such as About Thai’m utilizing Thai tea will draw on Melissa’s 17 years of experience in the service industry from New York City to San Francisco.
Nimble & Finn’s Homemade Ice Cream (Opened October 2020) – Back in 2012, Jazmin turned her background as a baker and her passion for ice cream into a new career. She named her fledgling business after her two children’s nicknames and started visiting local farmers’ markets with one pushcart freezer filled with old-fashioned artisanal ice cream. The response was immediate and enthusiastic, and Jazmin quickly had more work than she could handle alone so she roped her sister Leandra into the business with promises of endless creamy desserts. They use organic dairy from Straus Creamery, seasonal produce, and housemade jams, cakes, and candy in their inspired takes on classic flavors.
Mi Ranchito Downtown (Opened October 2020) – The Rodriquez family of Cuernavaca, Mexico established the first Cantina in 2008 and it is based on the heritage of the family. They offer the most delicious traditional and authentic Mexican cuisine and margaritas. When you visit you will discover an ambiance that makes you feel at home, the Mexican-style way.
Grossman’s Noshery & Bar (Opened March 2020) – James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark together own and operate six of Sonoma County’s favorite, and most highly rated, restaurants including the newly opened Grossman’s, a New York-style deli, bakery, and bar. The menu features eclectic breakfast dishes, noshes, sandwiches, soups, salads, platters for sharing, nightly specials, dumplings, and desserts based on Jewish cuisine from the East Coast of the US, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Baked goods and cured and smoked fish and meats are made in-house.
Flagship Taproom (Opened June 2020) – Who would have known that five childhood friends would reunite to start a business in their hometown? With backgrounds in restaurant management and entrepreneurship, it only made sense to combine our assets to create the type of place where we would want to work and hang out with friends & family. From pilsners to sours and everything in between, we serve a variety of beer styles to suit every palate. We love our local community and love serving our neighbors, friends, and family.
Land and Water Coffee (Opened June 2020) – Land and Water Coffee is a specialty coffee roasting company in Santa Rosa. All our coffees are ethically and sustainably sourced, and meticulously roasted.
Americana (Opened March 2020) – Samantha & Ryan Ramey are a husband/wife duo with a passion for all things food. Ryan is a classically trained chef and Samantha was raised working in the front-of-house of restaurants. They began their own entrepreneurship as caterers in the Bodega Bay Area before purchasing Estero Cafe In Valley Ford in 2014. Americana is a classic American-style diner located in Historic Railroad Square.
ACME Burger (Opening July 2021) – Todd’s passion for food began when he assisted his father in the family catering business at 15 years old in Connecticut. He pursued a culinary career at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and completed his apprenticeship on Grand Cayman Island. ACME features Sonoma Mountain Beef (locally raised, hormone and antibiotic-free, grass-fed and grain-finished), Willie Bird (local) turkey burger, the Impossible Burger (plant-based protein), Bodega Bay rock cod, and a comprehensive menu of freshly prepared sides and salads.
Tony’s Galley (Opening July 2021) – Chef and owner Tony Ounpamornchai owner of SEA Thai Bistro and SEA Thai Noodle is opening a new restaurant. Tony’s Galley is a seafood-centric café and will include four versions of the classic East Coast lobster roll sandwich, including Maine Style with chilled mayonnaise, celery and scallions; Connecticut Style featuring lobster poached in clarified butter; Thai Style with tempura-fried lobster in sweet chili aioli, pickled chiles, tobiko (flying fish roe) and green onion and an LGBLT with lobster, garlic butter, bacon, mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Sessions Climbing (Broke ground in April 2021) – Local rock climber Kevin Jorgeson, who completed a free climb of the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park with partners Tommy Caldwell is starting the next adventure. Set to open in early 2022, Sessions Climbing is a 55-foot-high, 23,000-square-foot structure featuring indoor climbing, yoga, and fitness center.
Ruth Asawa Fountain (Scheduled Opening TBD) – Ruth Aiko Asawa was an American sculptor, her works can be seen in San Francisco along with collections at the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the dedication of her Santa Rosa fountain in 1987, Asawa was there, wearing a floppy white hat and her very best smile as the joyful crowd celebrated with her as the Santa Rosa sculpture was one of her last large works. The fountain panels depicting Sonoma County life were originally installed as concrete. With the completion of the Courthouse Square project, the next step is to reinstall the fountain with the original, carefully conserved sculptured panels re-cast in bronze. Santa Rosa’s Art in Public Places and the Downtown Action Organization are working on private donations to complete the bronze panels as a tribute to Asawa.
About Santa Rosa, CA:
Located just 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa is the urban heart of all there is to see, do, eat, drink, hike, bike, and explore in Sonoma County. Santa Rosa is the biggest city in Sonoma Wine Country, yet the town’s vibe and charm are as welcoming as a small town. Central to Sonoma County’s 400+ wineries, Santa Rosa is also just 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and even closer to California’s majestic redwood trees. Santa Rosa is home to an impressive array of world-class restaurants and craft microbreweries, some of the best cycling routes in the U.S., the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, and Safari West. For more information, or to begin planning a trip to Sonoma County’s Santa Rosa, visit www.visitsantarosa.com.