Affronti/ Jeff Kan Lee

(This  article appeared in the PD, by Diane Peterson…I’m reprinting it here)

Lucy Fincher of Healdsburg and her brother, chef/owner Manuel Azevedo of LaSalette in Sonoma, have taken over the lease at Affronti restaurant in Healdsburg and plan to open it as Cafe Lucia later this fall, serving Portuguese cuisine with a Wine Country twist.

Azevedo will oversee the kitchen, where Jason Santos, a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, will serve as the Chef de Cuisine.

Fincher, a Healdsburg native who has lived in the town for the past 20 years, will run the front of the house. A former paralegel, Fincher started off her career in the restaurant business.

Fincher’s husband, Tracy, works for Clos du Bois Winery and started his own catering business, Hot Rod Barbecue, last year. The couple has two daughters, ages 12 and 14.

Located behind La Crema Tasting Room, Cafe Lucia will seat45 and an additional 35 outside on an all-season patio. The kitchen is currently under renovation, with a stove and a hood being added by the landlord.

The siblings plan to offer value-oriented food and a wine list that will draw heavily from Portugal as well as from the Healdsburg area.

“There needs to be a restaurant that appeals more to the locals,” said Azevedo, who received a Michelin Bibb Gourmand award for LaSalette. “The price will be fair, it’s comfortable and has real food.”

The menu starts off with a choice of three small “Tasca” plates, such as sardine paté, white anchovies and pickled vegetables, for $15.

Starters will range from $7 to $12, and entrees will be in the $20 to $25 range. Some of LaSalette’s signature dishes will anchor the menu, such as the Chourico-Crusted Scallops and the Oven-Roasted Branzino, a Mediterranean fish, but Azevedo expects the menu to develop in time.

“It will evolve and pick up its own personality,” he said. “It’s not LaSalette opening a new location. It’s about Lucy opening her first restaurant.”

According to a message on the restaurant’s voicemail, chef/owner Jude Affronti of Affronti will continue to serve sandwiches and salads at the Parkpoint Club, 196 Foss Creek Circle, in Healdsburg.

Cafe Lucia is located at 235 Healdsburg Ave. Tentative opening date is Nov. 1.