The recent flap between Santa Rosa restaurateurs and mobile food vendors has sparked the formal organization of the Downtown Santa Rosa Restaurant Association. The group aims to be a resource that “helps our members keep the doors open and tables set” by sharing  information, cost savings, marketing and education, according to Rendez Vous Bistro owner Nino Rabba.

Rabba has spearheaded the fledgling organization over the last several weeks and hopes to combine efforts of the immediate downtown business owners and those of nearby Railroad Square, which have long been separate entities. Potential benefits to members would include newsletters, seminars, group purchasing, energy management, publicity and special events and networking.

Still officially leaderless, DSRRA meets April 6, 2011 in its last open discussion meeting before electing its leadership committee on April 20. In past meetings, those interested in forming the organization — which includes many of the downtown restaurants owners according to Rabba — outlined the group’s mission and membership qualifications. “We want to build a more positive future for the downtown restaurant community,” said Rabba. “There are good people here who have really good ideas,” he said.

Though the need for a cohesive downtown restaurant organization has long been discussed in the restaurant community, the sudden arrival of lunchtime food trucks to an off-square location in Santa Rosa united many restaurateurs to take action to defend their businesses and create a better line of communication between themselves and the city.

For more information about the organization, which is open to the food service industry in downtown Santa Rosa, contact info@dsrra.org.