(Left to right) David LaMonica, Diane LaMonica, Krista McCracken, Chef Arturo Guzman

The former owners of Mendocino’s critically-acclaimed Cafe Beaujolais are opening Salt & Stone restaurant in Kenwood. Chef David LaMonica and his wife, Diane LaMonica, have purchased the shuttered KenWood restaurant space with plans to open a “casual-chic” California eatery and oyster bar this fall.

“We’re so excited to meeting and serving locals and visitors alike. Everything about our new venture feels just right, ” said Diane. The LaMonicas have hired Arturo Guzman as executive chef and Krista McCracken as GM and sommelier.

Since last year’s closure of the KenWood restaurant, rumors have been circling as to who would snap up the historic Sonoma Hwy. roadhouse. Earlier this year, a deal fell through for the former Olive & Vine restauranteurs, who planned to open it as Crush Bar & Grill.

The Salt & Stone menu is still in the works, but owners promise “fresh seafood, quality meats and charcuterie” with indoor and outdoor dining, full bar and lounge.

Chef Arturo most recently was executive chef at The French Garden in Sebastopol and Dawn Ranch Lodge in Guerneville. He spent 20 years at Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley.

Investor and restaurateur Bill Foss purchased the Kenwood Restaurant in 2013 from longtime chef Max Schacher. Schacher’s 26-year tenure gained the restaurant a strong local following, especially among the nearby Oakmont community. Looking to modernize the menu, Foss and his team worked to create a locally-sourced lineup of dishes that had some impressive moments–but didn’t always translate for the weeknight crowd. In other words, many of Schacher’s fans weren’t wild about having his signature Caesar salad, poached salmon and cheesecake suddenly replaced with rabbit legs, $16 burgers and hamachi crudo.

Diane LaMonica says she is definitely hoping to bring back local diners with a more approachable menu and “gathering place” feel.

Before becoming the Kenwood Restaurant, Bunny’s Country Kitchen, a favorite fried chicken restaurant in the community, occupied the space.

Salt & Stone, Kenwood’s Gathering Place, is located at 9900 Sonoma Hwy (CA 12). Kenwood, California. Stay tuned for details when the restaurant opens.