Wine Pairing at Kendall Jackson Wine Center

A K-J cafe? Jackson Family Wines will take over the former Shimo Modern Steak location in Healdsburg. The 241 Healdsburg Avenue space is slated to become a “culinary cafe” showcasing orchestrated food and wine pairings, a menu of small bites and a curated selection of locally made products including cheeses, breads, charcuterie and chocolate.

This ain’t no stale pretzel and mustard set-up. K-J Executive Chef Justin Wangler has an all-star chef team lined up for the new property that includes Tracey Shepos (cheese) and Robert Nieto (chocolate, pastries). He’ll tap into K-J’s expansive culinary garden, expanding line of house made goodies and network of top purveyors throughout Wine Country. The cafe will also be a retail outlet for a line of grape seed oils, flours and cookies from sister company, WholeVine–a project of JFW chairman Barbara Banke and former Chalk Hill Estate co-owner Peggy Furth to both minimize winery waste (grape seeds, skins) and create a healthy food product.

Wangler has already decamped to the Shimo kitchen, having moved his operations (temporarily) to Healdsburg several weeks ago while the Santa Rosa Wine Center kitchens undergo major upgrades and renovations slated to last through next fall. There’s no word on when the cafe will open yet, but it seems reasonable to expect sometime next year.

A sample cafe menu submitted to city planners includes  Drakes Bay Oysters with Kendall-Jackson verjus mignonette; Liberty Duck rillettes, Potato leek tortas with chardonnay grape seed oil and lemon aioli; Bellwether Farms Carmody Fondue with crostini; red and white fries with cabernet ketchup; WholeVine Grape skin flour pretzel bites, a Devil’s Gulch porchetta sandwich with pickled farm vegetables; Mama Frisschkorn’s caramel corn and lime Madeleines. And we should probably mention they’ll be serving wine with all this food.

Meanwhile, winemaker Pete Seghesio’s proposal for a meat and salumi cafe and store on the site of the former Post Office is cooling its heels for another month. Healdsburg City Planners will consider the “Healdsburg Meat Co.” at its next meeting in July. Sehgesio’s cafe and store also includes–you guessed it–a wood-fired pizza oven and wine tasting by-the-glass wines. In case you’re keeping track, that’s the third wood-fired cafe concept in Healdsburg in the last month.