RESTAURANT NOW CLOSED

Several BiteClubbers have recently asked me, “What’s up with West County Grill?
Because after tons of fanfare and hype when it opened a little more
than a year ago, things have seemed to go steadily downhill. Lots of
criticism. Lots of unhappy locals. And a disappearing act by the star
of the show, celeb chef and co-owner Jonathan Waxman soon after its
debut.

Jonathan threw us to the wolves,” says Darren
McRonald, who is currently doing double duty as acting GM and head
chef. “We learned some hard lessons,” he told BiteClub by phone.
Although Waxman’s departure from the restaurant is still unofficial
according to McRonald, he is no longer involved in the operations of
the restaurant. “Jonathan’s in New York. He’s away too much,” he said.

Which has been a blow to the Sebastopol spot locals hoped would be the next coming of Chez Panisse. Both Waxman and wine guru Stephen Singer (who
remains at the restaurant) were celebrated Panisse alums who hoped to
receive a warm welcome in Wine Country. That’s yet to be seen.

With a revolving door of general managers front-of-the-house staff (Manzanita’s Mike Hale
left, along with two other GM’s), the restaurant is hoping to repair
some of the ill-will it garnered during its rocky first year.

Cinnamon Marquardt,
formerly of K&L Bistro, has been hired to improve the restaurant’ s
uneven service and McRonald’s looking toward food quality. “The
kitchen’s spent enough time together to operate effectively.”

The large restaurant continues look for ways to innovate, including re-opening for lunch and dinner continuously, 7 days a week. They’re serving fried chicken on Sundays and ethnic dinners on Wednesday.

The
question remains, however, whether they can regain the goodwill of
locals who were promised a spot where Wine Country could come “hang
out”.

What’s your experience been? Are you willing to give West County Grill another chance? See the original review from BiteClub.