Mint & Liberty Open: Exploring regional favorites from across the country, Mint & Liberty Modern Diner is already gathering buzz. On the extensive menu, Executive Chef Michael Siegel (Bix, Betelnut, Shorty Goldstein’s) brings together pierogi and baked beans (North) with enchiladas (Southwest), sprouted lentil salad (West), Shrimp Gumbo (South), matzoh ball soup and egg salad on Challah (East). There’s also an all-day breakfast menu, burgers (we’ll take the one with pork belly and kim chi slaw immediately) and family-style entrees (whole roasted chicken, clambake, SF-style cioppino) after 5p.m. Owners James Hahn and Mila Chaname also own Sunflower Caffe, Honey & The Moon Bakery and Chename wines in Sonoma. 19101 Hwy. 12, Sonoma, mintandliberty.com. Open daily from 8a.m. to 9p.m.
Bibi’s Becomes Mercato: Bye, bye Bibi’s Burger Bar; hello Mercato Pasta and Produce. Pivoting away from their downtown Santa Rosa burger concept, Chandi Hospitality Group has hired Chef Nevin Patel (who a couple weeks ago opened Indian concept restaurant, Bollywood, in downtown Santa Rosa) to spin up a sort of Eataly-light. Based around freshly-made pastas and sauce, along with a market selling local produce and other goodies, Mercato soft-opened on Nov. 9. Also on the menu, vanilla gelato, garlic bread, salads and arancini. We’ll have more details next week. 630 Third St., Santa Rosa, mercatopastaandproduce.com.
Also on the radar, The Farmer’s Wife (6760 McKinley St., Sebastopol) which opened in early October and serves up owner Kendra Kolling’s gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches along with soup and pastries. Kolling, who has been a farm-market and festival staple for years, lost her Kenwood home in last year’s wildfires, but bounced back with the new cafe. She’s also eyeing some bigger projects in the future, but for now her little spot in the sunlight of the Barlow seems just about right for a farm-fresh sandwich melt and warming tomato soup.