A Secret Breakfast Window in Santa Rosa

The menu includes brioche breakfast sandwiches with Bearnaise sauce and European waffles crusted with pearl sugar.

On a drab block of Wilson Street off Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square is a sliding window to bread heaven.

Here, Sonoma Mountain Breads’ owner and yeast charmer Lee Magner works his carbo-licious magic on Saturday and Sunday mornings with little more than a small sign, three little cafe tables teetering on the sidewalk and a team of cooks.

The weekly menu, subject to change, includes pierogies drizzled with truffle oil, brioche breakfast sandwiches with soft eggs and tangy Bearnaise sauce, European waffles crusted with pearl sugar and, oh, croissants and hearty loaves of naturally leavened bread.

By 10 a.m., the mortadella and Havarti croissants, baklava Danish with brown butter-toasted walnuts and lemon curd and baguettes have disappeared. My heart sinks, but a chocolate ganache tart with a short rye shell comforts.

Lee Magner, owner and head baker of Sonoma Mountain Breads. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)
Libby Howard of Sonoma Mountain Breads welcomes guests at the secret window. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)

The pop-up is part of an incubation and residency food program by Miracle Plum’s Sallie Miller and Gwen Gunheim. The women took over the former A La Heart kitchen in 2021 and have hosted several chefs at their sandwich and salad spot ever since. Along with Magner, several other small food businesses share the commercial kitchen.

Magner is a pandemic-era entrepreneur. After he was furloughed from his baking job, he started baking bread in cast-iron pans at his Oakland studio apartment and sharing it with friends. Sonoma Mountain Breads grew from there.

His hefty sourdough loaves made with organic ingredients including spelt, wheat flour, rye flake porridge and millet have gained a loyal following. Flaky sourdough-starter croissants made with buckwheat flour, sugary morning buns and Danishes are sweet additions. But he’s also added hot breakfast and brunch at the Wilson St. kitchen.

Coffee from Retrograde Roasters, which you can get at Miracle Plum, is a required addition.

Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 600 Wilson St., Santa Rosa, sonomamountainbreads.com. Check Instagram for the latest menus @sonomamountainbreads

More Santa Rosa dining news

Marla at Spinsters Sisters: We’ve mentioned another recent weekend brunch pop-up worth checking out — Marla Bakery’s residency at Spinster Sisters restaurant through Mother’s Day weekend.

The hype is real, and the baked eggs are a bit of heaven. You can sit down for a meal (we tried the bagels and smoked trout) or drop in for pastries. Check out the mouthwatering photos.

Rumor has it: The now-vacant Jack and Tony’s in Railroad Square may soon have a new tenant. Restaurateur Brad Barmore of Windsor’s Kin restaurant and Kinsmoke restaurant in Healdsburg said that a “concept development” is underway. The restaurant closed after the death of chef/owner Jack Mitchell in September 2020.