Arandas, an Ode To Mexican Cuisine, To Open in Healdsburg’s Former Chalkboard Space

Former 'MasterChef' contestant Adrien Nieto will lead the new Healdsburg restaurant with a focus on upscale Mexican cuisine.

The abrupt closure of Chalkboard restaurant at the Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg last March set off a whirlwind of speculation about what would replace the longtime eatery owned by entrepreneur Bill Foley’s entertainment group.

The answer is Arandas, an upscale ode to Mexican cuisine led by chef Adrien Nieto, best known for his appearances on “MasterChef” Season 2 in 2011 and subsequent collaboration with fellow contestants at Frank, Dallas’ most coveted underground dinner club.

In a podcast with reality chef Derrick Fox in 2023, Nieto said one of his goals was to cook in California and land the “white whale, you know … that one client.”
Arandas is slated to open in June, promising a menu that reflects “the soul of Mexican cuisine.”

Though the menu has not been released, a June 4 pop-up tasting at Maison wine bar in Healdsburg included Kumamoto oysters with mango leche de tigre and burnt scallion oil, a spicy tuna tostada with salsa macha, summer squash tacos with Calabrian chili and pork belly tacos with guajillo salsa.

The Hotel Les Mars, a 16-room boutique hotel was the former home of Cyrus, a two Michelin-starred restaurant headed by chef Douglas Keane. In 2012, Keane shuttered the restaurant following a dispute with Foley. Chalkboard opened at the former Cyrus space in 2013 under chef Shane McAnelly, who is now at Dry Creek Kitchen. Cyrus reopened in 2022 in Geyserville, winning a Michelin star just months after opening.

27 North St., Healdsburg,