Barrio and Old Possum Matchup Brings Top Tacos and Brews to Santa Rosa

A carne asada taco and a beer are truly the Donny and Marie of pairing in our book. A little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll and a lot delish.

What goes best with a cold Sonoma-brewed beer? Baby beets with goat cheese is not out of the question. Fish and chips? Yes, please. But a carne asada taco and a brew are truly the Donny and Marie of pairing in our book. A little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll and a lot delish. That’s why we’re so excited about the matchup between Old Possum brewery and the Barrio, an elevated taqueria at Sebastopol’s Barlow.

Barrio will serve ridiculously tasty food at the brewery (357 Sutton Place, Santa Rosa) that includes harissa potatoes, baby beets with goat cheese, ahi tuna tostadas, red snapper ceviche, rice with barbecue carnitas and a host of other tasty nibbles.

More details on Instagram @barriofrescacocina. Stay tuned for more details.

Torta el Chavo served on torpedo bread with pork belly, chipotle aioli, pico de gallo and arugula from Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana in Sebastopol’s The Barlow. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)
Pouring beer at Old Possum Brewing Company in Santa Rosa. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

More dining news

Before you huff at slow service, let me share a recent interview with Lucas Martin of K&L Bistro in Sebastopol.

Though most of us have heard about the struggle for staff in the hospitality industry, the reality is far worse. Martin has had to close — often unexpectedly — on nights when a staff member fails to show up.

“It’s collateral damage from COVID. At least one day a week someone calls in sick. They’ve got daycare issues because the kids are at home,” he said. Before the pandemic, K&L had a roster of nearly 35 employees, both part- and full-time. Now they’re working with five, including Martin and his wife, Karen.

“I could hire a bunch of kids on summer break, but we need people who can multitask,” he said. After years of building a brand, sloppy service is worse than closing. “It’s a coin toss, but that’s our philosophy,” he said. “But it’s never going to be the exact same place it was, because it’s just not the same world we live in.”

Part of his plan going forward is to re-evaluate his business, at least when he figures out what the “new normal” is. Clearly it won’t be 35 employees, he said.

“I just don’t know if that will be a financial possibility for the future,” Martin said.