Biggest Sonoma County Restaurant Closures in 2019

In 2019, already-suffering eateries were devastated by floods, multiple power outages and the Kincade fire.

It’s been a miserable year for restaurants. Again.

In 2019, already-suffering eateries were devastated by floods, multiple power outages and the Kincade fire. Tourism is still soft, and for many it was simply too much. Among the most devastating losses were nationally-known gems like the Jimtown Store, Zazu and Lowell’s.

Zazu Kitchen and Farm Duskie Estes embraces Tomas Guzman, part of the maintenance crew of The Barlow, Thursday, April 18, 2019 in Sebastopol. (Kent Porter)

After a boom in downtown restaurants in Santa Rosa, 2019 saw a horrifying six closures (and counting) in 2019.

And the numbers will likely grow. Throughout the county, some restaurateurs say they’re teetering, hoping to get through the busy Christmas season but unsure if they’ll be able to keep the doors open past January. Rents continue to rise (shockingly), permitting and construction have stalled out many and owners say the workforce has shrunk so drastically they often can’t find help.

Click through the gallery to see some of the restaurants we sadly had to say goodbye to in 2019.


7 thoughts on “Biggest Sonoma County Restaurant Closures in 2019

  1. Thank you for putting together a thoughtful piece with a good list of restaurants that packed it in.
    The Mercato was in a hard-to-succeed spot, and had been Bibi’s, Something else, Swensons or something else. It’s in a “bummy spot” of downtown with the “B” level movie theater next door, and the o.k. but not as well known beer spot across the way with a more “accessible” menu for a broader range of drinking families.

    LaVera was a great place, and had a successful run that just ended naturally. Good for them. When looking a restaurant finances/planning, I would also suggest that success meaning getting back opening costs, plus return on investment within the time period of the locked in lease rate. They did great in that spot for a long time.

    Chandi’s Bollywood is a gem; and I hope the new hotel draws big for them.

    The downtown area is experiencing desperate street people with increasing frequency. If guests from the City stop in Petaluma, they don’t as much of that. And in Sebastopol or Healdsburg, there is much, much less street people impact. I’m not just talking about “shelter less,” as that is a problem with many subsets; It’s about harder edged people making downtown a place in which you should keep your guard up. Would you rather wait ten minutes for an Uber after having four glasses of $14 wine in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg or Sebastopol?

  2. California isn’t a business friendly state, or a citizen friendly state for that matter. Over regulation creates astronomical costs for living or doing business. But hey, keep voting democrat/socialist and everything will be peachy.

  3. The cost of living in our location is way too high for the workers and the rent too high for the owners.. We are pricing all of our much loved people out of town.

  4. Years ago I asked the owner of Cattlemens how he made a million dollars in the restaurant business. He said “start with two million”

  5. It is a tough business to be in. You have to have wads of money to spend and pray that you get all the things involved perfect and that you have a loyal following.

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