Healdsburg’s iconic SHED Modern Grange will close its doors for good on December 31, 2018. Citing a difficult business year after the 2017 fires, owners Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel told its 100-person staff Monday that the 10,000 square foot cafe, fermentation bar, retail and events space would become an online-only retail shop.

Cindy and Doug at SHED. Photo: Caitlyn-McCaffrey

“We have made the very difficult decision to close the Healdsburg brick-and-mortar version of SHED,” Lipton said. “We have tried to be nimble and responsive to the challenges of running our business, but SHED is a very ambitious and complex business. We have had many successes over the past five and a half years, and in that time have built a brand with national recognition, but we cannot sustain the store any longer,” said owners.

The couple, according to publicist Laiko Bahrs, made the choice to close within the last two weeks. It has, according to Healdsburg restaurateur Dustin Valette, taken the community somewhat by surprise after locals watched the intense building process and passion the couple had for SHED.

SHED store. Photo: Eric-Wolfinger

“The surprise closure of SHED is heart-wrenching because not only was it a gem to our community but also because Doug and Cindy have such a great vision. Since their conception of SHED it has been a destination for gourmands both near and far alike.  I’ve watched as the building and their dreams took shape and it has been constantly refined by the likes of Perry Hoffman.  I love what they have done for our local food scene and how much they have helped local farmers,” said Valette.

Daniel and Lipton, who self-funded the project and own the building, do not have a new tenant lined up for the space, which was constructed from pre-fab parts, but hope to find a new owner who will understand the “community that’s gathered here and how to carry forward the spirit of SHED,” said Lipton.

Chef Perry Hoffman making final touches to dishes before they head out to the dining area during a Saturday brunch at SHED in Healdsburg. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Former SHED executive chef Perry Hoffman, who received critical praise for his farm-inspired menu, left the organization to travel with his family in August. Bahrs said Hoffman’s departure was not a factor in the closure. Chef de cuisine Bryan Oliver has been running the food program since August. Since 2013, the café has earned numerous accolades, including the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Restaurant Design; placement on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 list for three consecutive years along with a three-star rating review; a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand designation for 2017, 2018 and 2019; placement in Eater’s “California Essential 38 Restaurants in 2018;” and four Good Food Awards for products in 2018, and nominations for four products in 2019. It was also a BiteClub favorite.

“SHED is such an important part of the Healdsburg community and we have always been so inspired by Cindy and Doug’s vision. We are sad about the news,” said Kyle Connaughton of Healdsburg’s Single Thread restaurant.

Connaughton recently co-hosted a dinner with Michelin-starred New York Chef Dan Barber in a farm-to-table dinner at SHED. Over the years, dozens of top influencers in the food, farming, and sustainability fields were hosted at the upstairs grange room.

“Programming our educational and cultural events has been one of my greatest joys.” says Daniel. “Our community of farmers, teachers, authors, chefs, artists, and neighbors is unique and incredibly special. We’ve explored and learned so much together.”

Coffee bar at SHED. Photo: Eric-Wolfinger

When it opened in 2013, SHED was lauded for its eco-friendly design and modern steel and glass construction. Lipton, who founded Lipton Environmental Group and has a doctorate in environmental chemistry moved to Healdsburg more than 20 years ago with their sons to start a 15-acre biodynamic farm in Dry Creek with Daniel. The farm, which they named Home Farm, was a significant source of produce for SHED along with Bernier Farms and other small local producers located within 10 miles of the space.

“We remain committed to our mission to support good farming, good cooking, and good eating and plan to continue our website, selling products and sharing educational content. Beyond that, we will take some time in the new year to reimagine our dreams and ambitions beyond Healdsburg SHED,” said Daniel.

The space will remain open until 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and a number of events and activities remain on the books, including a wreath-making class. The web store will include SHED’s proprietary Pantry line.

SHED salad. Photo: Courtesy.

“We opened the SHED in 2013 to share the idea that health and happiness are grounded in the soil. That good farming, good cooking, and good eating are important to who we are as a people. SHED allowed us to be part of something bigger than ourselves that the whole community could share,” said Lipton.

Healdsburg SHED, 25 North St Healdsburg, CA 95448. Open daily, 8 am -6 pm, until December 31st, 2018, healdsburgshed.com