Cyrus 2.0?

A new Cyrus in the works?

Chef Douglas Keane
Chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus is considering opening a new Cyrus in Alexander Valley.
Chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus is considering opening a new Cyrus in Alexander Valley.

There’s lots of buzz in Alexander Valley this morning about rumors that Chef Douglas Keane may be planning Cyrus 2.0 somewhere in the vineyards with the support of Jackson Family Wines (hint: Barbara Banke).

According to an email sent to members of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers Association, locals and potential neighbors of the new project have been contacted by Keane and his business partner, Nick Peyton, to discuss the top secret plan.

Biteclub reached Keane this morning, who said,”I am very excited about the prospect of keeping Cyrus in Sonoma. As a resident of Alexander Valley I hope to continue to have a positive line of communication with my neighbors in AV and the County.
Nick Peyton and I have been dreaming about the possible reopening of Cyrus for a while. Hopefully our dream will come true.

As you may remember, Keane operated the Michelin-starred Cyrus at the Les Mars Hotel until 2012, when a dispute between himself and the owners resulted in the closure of the restaurant — and much disappointment for Sonoma County’s dining scene.

What’s buzzing through the grapevine is that the “big names” wanted Keane to stay in Sonoma County rather than lose him to Napa or beyond.  According to the email:  “To keep Cyrus in Sonoma, JFW (Jackson Family Wines) will give him the property for this use, absolutely free of JFW management or pressure on his operations and wine selections.”

Keane agrees, “I hope I get to keep Cyrus here! It belongs in Sonoma County!”

We agree.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to AVW Membership on Sept. 2, 2014.

Dear AVW Membership,


Over the course of the last few weeks, Alexander Valley resident and acclaimed chef, Douglas Keane has reached out to the association to share his extraordinary vision to create a world class restaurant in our valley and to earn our support of his restaurant, “Cyrus”.  Below are the details Mr. Keane has shared with us.  Please take a moment to read the information below and please share your comments or questions with Jan Gianni in our office.



·         Doug is planning to build his fine dining “CYRUS” restaurant on a small parcel owned by Jackson Family Wines(JFW), just past the Jimtown store on opposite side of HWY 128.

·         To keep Cyrus in Sonoma, JFW will give him the property for this use, absolutely free of JFW management or pressure on his operations and wine selections.

·         The property is not planted and has 3-4 old structures, including the old blacksmith’s shop which JFW plans to move to its original historic site immediately west on 128 and repurpose.

·         Cyrus will not have a presence on HWY 128, blending in with well-planned landscape design and minimum signage at the Stonestreet entrance.

·         Guests will enter through the Stonestreet entrance and JFW has agreed to the removal of 40-60 vines to provide access.

·         Cyrus will serve 36-48 guests five nights a week for forty-nine weeks a year with 3-4 seating’s between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. to accommodate a maximum of 12 guests/seating.

·         The restaurant will have no bar seating with a full liquor license as an amenity, exclusively for dinner guests with reservations booked and sold up to 6 months in advance.

·         Lunch service, 1-2 per month, may add in the future but not to more than 36-48 guests per lunch.

·         Doug is willing to encumber the parcel with a restriction on max cover to 48 in perpetuity to eliminate an increased use in the event the property or business is sold.

·         Parking will be provided for 39 cars (15 employees, 24 guest slots).

·         Doug plans to file his application with the county in the next 30 days.  JFW will file an application concurrently for removal/repurposing of blacksmith’s shop as a tasting room or other use.


The AVW are in no place to either offer or deny support at this time, until we hear from you.  Will the addition of CYRUS restaurant drive our mission to increase awareness of and appreciation for, the unique qualities of Alexander Valley and our extraordinary wines?


We value your opinion and will continue to strive to represent you as best we can.  Thank you.


Subscribe to Our Newsletters!


35 thoughts on “Cyrus 2.0?

  1. @Darrin – for someone who has dined at Cyrus 30 times, you would think you would know how to spell his last name KEANE! Duh!!

  2. The other story is he’s planning to open up (instead?) at Freemark Abbey in the the former Silverado Brewing Company restaurant space, in NAPA!

  3. What actually fascinates me about the comments on this story is the perceived divide between the 1%ers and everyone else. Between “old” Sonoma County and “new” Sonoma County, about “Napa-fying” Sonoma County and keeping it an agricultural community.

    And it’s exactly why I live here. I love that we have that push-pull, and no one group has control over what Sonoma County is. We are agricultural, and a place that’s becoming a high-end travel destination. We have hay in our hair and Prada on our feet.

    We will never be Napa, no matter whether Doug opens a restaurant here or not. I’ll be the first to admit my bias towards Doug’s talent as a chef and big heart toward his passion for dogs. I have seen both Doug and Nick quietly donate toward causes they believe in. I also know that not everyone believes in his vision, and you’re welcome to that opinion.

    I hope that we’ll keep moving forward, however, in looking toward opportunities to showcase the “Bounty of the County”–things like the National Heirloom Expo, small farmers, local produce, cottage food businesses, markets and the many restaurants that pay homage (and introduce the world) to sustainable and local products.

  4. It is strange that no one mentioned the displaced workers of that chicken wings place. How would you react if your boss calling you not to show up because the place is closed suddenly? And now all new noises for a new place . That was the same song prior to chicken wings spot.

  5. I am very excited to hear about the upcoming restaurant! I have heard so many fantastic reviews of Cyrus that I look forward to Douglas Keanes new venture in Alexander Valley! I am also very grateful for his love of dogs. We are lucky to have him here in Sonoma County.

  6. I think there needs to be a trade-off. I think opening Cyrus 2 is a great idea, but after that’s up and running we get a chicken wings/ramen joint in Windsor (to balance Doug’s new north Healdsburg influence and because we host Green Dog and because we can use a good new place). I’m good for 12 meals a month myself.

  7. Bogus. To make the statement (sic)”It is a dream to keep Cyrus in Sonoma County”, makes it sound like we are SO lucky to have him, and so many others are chomping at the bit to get the restaurant. Please. Take your big dream to TOWN. PIck one. The fact that you are friends with Barbara Banke makes the rest of us concerned as to the legitimacy of the venture. Like JFW needs a restaurant close to home? Use your home chef. Several years ago, Ralph Tingle assumed he could open a restaurant at the entrance to Dry Creek, in the old deli/bar spot, which is now The Gardener. He was shut down. This corner on 128 is not a place for a “French Laundry” wanna be. I live in Healdsburg. I do not live in Napa. This place is out of control, and I want to take back what we were raised to hold dear. When is enough, enough. Whether for your ego, or for your wealth? And, I do respect both, when used properly. NO ELITE (or any other) restaurant in Alexander Valley.

  8. Would advise neighbors and members of AVW to think long and hard about opening this can of worms…might be a good chef but both partners have a long history of litigation and not just with the old Cyrus location in Healdsburg. Doug is a nice guy until he doesn’t get his way. Nick Peyton has burned many bridges in the industry. He’s nice and yes, even charming but then again the same has been said of the lowly serpent. I’m not for or against a restaurant in this part of the valley. Depending on the people it could be very good for all of us who live here…it could also be a nightmare. i advise you to look beyond the hype and consider the previous business dealings that both have participated in. You will see that they don’t have a very good history of playing nice with others.

    1. Sonoma County is a very, very small place when it comes to the hospitality biz. I have definitely learned that the hard way. I hope that folks will weigh the facts and not jump to conclusions. Doug is a huge asset to Sonoma County as a chef. It would be sad to lose him.

  9. Can’t wait for Chef Keane to open this ‘new Cyrus’.
    He is an amazing Chef and a wonderful man.
    We are very privileged to have him in Sonoma County.
    This new location of Alexander Valley is one of the best spots in our ‘Wine Country’
    Congratulations and Cheers Chef Keane and your Business Partner Nick Peyton.
    Thank you Jackson Family Wines for providing this beautiful location for our ‘favorite guy’

    1. Nick Peyton is, without a doubt, one of the nicest people I have ever met. I was kind of intimidated by him at first, but he’s ridiculously unpretentious. The fact that Doug has partnered with him for years speaks volumes.

  10. Do you mean the “fellows flying in” that support all the business in Sonoma County? It sounds like you are not a fan of Douglas Keanes. Why would you go to his restaurant 30 times?

      1. Really? THAT is your response? Elitist much? You and your 1%ers can have at it. Plus it’s really smart for a “blogger” to insult her public. Done with your column once and for all.

  11. As far as I’m conserned Keane has gotten what he’s had coming with his failures , this is what the ego WILL DO to you
    when you let it run your life .

    1. You don’t even know Doug, or Nick so how can you comment as such.. Doug is one of the most down-to-earth people you will ever meet, particularly given all of his success and notoriety. He almost died of a brain tumor not too long along and not many people know this but his father succumbed to that illness. He’s a Mid-Western kid who has made name for himself through hard work and raw talent. We need more people Doug Keane’s around here, not less.

  12. Can’t wait. I miss Cyrus. Had dinner there 3 times and each time it was incredible. Also had Doug’s great cuisine at a VISA dinner at Silver Oak 4 years ago. This new location, out in the vineyards should be something special.

  13. It is kind of hard to move the historic Blacksmith shop. Both of them have burned down …. and historically the original one was on the north side of Hwy 128 – located where Hawkes tasting room is now.

      1. I can testify the dog butt was nowhere near the kitchen when open and just a very catchy journalist’s set-up to show Keane’s love for food AND dogs. Every kitchen should be as clean as Chef Doug’s. (And I’m psyched to hear about potential Alexander Valley locale.)

  14. Whatever did happen to Doug’s chicken wings at the casino?? It closed down soooo quickly, we were surprised. No word, just bang, the place was gone. Anybody know anything about this??

    1. The Casino is a hard place to run a restaurant , or a Wing Kiosk . His food is over priced . Avg guest check for four $1,000.

          1. He got what he deserved! This restaurant is not for Sonoma County , But rather all the Fellows flying in .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in BiteClub
Gaijin, Part 2

I mentioned the new ramen pop-up, Ramen Gaijin, recently but hadn’t actually experienced it first-hand yet. However..last Monday, I got...