Cape Fear Cafe’s Jim Harkey dies

Local restaurant owner remembered

Cape Fear Cafe in Duncans Mills
Cape Fear Cafe in Duncans Mills

BiteClub has learned that Jim Harkey, chef and owner of the Cape Fear Cafe in Duncan’s Mills died Monday, March 11, 2013. The 63-year-old had owned the popular Russian River eatery for more than a decade.

“It’s a great loss. He was way too young,” said restaurant employee Roland Sawyer by phone.

The restaurant remains open with staff members running the business for now.

“We are doing our best to carry on his legacy. It’s everyone’s intention to keep things going,” said Sawyer.

No memorial services have yet been planned.



11 thoughts on “Cape Fear Cafe’s Jim Harkey dies

  1. Such sad news! Cape Fear is a constant late breakfast / early lunch stop of ours when we take a drive out to the coast. Hope things work out for all involved.

  2. Didn’t they have a branch of Cape Fear in Graton at one time? I think his partner ran it, and then he died and they closed it down. Very good comfort food. Good vibes. Sad to hear this news

  3. What a loss and so young…Cape Fear is an outstanding restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I sure hope the restaurant is able to carry on. They keep their staff for a long time, so if anyone can carry it on, it is them. Life without Nik’s Benedict and Jim’s Mahogany sauce…sigh…

  4. I knew Jim and his partner Joel back in the 1990’s when they were the chefs at Northwood Golfcourse. I will always remember him as a very sweet and talented person. RIP JIm

  5. I met Jim and his then partner Joel back in the 80’s. They were quite the culinary duo back then! Jim was my first “CHEF”, chef and he a Joel me quite a bit.
    I can still prepare Jim’s breakfast and lunch menu with one arm tied behind! So simple and wonderful still!
    RIP Jim…. I won’t forget ya!

    1. I remember when Jim and Joel first opened and Jim told me he learned to cook from his North Carolinian mom. Consistently great food in a delightful atmosphere in one of the River’s most picturesque towns. One time a friend visited from Shingle Springs with her pet Blue and Gold rescue McCaw and we had lunch outdoors in the back while the McCaw sat on Cindy’s shoulder. One of my favorite eateries and Jim was always gracious hospitable and so talented.
      Kari – you can do ANYTHING with one hand tied behind your back!

      1. We just discovered it a month or so ago & it is my favorite place to eat. I am originally from NC maybe that is why it made such an impression on me. Very sad news.

  6. Sad! When we owned Huckleberry Springs in Mnte Rio we always sent guest s there. My favorite splurge was a Sunday brunch with his Norfolk Benedict — Virginia ham over grits with his amazing hollandaise sauce. He will be surely missed.

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