There’s a whole lot more to Cloverdale than the Hamburger Ranch these days. A burgeoning food scene is rapidly making this small, north county town a destination for adventurous eaters.
While playing hooky (I mean working really hard) last Friday afternoon, BiteClub stopped into the eagerly-anticipated Trading Post Market and Bakery. A project of SF’s Mercer Restaurant Group (AQ, Melange, The Hall), the bakery is more of an industrial cooking space with a small collection of jams and raw honey than what you might think of as a “bakery”. That doesn’t matter much, since you’re really there for the bread — hearty country loaves and baguettes on our visit — from the stone-hearth oven. It’s truly excellent bread, with big air pockets and a crunchy crust that only need a swipe of fresh butter and raw honey to become spectacular. The bakery is the first stage of a larger-scale project at The Trading Post, which will include a full restaurant. Another North Bay project is also in the works for Mercer, Long View Ranch in Mendocino. The 32-acre property will house a chef’s garden, vineyard and heirloom seed library, along with a high-end restaurant, but is still in the investment stage. Trading Post Bakery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1-6p.m., 102 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
We also stopped in at Savvy on First (116 E First St.), an adorable cafe we’ve been meaning to hit up for a couple years. Chef/owner Kristine Bodily has created a charming breakfast/brunch/lunch spot that helped define Cloverdale’s food scene with lots of locally-sourced dishes that span the gamut from a killer 8 oz. burger, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, to a not-so-local but delicious-sounding Maine lobster roll with Old Bay butter, lemon aioli on a brioche bun.
The restaurant’s dinner menus have included everything from roasted bone marrow and beef Bourguignon to togarashi-crusted ahi served Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9p.m.. Sadly, we’d already filled up at Diavola on the way up, so we grabbed a couple cookies from the stocked bakery case and made our way, promising to return soon. Saavy on First offers up breakfast and lunch Wed.-Fri. from 9a.m. to 3p.m. and brunch Saturday and Sunday from 9a.m. to 3p.m.
Another favorite for a coffee boost-up? The always hip Plank Coffee and Tea (227 North Cloverdale Blvd.)
Check out this article from Sonomamag.com for more on Cloverdale’s rise.