A little more than a year after opening, downtown Santa Rosa restaurant County Bench has shuttered. The upscale-casual restaurant from the Chandi Hospitality Group (Bibi’s Burger Bar, Stout Bros., Beer Baron, Mountain Mike’s) never quite found its groove despite hiring two top-notch Sonoma County chefs, Bruce Frieseke (Applewood, Bella Vineyards) and Ben Davies (Petite Syrah, Spoonbar, Mirepoix) to lead the kitchen.
Locally-sourced food and creative takes on Wine Country cuisine, along with a stellar wine library were hallmarks of the restaurant, but a rainy winter spring along with ongoing construction during the reunification of Courthouse Square proved to be too much for several downtown spots. Though County Bench weathered the storm, the departure of both chefs — Frieseke left County Bench earlier this spring, and Davies moved on to Russian River Vineyards’ restaurant in early summer — left the restaurant rudderless.
“It has been a battle to find chef who can bring business and creativity together. We have a lot of connections in Indian chefs so we plan to reopen as Indian Food & Social Club–that has been in the plans for a long time. We anticipate to offer a much more friendly price point and still high quality food and drinks,” said Sonu Chandi of the Chandi Hospitality Group,.
In a note on the restaurant’s door reads “All good things must come to an end. We have decided to close the County Bench Kitchen and Bar for rebranding. We are thankful for all the love and support the community has given us over the last year. We are very excited to bring our new concept to downtown Santa Rosa!”
With so much invested in the renovation of the space, we look forward to seeing a new concept.
Meanwhile, Beer Baron has opened in the former Rendez Vous space on the downtown square.