County Bench Opens in Santa Rosa


Just a quick hit on this brand new downtown Santa Rosa restaurant before I do a deeper dive in the coming weeks, but The County Bench seems to be an out-of-the-gate hit. Michelin-starred chef Bruce Frieseke (Applewood, Bella Vineyards) and Ben Davies (Petite Syrah, Spoonbar, Mirepoix) are flexing their culinary muscles with seemingly simple dishes that are anything but.

Popcorn+corn ($4) is popcorn with freeze dried powdered corn and chili sprinkled on top that’s so addictive you’ll want one to take home. Deviled eggs get upstaged by deviled Brussels sprouts ($4), and sizzling side dish of cauliflower, brown butter and oxtail ($8) stole the show. Desserts are stunners, and the wine list is an ambitious 10-plus pages.

Popcorn + corn at County Bench in Santa Rosa.

Craft cocktails are having a spring resurgence, and their NYC cocktail wrangler knows his way around the bar with insanely complicated sippers like a clarified Milk Punch ($13) with jasmine tea, arrack (a rare spirit from Southeast Asia) and gin along with simpler classic cocktails. We’re stoked to see a restaurant this cosmopolitan on Fourth St. , and hope its a sign of more great things to come.

Milk punch at County Bench in Santa Rosa.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a stuffed shirt spot (though its pretty swank for dinner), and is serving both lunch and brunch on the weekend.

Hours: Lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30a.m. to 2p.m., dinner from 5p.m. daily, Brunch 10a.m. to 2p.m. Saturday and Sunday and happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-6p.m. 535 Fourth St., Santa Rosa.

Photography by Heather Irwin. 

Deviled brussels sprouts at The County Bench in Santa Rosa, CA.
Cauliflower with oxtail.
Dessert of sour creme mousse, chocolate crispies, ganache.

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