Try as she might, Lisa Hemenway just can’t escape from food. Or maybe Sonoma County won’t let her.
“People just expect food from me,” said the long-time restaurateur from inside the shell of her country market and bistro, Fresh.
The space: Affordable, family-friendly “fast” food a la Lisa. The idea is a one-stop-shop for customers to buy pre-cut organic veggies, chicken and pork (with conveniently placed recipes for inspiration) for time-crunched home cooking; a quick dinner of mix-n-match prepared entrees and sides; or grab pre-made salads, breads, pastas or a wood-fired pizza for on-the-spot dining or picnics. Plus a wine bar. “Whether they eat in, buy prepared meals or shop for ingredients and ideas, this venture recognizes the reality of our lives and solves the what-are-we-going-to-eat problem,” said Hemenway.
The Food: Breakfast, lunch, dinner (plus wine). Prepared onsite daily are fresh breads, pastas, wood-fired pizzas, two 30-foot cases with prepared foods (salads to entrees and sides), fresh pastry shells, boxed lunches, soups. Plus: Local dairy, “pantry items” (olive oil, jams, vinegars, teas, coffee), local wines, sushi and oysters, local fruits and veggies, cheese, Flying Goat coffee, organic meats.
The space: The former grocery store is subdivided into several distinct personalities — an espresso and pastry station for morning folks (with access to the outdoor patio); a large pizza oven; massive deli cases to showcase her signature prepared foods (“I hate those ones where the meatloaf is packaged with the carrots and mashed potatoes.”); a wine bar; seafood bars (sushi, oysters); bistro-style seating for 75 and fresh produce cases. Hemenway plans to take advantage of the market’s ample outdoor seating as well. Don’t expect toilet paper or light bulbs, however, in this food-centric market.
The backstory: Now in her late 50’s, Hemenway has been an integral part of the Santa Rosa food scene since her early 20’s, first as the original sous and pastry chef for John Ash & Co, at Polka Dots in Railroad Square, and most memorably at her namesake restaurant, Lisa Hemenway’s, and gourmet takeaway, Tote Cuisine, in Montgomery Village.
Time marches on, however, and it’s been nearly a decade since Hemenway got out of the kitchen and into real estate and restaurant consulting. Rumors of her return surfaced every few years (she actually was working on a concept in Railroad Square than never quite panned out). But with the support of several local investors and backers, she’s back in the game.
This go-round, however, she’s focused on healthy family-focused eating. “It’s easy to make people love something wrapped in bacon,” she said. And of course, the market includes plenty of guilty pleasures, but Hemenway plans to highlight fresh, wholesome fruits and veggies. “If you come in here, I’m already thinking about how I can get more veggies into your kids,” she said. That is, if you can pull them away from the homemade croissants and pastries that have made Hemenway a household name around Sonoma County. Maybe teaching them moderation is a fair compromise.
At least they’re be doing it at Lisa’s place.
Fresh by Lisa Hemenway, 5755 Mountain Hawk Way, Santa Rosa
Fresh by Lisa Hemenway | Santa Rosa
Fresh: Lisa Hemenway's new market focuses on gourmet-on-the-go eating for families
12 thoughts on “Fresh by Lisa Hemenway | Santa Rosa”
I just looked up, you started something new, great for you, off the line…LOL You will have great success as you did for years with your Restaurant, I miss working there, and in Santa Rosa, I was there in 1995…
Looking forward to having a nice place to gather with friends again.
Yum – can’t wait!!!
it’s only a picture but i think i am ga-ga for lisa hemenway! go go lisa lisa, best wishes!!
We need this! Thank you and you will do a great job at it! Can’t wait!
Lookin’ good Lisa!
This reminds me that the “new” Cookie Channel TV is running Julia & Company classics. It shows again that Julia Child was a genuine classic, a veritable gem. It also shows me that Julia Child would never have made it on TV today. She didn’t have the thimble waist and watermelon melons of Giada De or that excruciating abomination Sandra Lee. She didn’t have a honey sweet voice. She couldn’t cook a French omelette with one hand and a pot of chili in the other hand while standing the whole time model perfect with The Joy Of Cooking balanced upon her head. She didn’t have that opiated smirk the whole time like Ellie Krieger. So, no, Julia Child would never have made it on TV in today’s Enlightened Age. Progress, I ask?
I look forward to this out.
The market is adjacent to Sonoma Highway.
Google this address to see it:
5475 Sonoma Highway, Santa Rosa, CA
Fixed the map, thanks to Brandon!
Great news. I always felt your talent was under utilized. I will be visiting. Good luck.
So glad you’re back in the food arena again- we’ve missed your delacacies! Love the outdoor seating plans – really looking forward to visiting your new establishment. I have no doubt it’ll be a great success – Congratulations Lisa…
ALL the map apps I tried are wrong for this address…Maybe that’s why the market didn’t make it! Good luck Lisa!!
I think the Google map is incorrect.
Looking forward to the opening.