GG’s Earth and Surf: Down, but maybe not out

So I’ve finally gotten the scoop on the shuttered Third St. restaurant directly from Suzan Fleissner, and at this point she’s just not ready to throw in the towel on her dream. Long story short, the location wasn’t working out for her, financial issues arose and ultimately, Fleissner vacated. Currently she’s seeking out a new location to re-open the restaurant, but when and where are still very much up in the air. Here’s the long and short of it from her:

“For a variety of business reasons 3rd St. just wasn’t the fit, as they say location, location, location…so I am on the look out.  It’s certainly not easy, but there is some genuine support for this restaurant and people get it.  The green light is on sustainability, I tell myself “don’t give up”.  When I was reviewed on the 4th day of being open I thought, hmmm, I followed the 3 rules for what make a great restaurant according to that reviewer, simple food done right, a pleasant atmosphere and great service.  We did it!  And we will again.  GG’s is looking for that ideal location.”

UPDATE: I heard from Dino D’Argenzio last Friday evening, whose family trust owns the property. Dino wrote me a long note outlining his thoughts about why the location didn’t work out for Suzan, saying it was more about business practices than the space itself. “There is inaccurate information being thrown around and it is time for a reality check about Susan F, and this property…the location is very good for all kinds of business as is proven by all of the long term established business in that area of downtown.”

At this point in the story it seems like a moot point to continue the debate just for an ongoing “he said, she said.” Suzan feels slighted. Dino feels slighted. There are bad feelings on both sides. You work out the math.

In the end, though, it’s just an all-around shame. Best of luck to both sides. I’ll keep you posted.




21 thoughts on “GG’s Earth and Surf: Down, but maybe not out

  1. I at GG’s before it closed and the food and the entire expierence was mindblowing and memorable not to mention the service! I was so sad when it closed and have yet to find anything comprable even though I live in the fab food mecca. If you can find a space, the place to be is Healdsburg! Restraunts thrive here and I would eat there every week and send people everyday!! Hope to see GG’s soon!

  2. I was lucky enough to have one meal at GG’s before it closed, and I was shocked and saddened when it closed. There aren’t many options downtown for fresh, local and vegetarian food. I think the location was great…Sure doesn’t seem to be tough for 3rd St. Aleworks… I just hope they come back soon!!! I would eat there everyday if I could.

  3. When a restaurant, or other businesses close, it’s best not to read the sign on the window. Instead, read between the lines.
    It’s either poor management, or an unreasonable landlord. During my one visit to the restaurant, the place was packed, the food was very good, and all the other diners and employees seemed to enjoy themselves. Therefore, I would guess that the problem was with the landlord–perhaps he/she wouldn’t pay for necessary repairs, etc. I’ve heard that the landlord of this location also owns many other downtown properties, and he/she is difficult to work with.

  4. Dino,
    You have revealed yourself as the disfunctional one in this scenario. No landlord should take the comments section of an innocuous article as his platform for disparaging a former tenant – deserving or not.
    Let your crass shouting be the warning that any future tenants need to stay away from you and all your business properties.
    You just sound pathetic.

  5. I had been to GG’s three times and each time it was pretty crowded and just great food. I liked the location… there was parking! I hope they reopen soon and in SR.

  6. I was shocked to pass GG’s and see it gone. The restaurant was always packed. It was my new go-to recommendation for out of town visitors looking for good food downtown.
    Business is a rollercoaster to be sure, I hope they will be back !

  7. It’s a shame people don’t grasp the big picture when they open a place. It’s a great idea… it’s a great location… that does NOT mean it’s a great idea for that location. I speak from the experience of a couple decades literally living in kitchens, they would have done far better in a lower traffic area with a higher concentration of specialty diners. It’s like putting Zazu anywhere but out there on the edge of town, it wouldn’t work as well.

  8. Suzan’s comments are as disfuntional as here business practices.Its really to bad -because I liked the food and the place was very busy-so-its obviously the location is not the problem.
    THE REASON SHE IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS DOWNTOWN IS BECAUSE SHE DID NOT PAY THE RENT!! Lets see if Heather is willing to print the truth and full info I sent to her.?

  9. The problem with that location and so many other downtown locations is the diligence of the City of Santa Rosa to ticket anyone and everyone who dare to “SHOP, EAT or PLAY” downtown. Slogans aren’t going to help as long as they aren’t backed up by actions. As long as the City refuses to support it’s local businesses, by supplying free parking, (i.e., Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg)no one gets out alive. The City of Santa Rosa has done it’s best to ensure that local business remains unsupported, driving folks to big business in the malls and big box shopping centers with free parking. If Santa Rosa officials refuse to look outside the box and EVOLVE, you can count on downtown becoming a ghost town.

  10. Dr. Dad is known on the other PD blogs/news comments for trying to make people upset! Just igonre him and all he has to say. He just has nothing better to do then put everyone and everything down. He needs a life!!
    By the way I have made comments about GG’s and I don’t know the owners or anyone that works there or anything. Just a person that has eatting there that is it. 🙂

  11. Dr. Dad….it doesn’t seem like that to me. Did you actually read the above comments? Whether or not a lot of people went to GG’s, a lot of people read Bite Club, enjoy paying attention to the sonoma county “food scene” (even if they don’t go out to eat a lot) and a few of them like to make comments. I don’t think it is “pathetically obvious” at all. It annoys me when people make comments like that as if they *really* know the truth. How could you know?

  12. The truth is that these comments are always loaded with posts by the owners of the establishments being discussed. It’s pathetically obvious that these aren’t just public comments. These are the owners of GG’s trying to make us think there are a lot of people talking about GG’s. Truth is that no one really gives a crap. That’s why it’s closed…

  13. Whoops. I meant to say “all the times we passed it.” The “went” was left over from a different sentence I aborted.

  14. Like another poster above, I also don’t understand what is so bad about the location. I personally love that location. I love the floor-to-ceiling windows in front, as I always have since it was Swensen’s; it is right next to a cinema (even if it’s the one showing older or less popular films); it’s right next to the Aleworks; it’s right next to two parking garages; and it’s a very short, pleasant walk from Old Courthouse Sq or 4th St.
    I also found that GG’s seemed to be pretty busy when we went there and all the times we went passed it.

  15. I went to GG’s once and thoroughly enjoyed it. I second the notion that if she opens up again, it be in an easy-to-reach location within walking or easy cycling distance of neighborhoods. I wish there was space for another restaurant over by Pacific Market in the Proctor/Terrace area. Carmens is great but no breakfast or brunch and light on the veggie choices unless you want salad or a garden burger….

  16. My friends and I walked by that place a dozen times on our way to the numerous other excellent restaurants in the area. Maybe the issue is that people like their steak and chicken too and as such a fish & veggie only eatery might not be a “sustainable” business model.

  17. What location can be better? We loved that we could do other things (have a beer at the brewery, browse at the bookstores, go to the bank…) and then stop in for dinner. Seems like part of sustainability- we didn’t have to drive just to go to dinner. We saw many people wander by, read the menu, and then try it out. Hard to find a better location (although that spot does seem cursed).
    I hope they do re-open as the food was great, but I also hope it is not in an out-of-the-way location that will require us to specifically drive to it…

  18. We should all chip in a few grand each if Fleissner will sell shares, and help her open up real soon. Trouble is, Sonoma Cy rolls up the sidewalks at 8PM! She’d be better off in Marin…or even SF! It’s hard to believe her location – next to a theater, across the street from almost-free parking – did not work out, in the middle of the County seat! If not there…….where??? Or is it just the crappy economy that’s keeping us from eating out more often?

  19. It’s so sad when a really good place like this, with high ideals and the right idea, can be shot down so suddenly and completely. Here’s hoping Fleissner does keep the dream alive and is able to raise the capital to make it come true again, in a good place, and a little wiser for the experience. I don’t need another place to get a great mojito, but I do need a place to get healthy and sustainable food.

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