Shocker! Healdsburg’s SHED Will Close Dec. 31

The ambitious modern grange that was a snapshot of Sonoma County will shutter

Healdsburg’s iconic SHED Modern Grange will close its doors for good on December 31, 2018. Citing a difficult business year after the 2017 fires, owners Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel told its 100-person staff Monday that the 10,000 square foot cafe, fermentation bar, retail and events space would become an online-only retail shop.

Cindy and Doug at SHED. Photo: Caitlyn-McCaffrey

“We have made the very difficult decision to close the Healdsburg brick-and-mortar version of SHED,” Lipton said. “We have tried to be nimble and responsive to the challenges of running our business, but SHED is a very ambitious and complex business. We have had many successes over the past five and a half years, and in that time have built a brand with national recognition, but we cannot sustain the store any longer,” said owners.

The couple, according to publicist Laiko Bahrs, made the choice to close within the last two weeks. It has, according to Healdsburg restaurateur Dustin Valette, taken the community somewhat by surprise after locals watched the intense building process and passion the couple had for SHED.

SHED store. Photo: Eric-Wolfinger

“The surprise closure of SHED is heart-wrenching because not only was it a gem to our community but also because Doug and Cindy have such a great vision. Since their conception of SHED it has been a destination for gourmands both near and far alike.  I’ve watched as the building and their dreams took shape and it has been constantly refined by the likes of Perry Hoffman.  I love what they have done for our local food scene and how much they have helped local farmers,” said Valette.

Daniel and Lipton, who self-funded the project and own the building, do not have a new tenant lined up for the space, which was constructed from pre-fab parts, but hope to find a new owner who will understand the “community that’s gathered here and how to carry forward the spirit of SHED,” said Lipton.

Chef Perry Hoffman making final touches to dishes before they head out to the dining area during a Saturday brunch at SHED in Healdsburg. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Former SHED executive chef Perry Hoffman, who received critical praise for his farm-inspired menu, left the organization to travel with his family in August. Bahrs said Hoffman’s departure was not a factor in the closure. Chef de cuisine Bryan Oliver has been running the food program since August. Since 2013, the café has earned numerous accolades, including the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Restaurant Design; placement on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 list for three consecutive years along with a three-star rating review; a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand designation for 2017, 2018 and 2019; placement in Eater’s “California Essential 38 Restaurants in 2018;” and four Good Food Awards for products in 2018, and nominations for four products in 2019. It was also a BiteClub favorite.

“SHED is such an important part of the Healdsburg community and we have always been so inspired by Cindy and Doug’s vision. We are sad about the news,” said Kyle Connaughton of Healdsburg’s Single Thread restaurant.

Connaughton recently co-hosted a dinner with Michelin-starred New York Chef Dan Barber in a farm-to-table dinner at SHED. Over the years, dozens of top influencers in the food, farming, and sustainability fields were hosted at the upstairs grange room.

“Programming our educational and cultural events has been one of my greatest joys.” says Daniel. “Our community of farmers, teachers, authors, chefs, artists, and neighbors is unique and incredibly special. We’ve explored and learned so much together.”

Coffee bar at SHED. Photo: Eric-Wolfinger

When it opened in 2013, SHED was lauded for its eco-friendly design and modern steel and glass construction. Lipton, who founded Lipton Environmental Group and has a doctorate in environmental chemistry moved to Healdsburg more than 20 years ago with their sons to start a 15-acre biodynamic farm in Dry Creek with Daniel. The farm, which they named Home Farm, was a significant source of produce for SHED along with Bernier Farms and other small local producers located within 10 miles of the space.

“We remain committed to our mission to support good farming, good cooking, and good eating and plan to continue our website, selling products and sharing educational content. Beyond that, we will take some time in the new year to reimagine our dreams and ambitions beyond Healdsburg SHED,” said Daniel.

The space will remain open until 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and a number of events and activities remain on the books, including a wreath-making class. The web store will include SHED’s proprietary Pantry line.

SHED salad. Photo: Courtesy.

“We opened the SHED in 2013 to share the idea that health and happiness are grounded in the soil. That good farming, good cooking, and good eating are important to who we are as a people. SHED allowed us to be part of something bigger than ourselves that the whole community could share,” said Lipton.

Healdsburg SHED, 25 North St Healdsburg, CA 95448. Open daily, 8 am -6 pm, until December 31st, 2018,


64 thoughts on “Shocker! Healdsburg’s SHED Will Close Dec. 31

  1. You felt so ripped off buying anything in there. Everything was way overpriced keeping a gigantic part of the local potential customer base away – especially the only people who’d want their produce. I’d reach for some cheese and hear my conscience say – don’t support this ripoff – buy it somewhere else!

  2. Nicely designed building from a “kit of parts” modern standpoint using a prefab Metal Bldg. – I could see where acoustics might be an issue as well as control of daylight.

  3. I spent 7 yrs as a bartender/server in Napa Valley at some high end places. (Mustards, Auberge, Meadowood, etc) During those years many nights off were spent eating at other local high end places with my coworkers. It was our hobby. I went to Shed several times. The only reason I went there more than once was to join others who asked me to join them. I found the ambience confusing. It seemed like a meld between a shopping center, a hardware store, grocery store, and an upscale fast food place. I would describe my best meal as mediocre and the service as pedestrian, with acoustics best described as annoying. The price made me feel I had been used. Yes it is unique, but I don’t mean that in a positive way.

    1. Yes. And there was literally nothing to actually buy in it. Although the few things in it “to buy” were presented nicely.

  4. Anyone find it a little unfortunate that the owners gave their employees less than a month’s notice to find a new job or relocate? You’d think they could have told them a little earlier, I’m sure they knew well before December 1 that their business was closing.

  5. It’s unfortunate that a retail spot with such vision, such visual delight and phenomenal product and food can’t make it. Sure, it’s not cheap, but when the food isn’t doused in Roundup and grown in China, it tends to cost a bit more- and taste FANTASTIC. I wish all the employees who don’t remain with the on-line iteration well and with hope it will resurface. For the people who “didn’t get it” too bad. Average is everywhere, exceptional is rare. Thanks Shed for changing the game.

    1. Beg to differ on the taste of the food there. It was average, at best. Piner Cafe is actually better tasting.

  6. As a local business ourselves, we understand the challenges these fires have had on our community. The SHED was an International destination bringing people from all over the world, not just locals. A beautiful and tasteful “town square” where people could enjoy themselves. This is a HUGE loss for our community and they will be dearly missed. We hope for a resurrection and send good thoughts to the entire SHED family.

    1. Sorry. No it wasn’t. Hardly anyone went there. There were always more employees in there than customers.

  7. Sad to hear this, and even sadder to read to comments below. For those that don’t get the chance, this is where you go when
    you care about what you eat, who grew it, and love ingenuity on your plate. Truly the best food in Sonoma, Marin and Napa.

    1. Here’s a news flash for all of you non GMO, glutton free, biodynamic, holistic, colonelcy cleansed, farm to table, Paleo, food snobs who make us feel negligent if we don’t live exclusively on root clusters during each total harmonic convergence. You’re not gonna’ live forever.

      1. So I think it was great and you don’t. Food is subjective and so is freedom of choice. Welcome to America.

        1. You actually don’t believe in freedom of choice. Lefties like you believe in censorship & no freedoms.

    1. Welcome to the closed minded world of someone who just doesn’t get it, but yet speaks as if he does.

      1. There are certainly more building designs that are more edible. For what it was about, why not be built from recycled natural bio materials? Like, lets say, wood. Shed? Looks more like an industrial warehouse.

  8. Not a surprise. A friend and I meet monthly in Healdsburg for dinner. We spend some money. We tried SHED just once, a year or so after they opened. The portions of the ridiculously over-hyped food selections were so pitiful that our server was embarrassed and apologetic as she placed things on our table. In particular was an $18 ‘cheese sampler’ that contained exactly five pieces of cheese the size of my fingernail, plus a half a fig and a drizzle of honey. Our response when she delivered this was an incredulous “are you serious?” We wanted to give SHED the benefit of the doubt and tried many items on the menu. About $200 later (dinner for two), we left, hungry, and went and got a burrito. Years later, SHED is a running joke during our monthly Healdsburg dinner — and we’ve never gone back.

    1. kombucha is fermented tea, mixed with herbs and fruit, kefir is fermented dairy with many health benefits and shrubs are vinegar based fruit drinks originally used in mixed drinks. You sound like you are really into food, Pothole…but you wouldn’t be Shed’s target customer, you belong to El pollo loco

      1. “…you belong to El pollo loco” Your right, not a Shed’s target customer, nor any of these overpriced kumbaya restaurants.

      2. How snobbish. Many GREAT chefs (not you obviously) also love places like El Pollo Loco. BTW, I am “Shed’s target customer” but I am not a snob about food, Chef Ivan. I have no idea where you work, but I guarantee if you have this attitude, you won’t last long in your restaurant as you need to serve actually “good tasting food”. The Shed had all the great publicity & still went under. There’s a reason for this and it wasn’t the “fires” although conveniently all the places going out are blaming “the fires”, which is pure bollox.

  9. I don’t think the fires were the reason they did not do well enough. Maybe they should have been a little less biodynamic, concerned with the climate global warming change hoax and pretentious. How about some value for your customers? That always seems to keep them coming back.

    1. Glad to know you are not concerned with climate change. You’re a real boon to civilization.

      1. The industrial revolution certainly got to those dinosaur’s, but yet they gave us fuel.

      2. We actually DGAF about the hoax called “climate change” since all the data cited has been found to be lies.

        1. I can’t find any data saying climate change isn’t real. Where are you looking? Sean Hannity’s twiiter feed?

          1. Also chocolate, bananas & now coffee are supposedly all disappearing as we speak because of it. And yet….you can get it all the time.

  10. “Healdsburg’s iconic SHED Modern Grange will close its doors for good on December 31, 2018.”
    I’ve never been there. Actually, I’ve never even head of it. So I’m just wondering – what does it take to achieve “iconic” status?

    1. Try that Italian place in Santa Rosa. Seriously the best sandiwches, Lazzinis, or Canevaris. I love Lazzinis!

    1. Yes…meeting space to fill hotel rooms Mondays through Thursdays…needed in ALL Sonoma County cities!

  11. This was a unique and wonderful place. I bit overpriced, I paid $9.00 for a large loaf of bread there once, but it had a really superb Italian style deli with some wonderful items.

  12. What they couldn’t find enough people to buy the 2 person $100 picnic baskets or $25 roast beef sandwich?

    1. California’s economy at it finest, people eating beyond their means, I predict $100k homes in the near future…

    2. I have lived in Healdsburg and wasn’t aware of it’s existence, until now.
      Doug isn’t hurting – notice the last name……

          1. I highly doubt he has anything to do with the company Unilever since they are a English-Dutch company. The last name is just a coincidence

  13. Darn. Always hate to see entrepreneurs fail. People who take business risks make the world go round. Good luck to these people.

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