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Stormy’s Spirits and Supper, 1854, Petaluma: Established as a roadhouse, Stormy’s has hosted generations of West County diners. The restaurant turned into a steakhouse in the early 1970s, and remains a family-style dining destination in Bloomfield. 6650 Bloomfield Road, Petaluma, 795-0127, stormysrestaurant.com. (Alvin Jornada)
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The building that now houses Stormy's has been a Bloomfield hotel/restaurant since 1857. (Courtesy of Gina Cloud)
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Carolyn Cramer, left, pours drinks while talking with longtime customers Kathy and Jon Little, at Stormy's Spirits and Supper in October 2016. (Alvin Jornada)
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Washoe House, 1859, Petaluma: A former stagecoach stop connecting Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Bodega, this historic roadhouse is best known for two things: Dollar bills pinned to the bar ceiling and The Battle of the Washoe House. According to legend, following the 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a group of Petaluma militia were intent on creating trouble for Southern-leaning Santa Rosans. Their thirst got the best of them, and the group ended up getting drunk instead of rabble-rousing. The Washoe House was sold in 2015 to Petaluma Creamery owner Larry Peter. 2840 Stony Point, Petaluma, 795-4544. (Chris Hardy)
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Personalized dollar bills hang from the ceiling at Washoe House in Petaluma. (Beth Schlanker)
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Volpi’s Grocery, 1925, Petaluma: Though it has operated as a grocery for most of its existence, Volpi’s major claim to fame was as a speakeasy in the 1920s. Locals know that the “secret” bar is still in operation, with a convenient escape door to the alley in case of a raid. Or your ex-wife. The grocery became a restaurant in 1992, though there’s still an old Italian grocery vibe with well-worn wooden floors and walls lined with Italian tchotchkes, accordions, and candle wax-covered chianti bottles. 124 Washington St., Petaluma, 762-2371. (Kent Porter)
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Brother and sister John and Sylvia Volpi grew up in an accordion-playing family and used to play Friday and Saturday nights and for special occasions at Volpi's Ristorante and Bar in Petaluma. Sylvia passed away in 2017.
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Pinky's Pizza, 1962, Petaluma: A hometown classic pizza joint loved by generations of Petalumans. 321 Petaluma Blvd. South, Petaluma, 707-763-2510, pinkyspizzaparlor.com.
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Union Hotel, 1891, Occidental: Though there are several newer locations of this classic restaurant, the Occidental restaurant has been around for more than 125 years. What began as the Union Saloon and General Store grew into a family business, with four generations managing the restaurant over the years. The bakery and cafe is packed on the weekends, and rightly so, with some of the best pastries around. 3731 Main St., Occidental, 874-3555, unionhoteloccidental.com. (Christopher Chung)
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The Union Hotel in Occidental has been serving up family style Italian dinners since 1876. In this photo, hotel staff on the porch in 1918. (Sonoma Heritage Collection, Sonoma County Library)
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Union Hotel Cafe barista Melanie Diaz talks with customer Brian Laird as he gets coffee in Occidental. A signed photograph of Christo's "Running Fence" is displayed at the restaurant, which the artist frequented while constructing his 1976 installation art piece. (Beth Schlanker)
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Catelli’s, 1936, Geyserville: Italian immigrants Santi and Virginia Catelli opened Catelli’s “The Rex” in tiny Geyserville as an unpretentious family eatery featuring spaghetti, minestrone and ravioli. The family closed the restaurant in 1986, but it was reopened in Healdsburg, where it stood until 2004. In 2010, siblings Domenica and Nick Catelli (pictured) reopened the restaurant at the original Geyserville location, where its been host to a number of celebrities, but remains an approachable family-style restaurant. Their paper-thin layers of lasagna noodles makes Catelli’s version one of the best in the region. 21047 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 857-7142, mycatellis.com.
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Dinner in the dinning room at Catelli's The Rex restaurant in Geyserville in 1997. At the front right table are left to right Ken Hampton of Windsor, Bill Coleman of Winsdor, and Mike Mazzoni of Healdsburg.
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Catelli's paper-thin layers of lasagna noodles makes the restaurant's version of the dish one of the best in the region. (Jeff Kan Lee)
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Dinucci's Italian Dinners, 1939, Valley Ford: Though the building dates to 1908, serving train travelers, the current restaurant didn’t open until 1939. Run by Henry and Mabel Dinucci, the restaurant was a welcome stop for hearty family-style Italian dinners. The restaurant was sold to the Wagner family in 1968, but some of Mabel's recipes have stood the test of time, and are still in use today. The historic interior hasn’t changed much, with red and white checkered tablecloths right out of the 1940s. 14485 Hwy. 1, Valley Ford, 876-3260, dinuccisrestaurant.com. (Alvin Jornada)
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Restaurant owners Ricky Garcia, left, Jeanne Garcia and their daughter Geena Garcia at Dinucci's Italian Dinners in Valley Ford, California. (Alvin Jornada)
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A photo of Jeanne Garcia's mother Betty Wagner, who originally owned the restaurant with her husband, hangs above the dining room at Dinucci's Italian Dinners in Valley Ford, California. (Alvin Jornada)
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Negri’s, 1942, Occidental: This family-owned Italian restaurant started as a stopover for train travelers going from San Francisco to Eureka. The restaurant lore is that the original owner, Joe Negri Sr., an Italian immigrant, was once the personal chef of movie legend Rudolph Valentino. After moving to Santa Rosa, he opened Negri’s, which has continued to serve up traditional Italian pasta dinners, many using original recipes from the 1930s, ever since. 3700 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental, 707-823-5301, negrisrestaurant.com.
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Negri's has been an Occidental mainstay, serving family-style Italian dinners for over half a century. (Courtesy of the Sonoma Heritage Collection- Sonoma County Library)
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Owner Evelyn Negri, right, has spent more than 65 years serving good food and chatting up customers at Negri's Italian Dinners and Joe's Bar in Occidental. (John Burgess)
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Swiss Hotel, 1892, Sonoma: The history of Sonoma is written on the walls of this historic inn, restaurant and bar. An Italian-focused menu reflects the generations oof family ownership. 18 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-2884, swisshotelsonoma.com. (Crista Jeremiason)
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Rigatoni Bolognese at The Swiss Hotel in Sonoma. (Crista Jeremiason)
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Depot Hotel, 1985, Sonoma: Though it's a bit of a sleeper, the off-square restaurant is located inside a historic 19th-century hotel, and features a hidden pool on the outdoor patio. Owner Michael Ghilarducci and his wife founded a cooking school in1987, and now their son, Antonio is the executive chef. 241 First St. West, Sonoma, 938-2980, depotsonoma.com.
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La Casa, 1967, Sonoma: With simple, traditional Mexican food just off the Sonoma Square, La Casa has seen the transformation of this sleepy rural town into the tourist destination it is today. The restaurant was purchased in 2015 by the Sherpa Brothers Group, Nepalese restaurateurs who’ve reinvigorated several of the town’s restaurant spaces. If you go, don’t miss the margaritas. 121 East Spain St., Sonoma, 996-3406, lacasarestaurant.com. (Tom Ipri)
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Mary's Pizza Shack, 1959, Various Locations: Though the original Boyes Springs location is gone, Mary Fazio opened her first pizzeria with her family's recipes and her own pots and pans from home. The chain has grown exponentially throughout the Bay Area with 17 locations now in business. maryspizzashack.com. (John Burgess)
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Mary Fazio opened her first Mary's Pizza Shack in Boyes Hot Springs in 1959. Fazio died in 1999 but her restaurant chain remains family owned.
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Mac's Deli, 1952, Santa Rosa: Billing itself as the oldest continuing breakfast and sandwich cafe in Sonoma County, it was originally opened by Mac Nesmon as a New York-style deli. The Soltani family bought the place in 1970 and have been running it since. The Rueben sandwich is a can't miss. 630 4th St, Santa Rosa, 707-545-3785, macsdeliandcafe.com. (John Burgess)
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A cup of Joe with a club sandwich from Mac's Deli in downtown Santa Rosa. (John Burgess)
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(Temporarily closed) The Villa, 1976, Santa Rosa: Great views and a popular bar have made this Italian restaurant a destination for generations. The fare is right out of the 1950s, with dishes like Beef Stroganoff, Sole Dore, Veal Picatta and Scaloppine, Shrimp Louie and spaghetti and meatballs, but newer additions like pizza and risotto are also popular. You’ll find plenty of early bird diners (dinner starts at 3pm), along with a newer generation at Happy Hour, enjoying the hilltop gathering place. 3901 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa, 528-7755, thevillarestaurant.com.
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Don Taylor’s Omelette Express, 1978, Santa Rosa: You’ll find owner Don Taylor at the door of the original Santa Rosa location most weekends, welcoming generations of families who’ve made breakfast at Omelette Express a tradition. Omelettes are, of course, a best bet, but there’s plenty more on the lengthy menu, including Benedicts, burgers, sandwiches, salads and some of the best coffee in town. 112 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 525-1690; 150 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 838-6920, omeletteexpress.com
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La Gare, opened 1979, Santa Rosa: Roger Praplan relishes the fact that he’s serving the grandchildren of some of La Gare’s early customers. Praplan’s parents were early entrepreneurs in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, purchasing their lot for $25,000 in 1977. Though dining trends have come and gone during the restaurant’s 30-plus years, Praplan stays laser-focused on the traditional French cuisine that’s made the restaurant a popular birthday, anniversary and holiday restaurant for decades. “People always want to reinvent. Just readjust, and stick to your vision,” said Praplan. 208 Wilson St., Santa Rosa, 707-528-4255, lagarerestaurant.com.
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La Gare in 2002.
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John Ash & Co, opened 1980, Santa Rosa: It’s impossible to talk about Sonoma’s longstanding food scene without paying homage to its patriarch, John Ash. What began as an idea became a revolution — using nearby produce, meats and cheeses to create wholesome, ethical, lush food and pairing it with great local wines. Though it seems almost quaint now, Ash was an early pioneer at his Montgomery Village restaurant. Though Ash is no longer in the kitchen of his eponymous restaurant, some of the top chefs and winemakers (Jeffrey Madura, Dan Kosta, Michael Browne) are alums of the historic eatery. Now headed by Chef Tom Schmidt, the restaurant still holds close its original vision. 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 707-527-7687, vintnersinn.com/dining/john-ash-co.
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Bill and Cindy Price of San Jose enjoy lunch on the patio at John Ash & Co. restaurant at River Rd and hwy 101 north of Santa Rosa in 1998. (Scott Manchester)
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Wine country cuisine at John Ash & Co in Santa Rosa. (Courtesy photo)
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Cattlemens, founded in 1968, Santa Rosa and Petaluma: This family-friendly steakhouse was started by ranchers, and quickly became a go-to for giant slabs of beef, beans and the Cowpie Brownie Sundae. Locations in Santa Rosa's Montgomery Village and Petaluma, cattlemens.com.
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Betty's Fish and Chips, 1967, Santa Rosa: English-style fish and chips served up with the world's best lemon pie have been Santa Rosa favorites for more than 50 years. The restaurant got a facelift in 1996 and has continued on the tradition. 4046 Sonoma Hwy., Santa Rosa, 707-539-0899, bettysfishandchips.com. (Jeff Kan Lee)
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(Temporarily closed) Restaurant at Madrona Manor, opened 1981, Healdsburg: As Healdsburg has grown up, so has this once-unassuming restaurant inside this Victorian bed and breakfast. In 1999, when Bill and Trudi Konrad purchased the property, they hired Chef Jesse Mallgren. An alum of Gary Danko’s at Chateau Souverain and SF’s legendary Stars, Mallgren grew up in Sonoma County. Though he defines his cuisine as first and foremost local and seasonally-inspired, about 10 years ago Mallgren began pushing boundaries with molecular gastronomy techniques that include using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream. 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 433-4321, madronamanor.com. (Scott Manchester)
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Former Chef de cuisine Todd Muir (right) leans on the shoulder of Chris Mazotti inside one of the Madrona Manor's elegant dining rooms in 1999. (Chad Surmick)
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Vanilla Passion Roulade with raspberry gel, almond streusel, calamansi sorbet and chocolate feather from Madrona Manor in Healdsburg. (John Burgess)
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Pick's Drive In, 1923, Cloverdale: One of the oldest hamburger restaurants in America, this Cloverdale drive-in has been serving up beefy burgers, hot dogs and shakes for nearly a century. The restaurant was acquired by David Alioto. 117 S. Cloverdale Blvd. Cloverdale, 707-894-2962, healdsburger.com. (Beth Schlanker)
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Former owner Claudia Clow reaches for a straw as she waits on customers Mel and Dorothy Witt at Pick's Drive-In in Cloverdale, California on Monday, March 28, 2011. (Beth Schlanker)
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Tide's Wharf, around in different shapes and forms since the 1950s, Bodega Bay: Made popular by the 1960's Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds", this Bodega seafood restaurant has been a destination for more than 50 years. Stellar views of the Bay make it a magical place for a coastal stop. 835 Bay Hwy, Bodega Bay,707-875-3652, innatthetides.com/tides-wharf-restaurant. (Alvin Jornada)
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Hazel Mitchell, on the set of "The Birds" in Bodega Bay in 1962. A waitress at the old Tides restaurant, she served film director Alfred Hitchcock the same meal each day during the filming - a piece of sole, a lettuce leaf and a few string beans. (PD file)
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Ronald, the raven, one of the hundreds of trained birds used by Alfred Hitchcock in his thriller, "The Birds," perches on Tippi Hedren's shoulder, March 21, 1963. (AP Photo)
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Blue Heron, 1977, Duncans Mills: Though the building was originally constructed in the late 1800s, the 1906 earthquake mostly destroyed the town. In 1976, a restoration project brought the town back to life. The Blue Heron has a lengthy menu that includes local seafood, burgers, salad and chowder. 25275 Steelhead Blvd, Duncans Mills, 707- 865-2261, blueheronrestaurant.com.
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Worth the Drive - Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, 1948, Marshall: For almost 70 years, the ramshackle little fish house was a coastal favorite run by a Croatian fishing family. But by the time the restaurant changed hands in 2017, the restaurant was a fading relic from another era. After a two-year remodel by the owners of Hog Island Oyster Co., Tony’s has been reborn into a vibrant, modern seafood house with some of the best food and best views of Tomales Bay. 18863 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, 415-663-1107, tonysseafoodrestaurant.com.
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Clam chowder at Tony’s Seafood in Marshall. (Heather Irwin)
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Worth the Drive - William Tell House, 1877, Tomales: Though the original house burned in the early 20th century, there’s still a historic feeling to what’s been called Marin’s Oldest Bar. The menu was recently expanded to include locally-sourced burgers, steaks, chowder and a seafood tower. 26955 CA-1, Tomales, 707-879-2002, williamtellhouse.com. (John Burgess)
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The William Tell House in Tomales was built in 1877, and burned down in 1906.
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Seafood Chowder with homemade Applewood bacon, Bolinas rock cod, shrimp and Manila clams from the William Tell House in Tomales. (John Burgess)