No matter how fickle a mistress restaurant ownership can be, Sonoma County restaurateur Nino Rabbaa just can’t stay away. After closing two high-profile Santa Rosa eateries (Rendez Vous Bistro and Flipside Steakhouse) and selling a third (Flipside Burgers & Wings) in the last few years, he’s returning to the food biz with a two ambitious plans.
In February, Rabbaa plans to open Kitchen 707 in the former steakhouse location (138 Calistoga Rd, Santa Rosa). The restaurant, which he describes as “cuisine without borders” will be focused on a mashup of Armenian, Lebanese, French and California dishes — many of which come from his life experiences and heritage.
“It’s a marriage of all the food I liked growing up, said Rabbaa, whose mother is Lebanese and father is Armenian. “It’s what I like and what I represent,” said the former Parisian, who has made Sonoma County his home for more than a decade.
The Rincon Valley restaurant, he said, will be very focused on families and may even include a return of karaoke — a popular weekend attraction when the location was Rita’s Lounge.
Additionally, Rabbaa said he has plans to reopen the former Rendez Vous location on Fourth Street as, “Papa Nino’s”, after some renovations to the space. His goal is to have a seafood-focused restaurant with a beer garden and craft beers. No word yet on that opening.
Rabbaa told the Press Democrat in November 2015 he was getting out of the restaurant business after plans fell through for a proposed Rohnert Park brewery project and his New York investment partners put the brakes on further funding. Rabbaa said he is now without financial partnership and is, “doing it on my own”.
“I did not lose my appetite for opening new eateries,” said Rabbaa on his Facebook page in January.
More details as the opening of Kitchen 707 gets closer.
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