Effort to shut down pop-up dinner backfires in Hburg

Tendejon de la Calle back in biz: Seems you can't keep a good pop-up dinner down. So really, why try?

UPDATE: I just heard from Lisbeth Holmefjord, the co-restaurateur of the newly-opened Baci in Healdsburg. The rumor mill has run amok that it was Baci that blew the whistle on Mateo’s Eastside Road spot. Not true, she says. Her contention: She’s one of Mateo’s biggest fans and his move from Eastside Road was more about liability than anyone complaining.
“I was shocked when I read this on the Internet. Mateo and I have been very good friends for twelve years. I’ve helped him with his business plan. Would I be so stupid to accuse him?” says Lisbeth. According to her, she was actually at one of Mateo’s recent dinners on Eastside Road and was surprised to learn of the move. “Mateo’s not competition to me, we’re not even open on Wednesdays. We love to go out on Wednesdays,” she said.

Meanwhile, the dinners continue to sell out. You can’t buy this kind of press.
Karmic Justice? News from the Mateo’s Pop-Up dinner front….
After a Healdsburg restaurateur complained about Mateo Granados’ pop-up dinners  in a barn on Eastside Road several weeks ago, the site was closed down. Among some restaurateurs, there’s a growing resentment about temporary dining set-ups or food trucks that bypass the high overhead of a brick and mortar restaurant.
Understandable if they’re next door, sucking away clients. A little harder to fathom when the site is miles out in the country (and frankly a whole lot closer to Windsor than Healdsburg).
But here’s where the whole thing backfired…the generous folks at Costeaux French Bakery Cafe hearing of the Tendejon de la Calle’s plight have offered a temporary home for Mateo’s dinners to continue on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. In downtown Healdsburg.
But that’s not all…This Friday (6/4/10), funky Roadhouse Winery (107B N. Street, Healdsburg), will host the movable feast at their tasting room (for the second time), sweetening the deal with a la carte pours of their silky pinot noirs, pool and video games after diner. Hello, yes please. Plans are in the works to keep ’em going through the summer. (Wanna go? Contact Eric Hall for details: Info@Roadhousewinery.com, or call 922.6362).
So what’s it all the fuss? Several longtime Hburg chefs BiteClub spoke to say they’re far from concerned about unfair competition from Mateo, a former Dry Creek Kitchen chef and longtime local who’s got a penchant for transient eats. The sentiment from most was simply live and let live, because the press is good for everyone.
Seems you can’t keep a good pop-up dinner down. So really, why try?

Tendejon de la Calle, weekly on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5pm until dusk. Invites available only by email list or by calling 623.5474. Entrees $16-$19 each, appetizers $8-$12. Cash and local checks only. BYOB and glasses.
Weigh in…What’s your take on this whole situation? Should restaurateurs be worried or supportive?


22 thoughts on “Effort to shut down pop-up dinner backfires in Hburg

  1. WOW. Went last night for the first time. I can see why the high end restaurants are bothered by Mateo. He is an exceptionally creative individual. Purslane soup? Roast goat shank with nopal salad? Extraordinary. Perfect presentation and every dish perfectly assembled. If you don’t mind your food being served by friendly young men in t-shirts instead of professional waiters in pressed linen shirts, run, don’t walk, to Mateos’ next gig. One of the top dining experiences I have ever had, and I seek out extraordinary food wherever I go.

  2. I have not had a chance to have one of the feasts but have met Mateo and look forward to the opportunity. On another much more important note I have heard that it is not BACI that was the source of the problem. I think people should be very careful before accusing someone online and doing damage that may not be warranted.

  3. Mateo leases a commercial kitchen that is totally above board. My husband Mike, and I, have had the privilege to work along side him at the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market and, to attend his pop up dinners at the golf course last year-he is a hard worker, he honors his local and sustainable sources and we should be so lucky-Heidi and Mike Snowden

    1. Heidi,
      I would like to get in contact with you. Gene and I are looking to buy some of the beautiful wine barrel tables you and your husband have made and sold in the past. Are you still making those?
      Please email or call me at your earliest convenince.
      cell phone 949-275-7603
      Or if someone reading this knows a better way to get in contact with Heidi and Mike, please let me know.
      Thanks a million!
      Laura & Gene Cuneo

  4. The whistle-blower will not get any of my business and I will tell everyone I know not to support them either. Since the whistle-blower restaurant isn’t even open every day, they would have done better to offer their space to Mateo on the days they are closed. It would have created good will and probably brought more business to them.

  5. Having dined with Mateo and Randy several times now at Tendejon and knowing where and how he sources
    and prepares the ingredients for his unique menu I can say that I will continue to recommend and attend his
    effort at a unique dining experience in Sonoma county. I can also say that I will not be supporting Baci for its
    cuthroat effort to reduce the number of dining choices for those of us dedicated to the food scene in this great

  6. I would love to attend one of Mateo’s dinners. I wish I knew who complained so I could avoid giving them my business.

  7. Mateo should be supported, I like how places or opening their doors to help promote his cooking. Who blew the whistle?

  8. Pop-up dinners really isn’t anything new. Would be/wanna be “restauratuer’s” have done this for years in the bay area by periodically opening their homes for sit down for pay meals….seating a dozen or more people at a time. There’s enough of a population to support pop-up dinners and so what if they’re beating a high overhead. Necessity is the mother of invention. Isn’t that the American way?

  9. Accordig to Webster, “restauranteur” is a variant of “restauratuer”.

  10. LIve and let live…OK. The Health Department does have a responsibility to monitor restaurants and food prep. I don’t quite understand why he was shut down if he preps his food in a licensed, inspected commercial kitchen…maybe it’s just a matter of licensing, permits and FEES. Anyone who skirts the rules that others abide by is liable to get whistled on, whether it’s someone building an illegal addition to their home or creating a “restaurant” without the proper permits, licenses and inspections. Those who go to the trouble and expense to do construction projects with permits or run restaurants with proper licenses and inspections will be miffed when someone right down the road shortcuts or ignores the process.
    On another note, Heather, please have a look at your spelling of “restaurateur.” . It’s a tough word to spell correctly, but in your profession probably a little embarrassing to consistently misspell it. If your spellcheck (and Editor) isn’t catching it, maybe just write it on a little slip of paper and tape it up somewhere nearby and remind yourself to check it every time you use the word. Just a thought…I love reading your column and want you to look good!

  11. Mateo does all of his food prep in a commercial kitchen where he leases space, it is regularly inspected by the health department. He is a professional doing amazing things with food and should absolutely be supported. His ingredients come primarily from local sustainable farms. The restaurant business can get pretty petty and political sometimes, which is really too bad.

  12. Is this bullshit, or did someone really call him out, and WHO? I want to make sure I’m not supporting them.. thanks.

  13. I love Mateo and his food speaks for itself. Jealousy will get them no where. Let him live his dream. Everyone knows the restaurant business is hard. So let him do his thing. Best of luck to him and his crew.

  14. What is up with that? Who blew the wistle and was it because there was no permit? Was the food prep unsafe?

  15. Love Mateo and his fabulous, creative dinners…this adds a new dimension of excitement to dining in Healdsburg…his friends will follow him!

  16. Kind of sad that a scarcity/competitive mindset strikes out to do damage. How petty and small. Abundance is the name of this game and there’s enough to go around for everyone. Whoever has a need to bring others down should take a page from the Costeaux book. Here’s to innovation and creativity! Go Mateo!!!

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