Last winter, Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol hosted a burger takeout pop-up that began gaining traction in January. We heard buzz about the team looking for a permanent spot to expand the burger program, named Sonoma Burger, now confirmed to be at 173 Pleasant Hill Ave. (the former location for Giovanni’s Deli).
Slated to open July 1, the menu will feature Gravenstein Grill’s pimento burger, a barbecue burger with blue cheese and crispy onion strings, chicken and turkey burgers and a tempeh burger with miso-honey glaze, along with griddled hot dogs, salads, chili cheese fries, popcorn chicken and freshly baked cookies. Stay tuned.
More dining news
Challenges for restaurants: Yes, we are all so excited to eat out again! Restaurants love having us back, too. But at the same time, there’s an insane hiring shortage happening. Many servers and cooks have gone back to school, switched careers, left the area or are still getting by on unemployment. Restaurants are even closing on Fridays and Saturdays because they don’t have enough staff to cook the food. Hiring bonuses of $400 or more are barely making a dent in filling the need for people willing to work the restaurant industry.
Sure, it’s time for a reckoning on wages in the hospitality industry, but diners are averse to paying more for their food, so it’s a moot point, for now. In the meantime, have patience when going out to eat — your server might be just plain overwhelmed.
Soft Serve Spectacular: I’ve been working on a story about the food scene in Occidental for Sonoma Magazine, but here’s a sneak peek at something I fell a little in love with last weekend: Straus Soft Serve with plum shrub at Altamont General Store. Tart and sweet and a little savory, it’s a miracle. 3703 Main St., Occidental, 707-874-6053.