It takes a village to open a restaurant.
Since last summer, legions of Facebook friends have watched the daily highs and lows as Patrick and Christine Tafoya open their first restaurant, P30 in Sebastopol. Some days were clearly rough going (“Opening night and no babysitter (flu). This is fun”) while others ecstatic (“The restaurant is totally packed on a Sunday night….we are just so flippin’ happy”).
But through six months of choppy waters they found instant commiseration from a choir of 140-character cheers.
Now that the restaurant has officially opened, their virtual village are clamoring for a tableside-seat to the restaurant drama they’ve watched unfold online. With snap-happy opening in late January (Christine was rarely without her iPhone during the opening week, posing friends both real and virtual) the restaurant is already doing a brisk business even in the doldrums of the SoCo tourist season.
The “Why You’re Here Dish” is Tafoya’s signature Gleason fried chicken
with brown butter waffles and homemade strawberry jam ($14). There’s
nothin’ like it in the North Bay and likely won’t be. Tafoya has long
been a devotee of the ranch (see why) and cuts into his own margins to
get this dish right.
The Rest of The Menu: “Chic + Cheap Comfort Food” (nothing on the menu
is over $15). Grassfed beef hamburgers with house made salted brioche buns, house
made pickles and catsup ($11); grilled flatbread with St. Jorge cheese
and truffled arugula ($8); biscuit-topped chicken pot pie ($12); mac
& cheese ($7); hand-cut Kennebec sea-salt fries ($6); foraged
mushroom and walnut ravioli; s’mores for two (served in a glass jar
with melted chocolate ganache, brownies, marshmallow fluff and grahams,
$10); root beer floats with homemade root beer and ice cream ($7).
First-week-eaters take heart: Tafoya has reworked the fries, dialed in
the s’mores and added a Meyer lemon meringue custard to weep for.
Why they already have so many fans: The former Duck Club chef is
bringing is haute sensibilities to affordable, everyday eats. Along with an unswaying in his devotion to small,
local purveyors (like Gleason Ranch), which for a deep-pocketed resort is one thing…but for a chef/owner an especially dedicated proposition. Says the couple: “(P/30 is)…unfussy and honest. We are serving
the kind of food we like to eat, in a setting that we want to be in.”
The Vibe: Inside, the restaurant has undergone a nip/tuck. The
roadhouse spirit is intact, with a hip cut and color that’s less East
Village walk-up and more Brooklyn loft. It’s also more kid-friendly,
with crayons and butcher paper on the tables begging for scribbles and
a “wee ones” menu of their own. Mindful of dietary restrictions,
Tafoya’s kitchen “happily” accommodates vegan requests. And means it. Beer on tap and
Join the village.
Restaurant P30, 9890 Bodega Hwy, Sebastopol, 707.861.9030. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 5pm to 9pm.