KQED’s long-running restaurant review series “Check, Please!” made a visit to Petaluma’s Easy Rider restaurant in its latest episode and the results were finger-lickin’ good.
Host Leslie Sbrocco highlighted Easy Rider’s “Southern-style hospitality and classic comfort foods” in her introduction, while guest Yemi Ogunkoya selected the restaurant for its impressive Southern fried chicken dinner with collard greens, shrimp and grits, and bacon cheddar hushpuppies.
The KQED show lets three local diners, rather than professional critics, share their favorite Bay Area restaurants. Each guest eats at the other two diners’ picks, offering their own assessment of the food. Ogunkoya’s fellow guests, Shivani Torres and Daniel Phung, raved about Easy Rider’s menu and atmosphere.
“I like that they’re using ingredients that are seasonal and local,” Torres said of the restaurant.
Ogunkoya was drawn to Easy Rider for its date-night vibe, sleek interior and large portions. The episode aired on Feb. 8 and the guests on the show enjoyed fried green tomatoes with aioli, pork belly biscuits, steak tartare, crispy Brussels sprouts, ricotta donuts, and Easy Rider’s famous fried chicken dinner, which Torres and Phung dubbed the best fried chicken they’d ever had.
Easy Rider cocktails were also a highlight with “Check, Please!” guests who enjoyed the espresso martini and PYT made with vodka, strawberry, lemon and seltzer.
The Petaluma restaurant opened in 2022 with chef and co-owner Jared Rogers helming the kitchen. Rogers has appointed chef Lloyd Norton as the current head chef. Dustin Sullivan is a co-owner of Easy Rider.
In 2022, the restaurant was reviewed by Sonoma Magazine dining editor Heather Irwin, who described its “easy mix of classic Southern and Low Country dishes like shrimp and grits, crab cakes, collards, Cajun-spice fish, and fried chicken that draw you in gently rather than forcefully with an overblown caricature of Southern cuisine.” Irwin recommended the restaurant’s hushpuppies, fried chicken dinner, crab cakes, and shrimp and grits.
Easy Rider, 33 Washington St., Petaluma, 707-774-6233, easyriderpetaluma.com</