Pizza with a Side of Groove

Music education programs benefit from some good eats.

(photos by Connor Jay)

Tasty jazz licks will be paired with savory food bites at several Healdsburg and Geyserville restaurants in February when the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s popular Jazz on the Menu event returns.

The festive midwinter, midweek fundraiser will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 25 at 10 restaurants, with each donating a portion of its sales proceeds to the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s music education programs in schools,

“I think it’s pretty amazing what we bring to the students,” said Jessica Felix, the festival’s executive director. “We have expanded our programs in the schools, with Operation Jazz Band, Black History Month and a Children’s Choir.”

At each of the restaurants, diners order off the regular menu and enjoy the meal and drinks while being serenaded by a live jazz combo.

The event has a progressive-dinner element as well, with patrons coming together after dinner for a sweet encore.

From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., the after-party gala at Costeaux French Bakery in Healdsburg will be headlined by Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Peixoto and his quintet, along with the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band. Tickets to the party are $15 and include a dessert buffet.

This year’s Jazz on the Menu event will be held at Catelli’s Restaurant and Diavola, both in Geyserville, and Agave, Baci Cafe & Wine Bar, Bear Republic Brewing Co., Café Lucia, Campo Fina, Chalkboard, Dry Creek Kitchen and Spoonbar in Healdsburg.

“It is wonderful to have so many restaurants lit up with jazz in the quieter winter months,” said Circe Sher, director of public relations and marketing for Dry Creek Kitchen and Spoonbar.

Many of the restaurants have participated in the event since it started in 2011. In 2014, Jazz on the Menu was held during the worst storm of the year, yet the restaurants still filled up. It’s wise to make reservations early.

More interested in the bands? Consider bar-hopping your way through the evening.

“Some people go around and just get a drink at every place,” Felix said. “They just want to hear the music.”