Single Thread owners Kyle and Katina Connaughton have announced plans to open a plant-based restaurant, quick-service cafe and wine shop at the former SHED in Healdsburg this summer. The project, called Little Saint, is a collaboration with new property owners Jeff and Laurie Ubben, Jenny Hess and designer Ken Fulk.
Honoring the original vision of SHED founders Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel, who called the Healdsburg space a “modern grange,” the Connaughtons will offer an approachable a la carte menu inspired by Sonoma County’s seasonal bounty. Their new management group, Vertice Hospitality Management, will manage the day-to-day operations and their newly purchased 24-acre farm will provide produce for the restaurant.
“We want to build upon Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton’s vision of creating a community gathering space when they first opened Healdsburg SHED,” said Kyle Connaughton. Daniel and Lipton closed SHED in 2018, citing financial difficulties.
It’s an opportunity for the founders of Sonoma County’s only three-Michelin-star restaurant to reach a wider audience who may not be able to afford a meal at Single Thread.
“We envision Little Saint as another way to express our culinary creativity in a more accessible manner and as another avenue to expand our agricultural footprint and biodiversity presence in Sonoma County,” Connaughton said.
The Ubbens, Healdsburg-based philanthropists also involved in San Francisco’s Saint Joseph’s Arts Foundation, saw like-minded partners in the Connaughtons.
“As we have gotten to know Kyle and Katina we believe we have the perfect partner in this mission-driven endeavor,” the Ubbens said in a press release. “Our long friendship with Ken Fulk and his team make this a truly happy collaboration.”
In November, the Connaughtons purchased a 24-acre farm in Dry Creek Valley, previously home to Noci Sonoma. The couple and their staff have spent months rehabbing the land to be sustainably managed and support Single Thread, Little Saint and their charitable feeding projects. Their 5-acre farm in Healdsburg has been taken over by the Montage Hotel. Little Saint Farm will also be part of the project.
“Little Saint presented a creative opportunity to compose a menu highlighting all the produce coming from our new farm as well as support and showcase the other incredible farms in our community,” Connaughton said.
The expansive Healdsburg space will also be used as a community gathering place for art, conversations with thought leaders, live music and events. The restaurant is anticipated to be open for lunch and dinner, and the quick-service cafe and retail components will be open daily.
Plans for the 10,000-square-foot steel and glass “modern grange” have been the subject of speculation since the Ubbens purchased the space in September, revealing only vague details about what it would eventually become. The pandemic put the project on hold, but remodeling has begun. For several months, Sonoma Family Meal used the state-of-the-art kitchen at Little Saint to prepare nutritious, restaurant-quality meals for local residents experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic.
Heather Irwin is the founder of Sonoma Family Meal.