The Gastronomist, Sebastopol

Chef Joe Rueter's new supper club, The Gastronomist, in Sebastopol is a mix of animal and vegetable, making for an inclusive experience

Joe Rueter, chef with the Green Grocer, serves a porchetta during Windsor’s Farmers Market on the Town Green, June 14, 2012.

The Gastronomist, Sebastopol, 6681 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 707-837-8113 or

Joe Rueter, chef with the Green Grocer, serves a porchetta during Windsor's Farmers Market on the Town Green, June 14, 2012.
Joe Rueter, chef with the Green Grocer, serves a porchetta during Windsor’s Farmers Market on the Town Green, June 14, 2012.


Can’t we all just get along? Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, locavores, lacto-ovovores, the gluten-intolerant and spice avoidant?

Food doesn’t have to be a battle ground. In fact, forward-thinking chefs know that co-mingling creative vegan, gf, allergy-sensitive and vegetarian fare on their omnivorous menus is more than just pandering — it’s smart business in an evolving food culture.
(Don’t believe it? Check out New York Times author Mark Bittman’s VB6, which encourages plant-based eating before 6 p.m. and, well, pretty much every restaurant offering something gluten-free).

Windsor farmer and chef Joe Rueter is putting that bold idea into practice with his new venture, The Gastronomist in Sebastopol.

Here, duck tacos, grass-fed beef, lamb and, yes, foie gras get cozy with vegan, squash fries, lentil salad, pumpkin gnocchi and a raw chocolate terrine Wednesday through Saturday evening from 5-11p.m.  Housed in the Gravenstein Station railroad car that formerly housed Starlight Wine Bar, Rueter’s fiercely sustainable and local dishes have always been a BiteClub favorite (his heirloom tomato B.L.T. is a top 10).

But sprouted living salads, kefir, organic wine and sprouted grains from a guy who routinely grills up hundreds  of pounds of bacon at his weekly farm market stands? Yup. Rueter keeps a separate griddle and cooking boards for vegan foods and cook the meat outside under a market tent (mmm, the smell of sizzling bacon). Anyone with allergies will be accommodated by using the phrase “No-Touchey…” followed by the allergy. Yup, seriously.

“I am not serving anything that has spent weeks in a walk-in, and has been on a truck all day coming from no produce company,” said the never-shy-to-speak-his-mind Rueter in a text message.  “Darn nutrient-depleted tasteless vegetables not happening at this restaurant, period. No frozen meat or fish, nada. We’ve got an established local food system built from the markets we participate in weekly,” he added.

Rueter will offer breakfast and lunch from 9a.m. to 5p.m. daily at the train car with craft beer and organic wines, along with a simplified menu of salads, duck tacos, B.L.T. and burgers.

 The Gastronomist, Sebastopol, 6681 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 707-837-8113 or


4 thoughts on “The Gastronomist, Sebastopol

  1. these negative comments are not from real Sebastopol people they’re all from the Bay Area or from somewhere else anyone thats moved here from 1987, build a home and destroyed apple orchards nature and our creeks and put in vineyards they don’t matter.they’re the ones that destroyed this town made it little San Francisco Sebastopol sucks now and this is coming from a person that’s four out of five generations Sebastopol person. It smells it’s unfriendly and there’s no more apples that’s what Sebastopol is supposed to be about and it use to be known for the Great Gravenstein Apples. So u people just quit your stupid bitching. You all really got alot of nerve.

  2. In this new restaurant endeavor I’d rather not get off on the wrong foot…

    Please do understand that at the farmers market we practice an exhibition style of cooking. Often cracking over 40 dozen fresh eggs, to order, in order to serve 2-300 customers each a personalized order, hopefully in order, in less than 4 hours. This is roughly 1 egg every 30 seconds; Quick… duck or chicken? This is fast paced cooking like no other, not even a Denny’s puts out this volume.

    Stresses found in any high end kitchen where ingredients are prepared to order are compounded by the general public and their birds eye view. Which is exactly what we all want, right? A peak into the kitchen to view what is really going on back there and we at theGreenGrocer put this on display, willingly, for your enjoyment and without contention. Because with the purity of our hyper-locally sourced ingredients there is really nothing to hide. The flavors speak toward the peak of freshness, I most humbly admit to not having much real talent other than the uncommon sense to just not mess up what mother nature and the hard working family farmers of Sonoma county have perfected.

    I would hope that people would realize what is going on before them as they leer into theGreenGrocer tent at the farmer’s market. After serving several thousand people weekly I admit we chef’s do get inpatient when people point audaciously and drop jawed at an Heirloom BLT or Grass Fed Burger on our griddle and belt out like an automaton “what is that?…” then of course expecting us to give an answer and engage in conversation while they point linger, and typically totally annihilate the stream of consciousnesses running through a busy cooks mind at any given moment while multitasking and organizing 10-30, usually special orders, at the same time. I’ve always wanted to get a little sign made up that politely says “Shhhhhhh… Please don’t disturb the cooks, they’re cooking!”

    This said many people get it and they like to watch, which is always welcome. This exhibition style of street food cooking started with the New York City hot dog vendor and has had several other incarnations like the “Soup Nazi” of NBC’s Seinfeld. If you’ve ever been to New York, you know what I mean, there’s attitude there. Heckling, it’s a spectator sport and the edgy feel comes from the city, ask a “dumb question” and you’ll get the rhetoric… This is attribute to the fast paced environment; keeping the line of customers moving, the pace up and the action happening. In this arena, you’ve got to know the lingo, place your order and then get out of the way please, so that everyone gets their food. Please don’t linger and chit chat, we’ve got hundreds of customers and each one is equally important.

    Yes equally! I constantly find myself saying; “YOU mam, are not the only person who’s food I am cooking, or NO sir, excuse me, that is not your burger that your poking your finger into”. There is a system, we take names, please be advised, most of the general public doesn’t care to notice and especially when intoxicated or hungry.

    I do mean it that we treat all customers equally; vegan, veggie, gluten free, paleo, or no touchy bacon. What ever your desire, we can do that and we will…! Just step up and tell us what you would like.

    Please just be upfront about these allergies and aversions. This should be applicable to all food service establishments; If your vegan come out with it and you’ll be delighted to find that we can make anything on the menu vegan! If your gluten free then tell us, we have delicious gluten free solutions for everyone! If your Jewish and you really want a burger that’s not cooked in bacon fat then yes of course we are happy to do that too!

    Please learn the lingo and order freely and clearly so that we can all hear you. Too much to ask you may say, well… where on the menu at “In and Out” does it say “animal style”? There’s no room for it, ya just gotta be in the know, ya know? (BTW- they do the same volume that we do, hour for hour at the farmer’s market and I swear there’s 14 kids working in there.)

    Please do not think for a moment that these same rules apply to our restaurant. This is a much slower paced and formal environment, we welcome you into our space at theGreenGrocer & theGastronomist with true hospitality and can take the time to talk through menu items and even have a bit of conversation. Not to mention that we have just about every Farmer’s Market Menu Item we have ever served at the farmer’s market all on one menu! With a restaurant you will find that we have the time to do so much more for you, our customers, with more consistency and accommodation.

    Oh and also if it was not entirely apparent theGastronomist is the fine dining sort of “alter ego” to theGreenGrocer. Formerly operated as a monthly dinner club and now a 4 night a week dinner endeavor.

    My very best to all of you out there,

    Joe Rueter
    Chef, Gastronomist
    theGreenGrocer & theGastronomist

  3. {edited, libelous}

    Not to mention the horrible customer service for some reason service in and around SOME Sebastopol eating establishments didn’t get the memo that being rude to your guests is passé, like it is so 80s. Coming from the San fransisco food world I am constantly blown away at the attitude that is thrown around in the food service world in sebastopol it’s just food guys drop your ego and let’s eat

  4. Will the service be snarly, rude, and slow like Green Grocer is at the Farmer’s Market or will he employ people from the food service industry that have ANY experience?

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