Three Squares Cafe Santa Rosa

Breakfast, lunch and dinner now served at a Railroad Square institution in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Dining: Three Squares Cafe

On the first morning of breakfast service for Three Squares Cafe, the newly reborn Syrah in Railroad Square, chef-owner Josh Silvers wandered from table to table greeting, well, other chefs. Like much of the local dining community, the anticipation among other restaurateurs was palpable: What would become of the iconic space? It turns out to be exactly what many of us hoped it would be–a return to the comfortable, warm, homey cooking that’s Silvers’ hallmark.

“It’s food that comes from here,” says Silvers, pointing to his heart, “not here,” he adds, pointing to his head. “You don’t have to sit and think about it,” he says of Petite Syrah, a short-lived version of the restaurant that featured small plates of haute cuisine. “It just wasn’t me,” he says. Instead, the new three-meal-a-day menu (hence the name) features dishes including a breakfast sticky bun, Hangtown Fry with fried oysters and bacon, corned beef hash with poached eggs and Matzo Brei — a Jewish version of chilaquiles with pieces of matzo crackers and scrambled eggs — served up with potato pancakes, sour cream and house-made applesauce. Sweet-tooths will love deep fried French toast with real maple syrup or pumpkin griddle cakes with homemade sausage.

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Generously-portioned salads (which are often scarce around these parts) are the backbone of the lunch menu: Prawn Louie is a decadent pile of butter lettuce, tomato, egg and avocado with homemade Louie dressing (a sort of Thousand Island) and prawns. Chili Calamari Salad is destined to become my personal favorite, heaped with fried calamari, Asian slaw and peanuts. Many are available as “half” salads for smaller eaters. Entrees of quinoa pasta, chicken pot pie and hangar steak with Kennebeck fries are also featured on the dinner menu, as are the Oyster Po’ Boy with bacon remoulade and The Burger. It’s almost impossible not to compare Silvers’ burger here and the one across the street at his other restaurant, Jackson’s Bar and Oven. It comes down to grilled, squishy bun lovers versus griddled, egg bun-lovers. Personally, I wish I could merge the two into a grilled egg-bun Frankenburger.

Dinner includes a daily “Square Meal”, Spaghetti and Meat Balls on Wednesday, Fried Chicken Thursday and Prime Rib on Sunday. The price includes soup, salad and housemade ice cream. But you may want check out the dessert menu anyway, because Josh’s butterscotch pudding is downright addictive. And there’s almost nothing better than getting a slice of Birthday Cake (with a candle) when its not your birthday. The cake is made in house, and Josh’s one requirement to the baker: “Bake whatever makes you smile.”

Shoulder to shoulder with his kitchen staff (including breakfast cook Pam Wilson, his first sous at Syrah), Silvers seems happier than ever, cooking food that’s   more approachable than ever. The kind of Wednesday morning, Friday night, Sunday afternoon food that just makes you go, “Mmmmm. That’s just what I wanted.”

Open Tuesday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Closed Monday. 205 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4300.

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32 thoughts on “Three Squares Cafe Santa Rosa

  1. Jean Cornwell – Beautiful family! Love Marti and Molly close up, and love the first picture of the whole family–really like them all –happy, happy family!

  2. The food is ok, but not great (to justify the high prices).

    The service is pretty bad. The “disappearing servers” comments by other reviews is spot on. It seems the kitchen and management (which seem to be in the same place) don’t have a clue how bad the service is and especially if you are seated in the hallway area (outside by the hair salon). They need one of those “restaurant stakeout” type TV shows where they sit in a control room and watch how the customers are treated on hidden camera. The food is not good enough to offset bad service.

  3. Thought I would try the restaurant after reading the reviews. Went for a late Sunday brunch and lunch mid-week. Food was excellent – the chef(s) DO know how to properly prepare food! The prices are typical “boutique” restaurant prices — high (figure $20 per person easily). The only mis-step was the service — the waitstaff is very nice, but they have no clue how to wait on patrons. They drop you off at your table and disappear — they take your order and disappear. On both occasions, the restaurant was busy, but not over-crowded, but the staff NEVER came back to ask if there was anything we needed, (both times there were). I actually had to get up and FIND a waitress on both trips. Hope the service improves to the level of the food!

    1. Yes, we do read all your comments and care very much about what our guests have to say (with a few exceptions (-;). The cafe is a new restaurant for us and we are new to doing breakfast/brunch. For any new restaurant, there is a learning process. We hired a lot of new staff and we are doing a lot of new things. We are excited about our new menus which have both healthy and “cheat fun” options. Please know we are aware there has been some inconsistent service issues. We are working hard to correct the initial “clitches” we encountered and improve our service all around. We know how to do this and we are on it. Thank you for your input.
      Regina Silvers, Co-Owner
      Three Squares Cafe

  4. My reply to Big D showed up but my comment/review of the restaurant has not? What is up? I’ve usually only said nice things, I think 🙂

  5. I posted a review of Three Squares Cafe on here but it never showed up so I’m posting again.

    Hubby and I went there on Saturday, noonish. Brunch was the menu. I ordered the Eggs Benedict, which I often order at other places so thought I would do a comparison, and hubby ordered the Corned Beef Hash.

    I noticed the Eggs Benedict was $12.75. Say what? But,
    it was absolutely the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had – two perfectly poached eggs, so light they almost floated away and definitely not cooked in some round form and passed off as poached; two thin slices of delicious ham, two nice English muffin halves, and great hollandaise sauce. Wow, just wow! I liked the potatoes dish that came with it, a perfectly good dish by itself.

    Hubby’s Corned Beef Hash was excellent, too. There was a slight mixup on his side of toast, which was included in the order, it briefly got forgotten . It was their 5th day since opening so things happen.

    Our waitress was good though tended to disappear when we were looking for her.

    The interior was nice and light. The large windows were so clear I was concerned that someone would walk through them. I sat facing out and my hubby said that on that clear, bright sunny day, I looked like I was lit by a full bank of lights.

    All in all, a good place to eat. We will definitely go back.

    Oh, and it’s not across the street from Jackson’s, more that across the corner from Last Day Saloon. Jackson’s is about a block away, in the same building as Last Day Saloon. I know, picky picky picky…

  6. You say it’s across the street from Jacksons Bar and Grill but Jacksons is on 4th, not 5th. Where is it?

  7. Am I remembering incorrectly that when he shut down Petite Syrah, he said his next venture would be focused on lighter, healthier fare, after having lost some weight recently himself? Or was that someone else entirely? If it was him, looks like those plans changed.

    1. Yes, lighter and healthier, but that plan doesn’t seem to have come to fruition. Went this weekend expecting at least a few lighter choices on the menu. Love the new decor and the food was good, but, everything was so greasy. It was as if some brushed butter on top of everything before it came to the table. Had to ask to have the table wiped down after we were seated too. Please, please, please let this just be a one time incident.

  8. Awesome restaurant. My wife and I love to go there for lunch or dinner. The food is very well prepared and the staff is always friendly and attentive. There are so many overpriced mediocre quality restaurants around that it has been a pleasure to find this restaurant.

  9. I had lunch there the first day opened for, and it was delish. I love that the staff was already well trained and knew the menu; always a plus when opening. The space is much more homey, although still a bit on the high noise factor, but of course, there was also much conversation going on! I loved seeing the smile on Josh’s face … continued good wishes to their success. I know I will be back!

  10. This review makes me so happy. Congrats, Josh and Regina!
    One minor point for the PD photographer: Having the potato pancake in the forefront rather than the matzoh in the photo of the matzoh brei is like focusing on the grapes with a blurred hamburger in the background.

    1. You have a good eye, Ronnie. It was me who was the photog, and clearly I was having too much fun gabbing with everyone in the restaurant and not paying attention to what i was doing. I agree 100 percent. I’ll have to go back and have another round of Matzoh!

  11. If warm comfort homey food is Silver’s hallmark, why doesn’t he just open a Denny’s somewhere?

    Have you ever seen a Denny’s go out of business….No sir…I think you haven’t.

    Good luck with the new approach, hopefully it’ll be profitable and low stress. One moons over my hammy please.

      1. Give me a break. How about you take the time to start writing about some of the more long standing restaurants that there are in the county so we can then find out about them as well. All you do is write about failed businesses or the next fad food spot.

        How long has it been since you wrote something about mom and pop places that don’t need to keep reinventing themselves to stay in business. Press Democrat needs a writer that writes as much about the obscure places as they do about Petite Denny’s.

        You’re attempt at a food blog is failing miserably. Hire some high schoolers that aren’t star struck by copper pots and big wine glasses-but would write about good food plain and simple, regardless of who was making it. You only write about businesses that are just opening, or just closing, which tends to be in that order. How about you take the time to highlight lesser known places rather than trying to score free meals with “trendy” this and that.

        Now wheres my moon over my hammy?

          1. Oh i’m sorry….I forgot…to be cool on BiteClub, I meant pumpkin infused, organic Alpine Eggs Moons over my hammy….my mistake.

          2. Ugh. No one would actually infuse eggs with pumpkin. That’s just a bad flavor pairing. If you were gonna do a great Moons Over My Hammy, it would be a 63 degree egg on buttered brioche with grape-leaf wrapped Rogue River Blue cheese, a drizzle of local honey and some locally smoked ham from Revolution Meats. Everyone knows that.

    1. If you consider Denny’s “comfort food” I feel bad for you … and you might just think that Three Squares is a bit “highfalutin” …

  12. This looks incredible! My big dilemma now will be whether to get the pumpkin griddle cakes (how do they get them looking so crispy??) or the huevos rancheros. It’s so funny seeing corn beef hash making its way back onto so many nice breakfast menus. It’s a far cry from the stuff I served as a waitress at a retirement home back in the day. That stuff was horrible, smelled like dogfood, came out of a can….This one looks like something I’d actually order! Despite my bad memories…

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