Three Squares Cafe

Syrah's continued transformation

What was once Syrah, then Petite Syrah will become Three Squares Cafe in mid-September.

Opening for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the forthcoming cafe is slated to serve up hearty rib-stickers including prime rib and fried chicken in the evenings; red flannel hash, omelets, Hangtown fry, huevos ranchers and matzo brei with potato latkes for brunch; oyster po boys and burgers for lunch and butterscotch pudding and pies for dessert.

But behind the griddle will be the familiar face of Executive Chef Josh Silvers, who has owned the iconic Railroad Square restaurant for more than ten years (as well as nearby Jackson’s Bar and Oven). Though the names have changed over the last few years, the soul remains the same — evolving with the times and with Silvers’ own culinary outlook as he’s shed more than 40 pounds and come to rethink the kind of food he’s eating.

Calling his new menu “wholesome comfort food”, Silvers focus is on visceral, familiar flavors rather than haute, aspirational dishes. “It’s not so cerebral. I want you to just be able to close your eyes and say, ummmmm,” he said.

For the next several weeks, Petite Syrah remains open, serving up some crowd favorites from the past. The exactly closing date for the restaurant is still up in the air, pending city permitting and signage issues, but the changeover is likely to happen within a couple days.

Stay tuned for more details.


17 thoughts on “Three Squares Cafe

  1. Well Josh doesn’t fool around when its time to move forward does he? And seriously people, not getting the vitriol (sans ‘e’) backlash here either. Anyone who has a SUCCESSFUL10 year (plus) history w/ one (never mind 2) restaurants has my respect. Anyone who sheds 40 lbs. while in said industry also has my respect. Really hard. I know. I develop recipes and was on Weight Watchers for a year while doing so. Really a bloody challenge.

    That said, from the last piece you wrote about Silvers and closing Petite, Heather, you mentioned he was thinking about re-directing to healthier, less complicated offerings. Fried chicken, Hash, Po Boys, puddin’….. doesn’t sound like that a’tall. Comfort Food… fattening. That’s why we find it so comforting. We may gravitate towards it, but we know we should not on a regular basis. Perhaps Silvers has some surprises to include that are less weighty.

    I would LOVE to see a juxtoposed menu of choices on a theme. Has anyone ever done that? Did I see something kind of like that on a Sonoma Spa menu?

    Example; Column A; Fried Chicken just like Mamma made it…..Column B; Oven Fried Panko coated Chicken.
    Column A: 3-Cheese Pasta and Pancetta Bake….Column B: Parmesan Crusted Kale and Quinoa Pasta
    Column A; Zucchini & Potato Latkes w/ Creme Fraiche…..Column B; Baked Zucchini Sweet Potato Pancakes w/ Paprika Greek Yogurt.

    You could easilly do the ‘lean makeover’ w/ a bevy of dishes. Give people a choice. We’d say “today I go easy to stay on my ‘plan’. But I must come back and try his ‘full comfort’ version of that ” fill in the blank” dish.
    If I were to open a restaurant (and I never will. too damn hard), this would be my concept.

    Give them a CHOICE, and they will come! More often. So they can cheat once in a while. Cuz its fun. 🙂

  2. Wow, kind of surprised at the vitriole.
    How about we do something novel and wait to see how it is before everyone jumps on the bitchy bandwagon.

    Restaurants need to evolve. I applaud Josh for trying new things. Jackson’s has been a runaway success in Railroad Square, and I think it spoke to an unmet need in that area. Petite Syrah was a concept, and frankly, a very ambitious one. But maybe too cerebral, as he’s acknowledged.

    Three Squares is another concept, and comfort food is a proven model. It works, because its what people like to eat on a regular basis. Spec ravioli? Maybe not as often.

    Josh isn’t exactly new to the restaurant biz. He’ll figure it out. But jesus, people. Chefs read these comments, and they’re pretty hurtful — we’re all entitled to an opinion, but remember to have a little civility. If you could do better, I think you’d be doing it.

    1. I concur. Jackson’s is kicking ass and I look forward to Three Squares doing the same. Josh clearly knows what he is doing and deserves a little more respect.

      To Josh – Congrats on all accounts!

  3. What a great idea-take fantastic dinner spot, revamp the classic yet creative and always fantastic Michelin Star winning menu with a more self congratulatory “me too!” small plates menu that loses diners in droves, and switch to a more down home, comfort food restaurant with a wine country twist- it can’t lose! Just look at the grand success that Mama Pig’s has been these past two years.

  4. Syrah WAS fabulous and always busy.
    I imagine the stress from ruining a thriving restaurant will melt 40 pounds from a persons girth.
    Bite club’s love for long josh silver is clearly still in the maiden voyage, but pirate capt josh is clearly blowing in the wind, one failure to the next.

    Syrah became a regular restaurant for us. 10 years ago, it was hit or miss but WE stayed with them and Syrah became rock solid fabulous..
    it was more expensive than the rest but it was always a great experience.

    Petite Syrah: we continued through this “delusion of grandeur” phase, the prices went sky high and the decor got nuevo truck stop.. we were paying much more for less and felt almost trapped in the ghetto tall tables.
    We loved the wait staff , my thoughts, prayers and hopes for them that they found a more stable environment in which to earn their living.

  5. Another comfort food establishment? I think I have tried them all and Sweet T’s wins hands down. Why re-create something that’s already done well. That trend is going to fade out quickly now as it appears the bandwagon has begun. Ugh..seriously you lost 40 lbs on fried foods and butterscotch? Sounds like you wanted to change your venue as the current is not working out too well. Seriously though, have our local Chef’s exhausted their ability to bring something new to Sonoma County? Even Burger King is now advertising Barbecue, I think that’s a sign it’s about to fade out. Just like when Walmart started selling mock Uggs and it became passe. Are you looking at the current market and selling to that, or looking at what is up and coming and creating something people ‘heard’ about from such and so but haven’t had the chance to try it yet as no one else is creating it here yet? Hint…look at music trends…not current…look into SF garage venues…look at up and coming fashion trends..not Walmart and Macy’s whom are three to five yrs behind…look in the City’s New York, SF, and most of all look at your creative artistically inclined youth and you will find what is ‘next’ in culture. Food is a part of art culture…and a part of the expression of what people want to see change in their world. Right now we are in a recession and comfort food (as long as you add the word ‘organic’ and add at least one vegetarian dish ) and BoHo are in..because people are craving grass roots and comfort. The acoustic music trends that were rising a handful of years back told us that was coming. What is in the background now? Are you studying culture as a first layer front and center activity or studying it from behind the crowd listening to the up and coming leadership…the art culture pre-college and early college youth? They will tell you what your next market is. Look at the intellectual art students and ask them what they listen to or wear and where they get their ideas from. Don’t out and out ask them about food..ask them about who they are and where they get their ideals from. And that will lead you to listen and find what is next in food, clothing, and music and art. You can open your new venue with yummy comfort food like everyone else..yeah Burger King!! Or you can move away from the Walmart of food venues and find what’s ‘next’ and be the next big thing until someone else takes your menu tweaks it and opens or adds it to their own establishment. A huge compliment to you, but so annoying isn’t it? Start trends…don’t follow them. Just my two cents and I imagine that’s about what it’s worth. : )

    1. Chloe, are you HIGH? Re-read your spewing here again. The content is highly unintelligible. (methinks you’re on some form of amphetimine.)

      Comfort food, “going to fade out quickly”? Really? No. It isn’t and it hasn’t and it won’t.

      I’m curious though. Since you’ve so much (useless) advice to share, how many successful restaurants have you run in your career again?

  6. Please, please enough of the comfort food (fried chicken/pork 10 different ways/mac n’ cheese) and enough of the wood-fired pizza/salumi thing. Not that I don’t enjoy it, but it’s really over-represented in Sonoma County at this point!!! We have all we need in that category. I already have my go-to spots for that kind of food.

  7. For God’s sake not another “comfort food California style”…which means a spoonful of mac and cheese with a sprig of cilantro. Charge me, but at least let me enjoy my meal without guilt. Thank God for Ikes. I ate at Jackson’s and was not impressed at all..think salt lick and small portions of California comfort food. Hopefully, this is a real comfort food place like Hash House A Go Go. Otherwise, you will be seeing a “Closed” and “For Lease” sign within a year.

  8. Hate to say it, but might as well get the template ready for when this place goes under.

    No way he’s gonna be able to move that much inventory and keep the portions sizeable and fresh. It’ll turn into infused or faux fois gras, trufle scrambled eggs.

    Best of luck though.

  9. It seems that the idea of more healthy cuisine has morphed into comfort food. I am still all in but there is definitely still room for a tasty lunch spot that considers creating plates that are long on flavor and easy on the waist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *