Plus, Mill Valley residents open a Mexican wine bar in San Francisco and a new music school opens in San Rafael.
Featured: The Lark Theater Remodel
Maintaining the Art Deco mood was top of mind when Executive Director Ellie Mednick undertook a campaign to restore The Lark, a 1940s-era movie theater. With the help of Mill Valley’s Markoff Fullerton Architects, who had worked with the theater before its 2004 reopening, and major donor Vickie Soulier, Mednick upgraded the entire structure. Outside, the marquee dazzles with fresh lighting and a new crown over the ticket booth, while Gilardi Marquee Terrace has become a popular pre- and post-show café. Inside the 225-seat theater, the stage was extended to allow for a larger performance area. That means more live comedy, jazz and gospel choirs, in addition to the focus on movies and live broadcasts from New York’s Metropolitan and London’s National Theatre that The Lark is known for. “We need to do more than movies if we want to survive,” Mednick says.
The concession stand boasts curved wood, a marble top and an expanded menu of milkshakes, ice cream, and homemade candy and nut bars, in addition to hot dogs, pizza and pretzels. Mednick promises the new popcorn machine will still make popcorn with the old recipe. Coffee and wine by the glass can be had at the new wine bar, or in one of the side lobbies, complete with red velvet chairs, hand-painted gold interiors and chandeliers. “We want you to step inside and leave everything else behind,” Mednick says. “Give yourself over to the screen and rediscover the ‘a-ha’ of movies.”
Eat & Drink
Mill Valley residents Vincent and Linda Lam, who run three other restaurants in San Francisco, partnered with Juventino Carrillo (who will oversee the modern Mayan menu) and Morgan Anderson (Bella Trattoria) to open a Mexican wine bar serving 45 Mexican-grown wines, in mid-July. Look for dishes like relleno negro, a traditional black turkey stew, pepián de pato, or duck prepared with pumpkin seed sauce, and chile-rubbed filet mignon with mole, to pair with the wines.
431 Balboa Ave, San Francisco; 415.571.8027
Ten years after closing the doors on the original iteration, maître d’ Nick Peyton and chef Douglas Keane reopened in mid-September at a custom-built location designed by Olson Kundig Architects. Guests in groups of 12 will undertake a culinary journey that begins in the Bubbles Room, continues through the Kitchen Table, and moves onwards to a more traditional dining space where the rest of the meal — and dessert in the Chocolate Room, a space inspired by chef’s love of Willy Wonka — await.
275 Highway 128, Geyserville; 707.723.5999
A huge patio with sweeping views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands beckons at the third location in Ghirardelli Square of this Bay Area-based pizza chain known for its quadrate-shaped pies. The cripsy cheddar cheese edges are the same whether you order the JLIN (pepperoni, Italian sausage, chile flakes, green goddess dressing) or the Shay Diddy (white sauce, Italian sausage, broccoli, Mike’s Hot Honey) and a gluten-free crust is available.
845 Beach St, San Francisco
Active in the Marin Rowing Association and running or biking on Mt. Tam inspired Petaluma-based owner Will Wahlen and Erika Kehr to seek a Marin location for their second North Bay workout studio, which opened in May. Look for their signature 40-minute, Pilates-inspired, full-body strength training classes on customized reformers.
47 Tamal Vista Blvd E, Corte Madera; 415.758.2384
Owner Hether Riley opened a San Rafael branch of the music education school that boasts locations around the world in July. The lesson structure “gives students a reason to push through the hard stuff to practice and play for the fun of it,” Riley says. The school’s first two shows will be at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley in September.
4150 Redwood Hwy, San Rafael; 415.877.7625
More from Marin:
- Marin’s Cities & Towns: Mill Valley
- 5 Best Places to Get Barbecue in Marin — With a Global Flair
- Stewards of a Historical Gem: How the Sweetwater Music Hall Was Re-invented as a Nonprofit to Preserve a Legendary Venue
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.