Even with Covid-19, new businesses are still opening, and it’s a better time then ever to support local. Here are some new openings, happenings and updates to check out (safely) around Marin County this October.
EAT & DRINK
Sausalito native Aaron Hothem developed an infatuation for smoking meats at the tender age of eight. “My Mom was vegetarian so I always did the meat cooking,” the chef at the recently opened Novato restaurant says. The Redwood High grad partnered with Novato native and San Marin grad Ryan Joyce to bring southern flavors and plenty of smoked meats to an all-day menu that includes avocado toast, breakfast burritos and a classic Reuben with braised sauerkraut. A complete remodel of the former Perry’s Deli space means ample, picnic-style shaded seating outside, too.
7380 Redwood Blvd, Novato
With two of three owners of the long-running San Francisco wine bar living in Marin (Germain Michel lives in Forest Knolls and Romain Martinez lives in San Rafael), it is perhaps no surprise to see the latest Amelie land squarely in Fairfax. The Marin outpost boasts house made pastries and breads (pan au raisin, croissants) from chef Yannick Dumonceau (ONE65) and Moschetti coffees for its traditional French breakfast. Lunch and dinner are the work of Brian Starky (Saison, Plum) who shines a light on French (escargot with garlic butter, salad Nicoise) and Californian (slow-baked steelhead, gem lettuces with fennel) fare. The wine list, however, is 100% French.
71 Broadway Blvd, Fairfax
Managing partner Shah Bahreyni joined with partner Peter Paul and executive chef and partner Christian Pulido (True Food Kitchen, The Lodge at Pebble Beach) to transition Novato’s Boca Tavern to this California cuisine concept. Savor oakwood-grilled Manila clams, Filipino style beef short ribs or soft shell crab with Blue Lake beans on the terrace for now. A modern dining room, replete with George Nelson bubble lamps, awaits a return to indoor dining.
340 Ignacio Blvd, Novato
Baker Cameron Esaryk (Green Gulch Farm) will continue to make pizzas and desserts for sister restaurant Watershed and Shoreline Café in this Mill Valley restaurant’s embedded Alan Scott bread oven. A transition back to a bakery (the space was Village Bakery for 30 years before the Tartine team honed their chops here and then current owner Ged Robertson took over with Small Shed Flatbreads) means the oven’s warmth will now burnish breads during the small hours each day. Look for hearth style breads (apple walnut), breakfast sandwiches, pastries (cinnamon buns) to be paired with barista drinks from Four Barrel Coffee and focaccia-style pizzas at lunch with the same Central Milling grains and organic approach as before. “It will be 5 days a week to start, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.,” Robertson says.
17 Madrona St, Mill Valley
An effort to find crab when high levels of domoic acid shuttered Marin’s crab fishing season a few years ago turned Fairfax resident Don Mayfield into a sought-after sourcing star. With Covid restrictions stymying the sustainable fishing tours he once ran from a boat docked at San Francisco’s Pier 45, Mayfield turned to sourcing locally-sourced, sustainably-fished sea creatures full-time. Fresh-cut filets of king salmon, black cod and California-sourced bluefin as well as Don’s spicy poke are just a few of the items to be delivered directly to your door or picked up in Fairfax.
Recipes from Victor’s mother and meals originally served to Sol Food’s employees define the latest spin-off of the Puerto Rican food empire owned by Victor Cielo and Sol Hernandez. Located in the dining space of the San Rafael original, this takeout only spot serves up spaghetti with garlicky shrimp, tacos with Victor’s mom’s red sauce and a pork rib sandwich cradled by the original restaurant’s famous tostones.
902 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael
Known for its plant-based approach, the SoCal hospitality brand, Matthew Kenney Cuisine, arrived in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood this summer with a one-two takeout punch. Eggplant stands in for unagi in a tempura roll and other Japanese specialties at Woodblock while Italian comfort food (think meatballs, pizza, and lasagna) define Baia. When permitted, Baia will welcome guests back to the space which housed Jardiniere for over 20 years.
300 Grove St, San Francisco
AC Hotel Santa Ross opened at Railroad Square this summer with 142 rooms and Marriott’s Commitment to Clean and CDC cleanliness standards in place. It offers a preview of the Marriott brand for the future San Rafael branch (currently under construction) and a traditional hotel experience in a bed and breakfast marketplace. Yes, breakfast is available and an open lobby with a wide bar welcomes guests to linger, just like they did in The Before Times.
300 Davis St, Santa Rosa
Owner Chris Bacchi, MD opened this San Rafael body and skin care clinic in June, specializing in non-invasive, comfortable and effective body sculpting services and skin care laser treatments, including skin rejuvenation and a program to develop pelvic floor integrity.
807 D Street, San Rafael
Coming in on time and on budget and utilizing Measure E funds from a 2013 ballot measure, San Rafael debuted the new downtown headquarters for both its fire and police departments. Now seismically safe and built to LEED Gold standards, the buildings are expected to last for at least a century, serving the community during current and future emergencies and disasters.
1375 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael
An organizational name change to Vivalon from Whistlestop reflects the community growth and commitment to the future for the San Rafael-based non-profit. Transportation services will be known as Whistlestop Wheels by Vivalon
and Jackson Café will shift to Vivalon’s Jackson Café among other nomenclature changes.
930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael
After six successful years in San Anselmo, Emebet Korn moved her gallery of contemporary art by emerging and established artists to downtown Mill Valley
Emebet’s space plans to continue to host artist receptions, art-related conversations, poetry readings, and speaking engagements which highlight socially relevant themes.
100 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley
How to Help
For more ways to support local businesses, go here.
For more on Marin:
- Take a Dive into Tahoe’s Most Unusual Park — Emerald Bay
- Ode to the Avocado
- Marin County’s 5 Must-See Kayaking Spots
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 child’s school, 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.