MENDOCINO Co., 6/19/23 — It’s a busy week in Mendocino County. Graduation celebrations are wrapping up and many families toasted dad on Sunday, June 18, for Father’s Day. This year, my dad chose a Tex-Mex restaurant for his Father’s Day lunch, opting out of the steaks and barbecue promos that litter our social media feed leading up to the big day. It’s also a long weekend for many with Juneteenth taking place on Monday, June 19. While there are no Juneteenth celebrations in Mendocino County this year, it’s an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of America’s “second Independence Day.”
Given the long weekend, I’ve obsessively monitored my tomatoes for the shift of green to red and I will be grilling a Roundman’s flank steak that’s been in my freezer for too long. This week I also hope to get up to the Redwood Valley Farmers Market in Lions Club Park (8920 East Rd.), which returned last week. It’s the 19th season for the market, which now operates every Sunday through October from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. It’s one of the best markets in the county and offers not just fresh produce, but delicious pastries from Good Eats ‘N Treats (don’t miss her new vegan and gluten-free cinnamon rolls, rumor has it they put Cinnabon to shame), savory focaccias from Seven Farms and honey from Roxy Bees, which is located just down the street from the park.
Pier Place opens in former Pier Chowder House space in Point Arena
The once dormant Pier Chowder House in Point Arena is teeming with life once again with the opening of Pier Place. The new restaurant serves “California coastal cuisine” and offers an exceptional view of Arena Cove from the dining room and sunny patio. Guests can sip beer (including Pliny the Elder on tap) and wines at the historic 19th century Bavarian carved wood bar. .The menu includes calamari, fish tacos, fish and chips, ceviche, chicken and Italian-style beef sandwiches, oysters, salads and clam chowder. Ownership is heavily marketing the space as a special event venue. In May, the dining room hosted the Point Arena High School prom. Pier Place is currently only open Friday through Monday from 12-5 p.m. with the hopes to expand for dinner later this month. 790 Port Rd., Point Arena, (707) 271-3080, pierplacepointarena.com.
Noyo River Grill moves from Noyo Harbor to new Fort Bragg location
One of Fort Bragg’s most popular restaurants, the Noyo River Grill, relocated to its new location at the site of the former Cliff House in Fort Bragg. Owned by the Medina family, the restaurant opened in May 2018 in Noyo Harbor. Almost five years to the day of its initial opening, it relocated to the newly renovated restaurant that housed the Cliff House, which closed in May 2021. The new venue offers guests stunning views of the ocean and a chance to watch boats come and go in Noyo Harbor. The restaurant is still serving the lunch and dinner menus from its prior location, including seafood, salads, chowders, pastas and steaks. One of its stand-out dishes is the tuna poke served with fresh wonton chips – it’s one of the best in the county. The restaurant also has a full bar and live music on the weekends. 1011 S. Main St, Fort Bragg, (707) 962-9050, noyorivergrill.com.
Mendocino’s Fog Bottle Shop opens natural wine bar
The county’s only natural wine store, Fog Bottle Shop in Mendocino, now has a wine bar. Operated by the owners of the Fog Eater Cafe, the shop offers glasses and wine flights of natural wines from around the world and small plates, including local cheese plates, deviled eggs, blue oyster mushroom paté, and tinned fish. Guests can sip and swirl on plush vintage furniture, while also shopping for wines, ciders, beers and sundries. Fog Bottle Shop, 45104 Main St., Mendocino, (707) 397-1940, fogeatercafe.com.
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas reopens its popular vegan restaurant in Talmage
After closing to the public in March 2020 due to the pandemic, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has finally reopened its vegan restaurant Jyun Kang, which serves “Malaysian-Indo-Chinese fusion” cuisine. Located on the vast site of the first major Buddhist monastic community in the country, the restaurant is operated by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. The menu, which is expected to expand this summer, includes appetizers (satay, dumplings and spring rolls), noodles and main dishes with mushrooms, eggplant, soy and seaweed as the main ingredients. The restaurant is open for lunch Thursday through Monday with special July 4 hours (see website). It’s cash only. 2001 Talmage Rd., (707) 468-7966, cttbusa.org.
The Company Kitchen in Philo to close June 30
This week, the Company Kitchen posted on its Facebook page that the restaurant will close at the end of June. Located in Philo, the casual restaurant serves Mexican food and burgers paired with local wine and beer. The Company Kitchen opened March 3, 2020 and seventeen days later the State of California declared a stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Keeping a restaurant running during the time that we have been open has been difficult to say the least,” the restaurant shared, “and we wish we could continue to do so, but unfortunately it is no longer possible.” The Company Kitchen is open now through June 30. 8651 CA-128, Philo, (707) 895-3698.
Cahto Tribe of Laytonville buys the Boomer’s Building
The Boomer’s Building in Laytonville was for sale for $1.7 million until a few weeks ago, when the Cahto Indian Tribe of Laytonville announced it purchased the property. “We do not own Boomer’s Bar or other businesses within, but look forward to maintaining a good working relationship with the tenants of the building,” the tribe shared on Facebook. The tribe had recently closed its Red Fox Casino. “When one door closes, another opens. We’re looking forward to what the future holds!”
Floyd & Connie’s Mendocino pop-ups wrapping up to focus on brick and mortar
The popular Mendocino dining pop-ups known as Floyd and Connie’s are coming to an end July 2. Presented by dynamic chef-duo Stephanie Butler and Nick Dorgan, the couple have offered their self-described “New school Americana” at the Waiting Room on Sundays since October. According to Butler, they are wrapping up the pop-ups to focus on “our forever home in Fort Bragg, estimated to open in early 2024.”
While the weekly event is winding down, Floyd & Connie’s is doing a one-night only takeover of Good Bones Kitchen, a new restaurant at the old Caspar Pub in Caspar, on Saturday, June 24. The five-course menu includes homemade focaccia, Parker House rolls with uni butter and Noyo Bay biscuits; Cajun shrimp toast and deviled eggs; gazpacho; an entree choice of chicken Milanese with mashed potatoes and pepperonata or mushroom piccata with brown butter polenta; sides of zucchini with pesto and garlic-braised swiss chard; and Frenet Branca grasshopper pie for dessert. Tickets are $65 per person. Contact [email protected] for more information.
June register round-up in Ukiah supports cancer resource provider
Shoppers at Ukiah Natural Foods in Ukiah can round-up their purchase at the register to support the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County. 721 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 462-4778, ukiahcoop.com.
Small but equally important updates
The Fog Eater Cafe in Mendocino celebrated its 4th anniversary recently with a party at the Fog Bottle Shop, located around the corner from the vegetarian cafe. Guests mixed and mingled while sipping natural wines, nibbling on local cheese and strawberry rhubarb pie, and listening to groovy tunes curated by the staff. Fog Eater Cafe, 45104 Main St., Mendocino, (707) 397-1806, fogeatercafe.com.
In Fort Bragg, Harvest Market’s Boatyard Grill reopened for the season and is serving tri-tip, grilled salmon, pulled pork, brisket, burgers and hot dogs. It’s open Fri-Sun 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Look for the tent out front, 171 Boatyard Dr., (707) 964-7000, harvestmarket.com.
Also in Fort Bragg, A Sweet Affair has temporarily closed its brick and mortar to focus on wedding and celebration cakes. Orders for custom sweets and desserts can be ordered via its website with 72 hour notice. A date has not been announced for reopening. (707) 961-1362, asweetaffairpatisserie.com.
The Little River Inn is now open for brunch every Sunday. The menu includes the Inn’s famous Swedish hotcakes, seasonal frittatas, avocado toast, eggs benedict, breakfast sandwiches, burritos and an over-the-top sounding pot pie comprising cheddar bacon biscuit crust with house made gravy and two eggs ($18). The Inn makes its own pork and chicken sausages, too. Brunch drinks include Ole’s Famous Bloody Mary ($9), LRI Ramos Gin Fizz ($9) and a carafe of mimosas for $14. 7901 Hwy 1, Little River, (707) 937-5942, littleriverinn.com.
In Westport, the Old Abalone Inn is now open for dinner on Sundays. Its summer hours are 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. 38921 CA-1, Westport, (707) 964-3688, westporthotel.us.
Mama’s Cafe in Ukiah is now open for brunch on Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 210 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 480-7627, mamascafeukiah.com.
Slam Dunk Pizza locations in Willits (1708 S. Main St., (707) 459-6811) and Ukiah (720 N. State St., (707) 463-1000) are offering salad bars again after the bars were closed due to the pandemic. Guests can build their own salads and choose from a selection of toppings, slamdunkpizza.com.
Note: Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture, weather and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.