A few minutes before the last service of 2018 began our entire staff gathered in the Barndiva garden to celebrate having reached the end of another crazy year of hospitality in Healdsburg. We are a lucky bunch, and we know it. Surrounded by an indelible landscape where we are able to source extraordinary food and wine, in a beautiful part of a state that will continue to protect the environment, we feel blessed indeed. But that is only part of it. Our ‘little’ quarter acre in the heart of Healdsburg is an oasis, and we savor it. Early in the mornings, long before guests arrive, when the air is clear and crisp and a lingering scent of chicory from Flying Goat Roastery co-mingles with whatever is baking here in the ovens, the town feels like it did when we first arrived 15 years ago, small and familiar.
Great restaurant teams have this in common, they rise or fall together, constantly juggling the challenges of a balancing act of so many visceral elements.
This year was an especially momentous one as Mark Hopper joined us as executive chef, along with a new director for all our many wine programs, Chappy Cottrell. If the last service of the year was bittersweet, as beloved Drew Wycoff took his leave after nine great years and the dining room’s Paula Morais headed out of Healdsburg with husband Samuele, sadness was tempered by the knowledge that what has kept the Barndiva experience relevant, an ability to take what the family is passionate about and channel it from the farm back into food, wine, cocktails, art and design, is alive and kicking.
Here then is a short album of the last day of the year. When we re-open on the 9th (12th in The Gallery) with Randy Dodge leading The Gallery kitchen, there will be an evolving menu with new dishes. We are taking it one step at a time; Mark is a chef who does nothing in half measures. Sunday Suppers will resume in Feb and showcase more of the Mediterranean classics he loves. Everything we’ve tasted so far is fresh and exciting with much more to come as new farmers and purveyors Mark has worked with in the past join us.
As for those first few hours of 2019, Tory Teasley and his incredible band did not disappoint. They rocked the house with a great set starting a few minutes before midnight - the perfect end to a tumultuous year in Northern California, and let’s face it, around the world. Tory is a beautiful force of nature - at this crossroads we need all the positive energy we can harness if we are going to do more than survive. Our goal is to thrive. And to bring you along with us.
So yeah, It Takes A Village. We love ours.
Come visit in 2019.
Happy New Year