Kenwood Press

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Business Beat: 03/01/2014

Business Beat

Jeff and Suzette Tyler of Palooza.

Pub grub in Kenwood

Palooza, Kenwood's first gastropub, has officially opened in the Kenwood Village shopping center. After an extensive remodel of the patio, kitchen and interior, Palooza has completely revised the space formerly occupied by Doce Lunas Restaurant into an airy, modern pub focusing on high-quality ingredients and über local beer and wine.

“We say 'use good ingredients and just don't mess them up,'” said owner Jeff Tyler. The seasonal menu offers both traditional and exotic pub grub. It runs the gamut from a gourmet grass-fed hamburger, to roasted bone marrow served with toast and micro greens, to a B.L.L.T. (bacon, lettuce, lox and tomato) sandwich. The food, of course, circulates around a hefty wine and beer list.

Under the direction of head chef Chris Hansen, whom Tyler originally met in a molecular gastronomy class, Palooza's food menu was designed to pair with and showcase the quality spirits on tap.

“The beers are as local as we can be. We bring in a variety of beers you can't get anywhere else,” said Tyler. “Some beers, we are the only ones north of the Golden Gate who are pouring them. Some are very local small brewers who haven't set up distribution yet and we buy directly from them.”

Tyler also took the direct route when choosing his wine list, going to his personal contacts at local wineries and asking to buy the wines directly from them. This means Palooza offers many wines that can't be found off winery premises, most of them within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant.

Although Palooza is a pub atmosphere, it's also family-friendly, and offers a kids menu as well.

Tyler, and his wife Suzette, out of Santa Rosa, are new to the restaurant business, but Tyler has become well-known in the Sonoma Valley catering scene. Tyler is almost completely self-taught. After almost two decades in the construction business, he remade himself as an entrepreneur with the Chicago Style Hot Dog stand near the Kenwood Farmhouse. Soon, his Pinot, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel dogs caught the attention of local wineries and Tyler jumped into the catering business. He expanded to a food truck - The Bunslinger - which he continues today, selling a variety of sliders and specialty fries.

As the catering business expanded, however, Tyler outgrew his space in Bennett Valley and began to think a restaurant was possible.

“When this space [in Kenwood] came up, literally five parcels over from where I originally started, I thought, 'I guess I'm meant to have a restaurant,'” said Tyler.

With a soft opening two weeks ago, the Tylers said they are listening to feedback and fine-tuning everything as they go along. “We are trying to serve a menu friendly for locals and tourists alike,” said Jeff.

They would also like Palooza to be a friendly hangout for everybody. The Tylers said they hope to offer a variety of events that will create a community center in the newly remodeled exterior patio space. They want to roll out a movie night for locals, a Hot Dog Happy Hour that includes the Chicago Hot Dog stand, beer and wine pairings, a food truck night, live music, and even a corn hole (bean bag) tournament.

Palooza is located in the Kenwood Marketplace at 8910 Sonoma Hwy. and at and They can be reached at 833-4000.

Savor Sonoma coming soon

Join 26 wineries throughout Sonoma Valley this March 15 and 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., for a food and wine experience. Wineries will be showcasing 2013 vintage wines straight from the barrels, sampling new releases, and offering award-winning wines paired with culinary creations prepared by local chefs and restaurants.

Meet winemakers, mingle with wine lovers behind-the-scenes, peruse art from local artists and listen to live music. Experience the best that Sonoma Valley has to offer.

Participating wineries are Arrowood, Benziger, B Wise Vineyards Cellar, Chateau St. Jean, Deerfield Ranch, En Garde, Enkidu, Eric Ross, Imagery Estate, Kaz, Kenwood Vineyards, Korbin Kameron, Ledson, Little Vineyards Family Winery, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Moondance Cellars, Muscardini Cellars,, Pangloss Cellars, Paradise Ridge, St. Anne's Crossing, Talisman Wines, Ty Caton Vineyards, Valley of the Moon, and VJB Vineyards & Cellars.

Tickets are $65 for a weekend pass; $50 for a Sunday only pass; designated driver weekend pass is $20, and designated driver Sunday pass is $10.

To buy tickets, go to

Chamber hosts Business Showcase in the Springs

The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce will host its first Business Showcase of 2014 at the “Big Tent” at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn on March 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. This is an opportunity for Sonoma Valley businesses and the general public to discover, connect and network with Chamber members.

Admission is free and the public is welcome. Food and wine tasting will be available.

For more information, call the chamber at 996-1033, or go to

Farm Bureau hosts classes

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau will be offering safety training classes in March for agricultural and related industry workers.

Workshops will take place March 11 and 12, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and will cover a range of topics, including pruning and pesticide safety training, forklift, tractor and ATV safety, heat stress, and field hygiene. The March 11 class will be in Spanish, and the March 12 class in English. Cost is $75 for Farm Bureau members, and $105 for non-members.

Also, CPR, first aid, and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training is being offered on March 16 (English) and March 17 (Spanish), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sessions will provide training to respond to accidents and sudden illnesses in emergency medical situations. Upon completion, two-year certificates will be given for CPR and first aid. Cost is $70 for Farm Bureau members, and $90 for non-members.

To sign up for either the safety training or first aid classes, call 544-5575, or email

SVVGA Sonoma Tastemakers” at St. Francis

The next event for the new Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association “Sonoma Tastemakers” program is at St. Francis Winery on March 29, 1 to 4 p.m.

Valley Ford Cheese Company will be the featured artisan producer that day, offering award-winning farmstead Italian cheese, including Estero Gold. The cheeses will be paired with St. Francis wines.

This event is free to the public.

St. Francis Winery is located at 100 Pythian Road. For more information, go to

Do you have business news? An event, a new product, a new CEO? Businesses of any size in Northern Sonoma Valley are welcome to send us their business news. Just email Any questions? Call 833-5155.

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Community Calendar

Virtual Book Club
Cal Alumni Club dinner
Sonoma Valley groundwater community workshop