15 Sep 2014
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All the News that's Fit to Eat

Henry's Burgers closes; Fairmont San Francisco's executive chef comes to Hamilton; and the latest Fresh Choice rumor.

All the News that's Fit to Eat All the News that's Fit to Eat All the News that's Fit to Eat

The closure of has created another vacancy at beleaguered Square Shopping Center on Novato Boulevard. Henry's owner Teddy Attell said lease negotiations with the landlord did not work out and the burger joint closed about two weeks ago.

In parting, he had some severe criticism regarding the number of vacancies and the very large hole left in the shopping center when DeLano’s Market closed in August 2009. A CVS store anchors the shabby-looking center that serves the city's western neighborhoods.

Attell said that while he had a loyal customer base from the surrounding neighborhood families, that it was a struggle to grow that base with customers from greater Novato.

“There is no large tenant to draw people up there,” Attell said. “I still meet people who never heard of us — that’s very frustrating.”

He added that something special was needed for the shopping center and suggested that a Smart & Final store might be a good fit.

A call to the leasing agent Horizon Properties was not returned but a Notice of Eviction was taped to the shop’s window and it appeared that some but not all  of the furnishings and fixtures had been removed from the space.

Attell is looking for a new location and said he is even considering burger truck because it would come without a landlord.  He asked Novato Patch to pass along a message to his customers and thank everyone who supported Henry’s Burgers for 20-plus years.

Fairmont  Executive Chef at Hamilton

has played host to some amazing chefs at its in Novato. Demonstrations and classes are open to the public and benefit the program, which helps its students to transition from homelessness with training in the culinary arts.

This month Executive Chef J.W. Foster of the Fairmont San Francisco will have a demonstration of a spring menu. Foster is a devotee of locavore cooking (using locally grown ingredients) and will focus on seasonal ideas.

The three-course menu includes: barbecued quail with a tamarind-honey glaze, salmon carpaccio and chèvre cheesecake.

I’ve been to several of these demonstrations and it’s kind of like being in the audience of a cooking show with lots of laughs and plenty of tasting.

The cost is $49 per person and does not include wine. Wine is available for separate purchase by the glass. For more information and to sign-up online, visit the Homeward Bound website.

Fresh Choice Rumor Debunked

One of the best parts of our job at Novato Patch is running down a rumor to see if it’s true or false.  It’s a little bit like a journalistic scavenger hunt.

The latest rumor to hit the foodie circuit was that Sally Tomatoes, the Rohnert Park restaurant and catering company, was moving into the spot at Vintage Oaks that was formerly held by.

It was plausible. The source said the owner of Sally Tomatoes had been on Craigslist looking for kitchen help. The Fresh Choice location would suit the Sally Tomatoes cafeteria-style format and Novato is part of the company’s extensive catering territory, according to the Sally Tomatoes website.

This is a long build-up but a quick call was made to co-owner Gerard Giudice who was quite amused.  He “emphatically” denies the rumor. But he understood how it came about.

Guidice was helping his good friend Michael Dormer with the opening of his restaurant, . The two go way back to when they were waiters together and Guidice helped with designing the menu for Muscio’s, working the test kitchens and hiring the kitchen manager on Craigslist.

Guidice is a Novato High grad (‘80), so he doesn’t completely rule out a scenario that someday might bring him back to the area.  

If you’re ever at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, check out the Sally Tomatoes café and event center and see why it would have been a good fit for Novato. Or you can read this review from the Rohnert Park Patch.

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