July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012
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Estate Restaurant (courtesy of Estate).

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Chef Rudy Mihal (courtesy of Heather Irwin).

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

~ESTATE RESTAURANT~, owned by chef Sondra Bernstein of ~THE GIRL & THE FIG~ in Sonoma, will close in late September 2012.

The news comes on the heels of the sale of the historic property that’s been home to the restaurant since it opened in 2008. Once owned by the daughter of General Mariano Vallejo, the two-story building has been purchased by Darius Anderson, owner of Kenwood Investments and the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Anderson also recently purchased ~RAMEKINS CULINARY SCHOOL AND EVENT CENTER~ located next door and reportedly plans to operate the properties jointly. He takes over October 1st, 2012.

The lease originally ran until 2013, but reps say Bernstein and managing partner John Toulze decided to close Estate in the wake of the sale and refocus on their other restaurants, including a new Sonoma event space called Suite D. “They’re in a place of recalibrating,” said Anne Abrams, a company spokesperson. There is no plan to reopen Estate elsewhere.

“We appreciated the opportunity to steward the historical Sonoma property at 400 West Spain Street and know it will now transition into good hands with Darius Anderson,” said Bernstein. Toulze added, “Our exploration of Italian cuisine won’t end with this closing. We are excited about hosting pop-up dinners featuring some of the favorites from Estate’s menu at Suite D.”

Estate will continue serving dinner Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 5pm and Sunday brunch from 10am-3pm. 400 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-933-3663.

Also in Sonoma, ~CAFE 522~ (522 Broadway, Sonoma) quietly closed over the weekend, less than a year after opening. Despite positive reviews, owners have sold the business to chef Rudy Mihal.

Reached by phone, Mihal (formerly of Odyssey) says he plans to take over the space on August 1st, 2012, with a soft opening slated for late August. He’s bringing in a front-of-the-house manager from the Michael Mina Group and hopes to transform the restaurant into a contemporary American eatery. No word on the name yet, but Mihal assures us the black truffle and short rib burger (minus the foie) is coming back.

The restaurant has seen a whirlwind of owners in the last four years, first as Shiso, then as Lokal, and most recently as 522. Stay tuned for details.