Sonoma County’s Petaluma has been quietly reinventing itself from cow town to North Bay jewel. It was recently named number one in Harpers Bazaar’s best places to visit, home to new foodie havens, and there’s a Highway 101 widening project to speed your path there. The newest kid on the block is Native Kitchen and Kombucha Bar.
Located in a former chocolate boutique on Petaluma Boulevard North, Native Kitchen has a light, airy feel. From the stylish French-looking couch in the window to the soothing light turquoise and white paint, zinc bar, and giant dream catcher on the wall, the ambiance is less Sonoma County and more Melrose Place. Perhaps not surprising since the owners, Jasmine and Joseph Dravis, are recent L.A. transplants.
The couple are drawing on their respective backgrounds: Jasmine as a personal chef with a focus on clean eating; Joseph a winemaker, beer brewer, and now kombucha brewer. The duo have bold ambitions for a healthy eatery and kombucha bar that doesn’t alienate enjoyers of fine wine and good food.“Many restaurants serving vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free food, are almost cult-like in their approach, and that can feel exclusive to many people,” says chef and owner Jasmine Dravis. “We want to be inclusive — serving healthy, healing food from local producers, without the dogma.”
Native Kitchen offers a broad range of healthful and tasty-sounding food, from skillets loaded with local ingredients like stuffed squash, quinoa, and kale ($12), to salads and wraps ($9-$16), and tastings and share plates, including a Sonoma cheese board ($12). Just as comprehensive is the drinks menu. Many cocktails are based around kombucha, mixed either with a shrub or a traditional cocktail base. There are Kombucha Elixirs, like the delicious Ginger Mule ($7), smoothies, juices and a comprehensive wine list with local and European offerings.
Currently the kombucha on tap is not brewed by Joseph Dravis, but his brewery is already up and running across town, near Lagunitas Brewing Company, and ultimately the plan is to fill locals’ growlers with kombucha.
Sampling a couple of dishes revealed some kinks that need to be worked out. The stuffed squash had a nice spicy heat to it, and although rather burned in parts was only slightly warmed through, as was the accompanying quinoa. “The Spread” — served with a quarter of a chicken, jalapeño corn bread, quinoa and kale ($15) — was disappointing. The chicken was very dry, barely warm and like the squash, appeared to have been cooked some time prior.
Hopefully these are just teething issues. Native Kitchen has promise, is a welcome addition to downtown Petaluma and well worth a visit on your next trip to Sonoma County.
Native Kitchen is at 110 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, (707) 559-3750