Petaluma, the charming “working” town in south Sonoma County—and the place I call home— is a notoriously tough location for restauranteurs to succeed. As a result, I have learned to bide my time when a new kid hits the block, and see how it fares in the community before putting pen to paper. I’m glad to say that Stockhome, a Swedish-influenced Mediterranean eatery, with a candy store and pretty curated housewares for sale, that opened in August last year, has seemingly passed muster with our local crowd.
Before I dive into the menu and our dining experiences there, I want to take a minute to explore why I think Petaluma is so hard to crack for would-be restaurant owners. Of late, the Drawing Board has shuttered, with promises to reinvent itself soon with a new set-up and food offering that will work for locals (read: be profitable). The chicken joint (never liked the concept) on Keller Street, opposite Petaluma Market is gone—a spot that never seems to succeed. Izakaya Kitaru, the pretty tasty Japanese and sushi spot on Western Avenue, also gone.
So why is it so hard? In part, Petaluma (thankfully) doesn’t have the tourists that Sonoma and Healdsburg rely on to fill their coffers in the high season and weekends. That means, you really have to understand the local population, what they want to eat and can afford to spend, if you want to succeed. Stalwarts like Central Market and the updated Della Fattoria have a die-hard following among both residents and tourists. No doubt, their unwavering commitment to quality has a lot to do with it.
There are a couple of things that I think sets the team behind Stockhome, husband-wife duo, Chef Roberth and Andrea Sundell, apart. As longtime residents of Petaluma, they had the firsthand insight into what Petalumans are looking for. I’ve noticed that many folks don’t eat out during the week, yet occasionally may need a tasty and affordable dinner if they don’t have time to cook.
To keep prices on the mostly reasonable side, the team opted for counter service, you set your own table, and there is a range of prices on the menu. Small plates range from $6-12. A filling lamb and beef pita comes in at $10, or you can splurge on an 8oz WienerSchnitzel for $24.
With all that said, how is the food? For the most part, I think it’s pretty good. I love the falafel plate ($12) especially when I’m starving after horse riding. Monkey loves the pita stuffed with lamb and beef, and he always digs into the big pile of fries that come with it. I’ve enjoyed the pretty beet-cured gravlax ($12) on more than one occasion. And my friend enjoyed her Swedish pancake complete with whipped cream and strawberries ($7).
With that said, I’ve found some of the items to be pretty heavy on the vinegar/acid front, like the mustard dill sauce on the gravlax, or the dressing on my chopped Greek salad ($10). Like so heavy that you get a bit of sweat on! Lesson learned. I ask for my dressing on the side.
One Sunday brunch we ordered the potato latkes, with fig chutney. Unfortunately, the latkes lost their crispiness because there was some wetness from the figs. It seems to me, these are simple fixes and could be easily addressed.
Perhaps the most fun is picking out a handful of candies at the end of the meal to pop into a paper bag, bring to the counter to get weighed, and then munch on as we wander home.
If you’re hungry, want to eat tasty food that’s pretty quick to arrive at the table, in a light, bright cheery environment, then Stockhome is for you. You can’t make an reservation, so fingers crossed there’s a spot for you.
Stockhome is at 220 Western Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952