Lokal Restaurant going and new 'Cafe 522' coming to Sonoma
Broadway dining location changing ownership, name and menu
John and Heidi Cowles, owners of Lokal Restaurant at 522 Broadway in Sonoma announced Monday that they will be closing their restaurant on July 23. The space will not be empty for long however, as prospective new restaurateurs, Todd Harbron and Jay Gardner, are negotiating a lease to open Cafe 522 in that space sometime in early September.
John Cowles explained that in spite of the fact that revenues for their restaurant are up, the challenge of running a restaurant and being the parents of two children, 3 and 5, was too much. The Cowles opened their restaurant in March of 2010, but a combination of factors, including a cold spring and summer and slow fall and winter, prompted them not to renew their lease in May.
"We want to thank everyone for their support and make it known this decision has no bearing on the successful momentum we believe is in full motion here in town. Revenues are up and more tenants now occupy recently vacant plaza properties. It's still a challenging economy but we see things getting better here every month. If we had the human resources to manage the restaurant and be successful full-time parents for our children we would do it," they stated.
Harbron and Gardner currently live in Pasadena, but will be moving to Sonoma. Harbron was, for the past 10 years, Vice President of Finance at FreshPoint Southern California, a division of Sysco specializing in wholesale fresh produce. Before that, he was Director of Finance at Sysco's Portland office.
Gardner also worked at Sysco in a variety of posts, most recently in the "center-of-the-plate" (main course) food division.
Both have a passion for wine and good food Harbron said this week. "We have lots of experience on one side of the food business, and it has been our dream to use that experience and our passion to create a restaurant that people will really enjoy coming to," he stated.
Harbron described the cuisine as "Upscale American gourmet comfort food," with an emphasis on quality ingredients and culinary skill that takes something as ordinary as pizza or macaroni and cheese and makes it extraordinary.
Their first task after completing lease negotiations is to hire a great chef. A search has already started, Harbron added.
In the meantime, Cowles said Lokal would remain open until July 23.
"Please help us celebrate our German and Hungarian cuisine, local valley wines and superb beer imports until we close. We are thankful to be part of the Sonoma community and hope you've found the Lokal experience as one of good value and authentic ambiance at 522 Broadway," he concluded.