Pearl’s Diner closed
Last Sunday was the last day for Pearl’s Diner off Fifth Street West; sad day that it was. Sonoma has lost another little restaurant full of character and characters and reasonable prices.
Chuck the owner, who in 16 years at Pearl’s never wanted to reveal his last name and commuted from the Peninsula, said he told his wife he would retire at 50 and he is now 52. So his wife gave him an ultimatum – and he is “retiring.”
Pearl’s has always had a hot rod and Coca Cola motif, even though they sell Pepsi products, complete with spinning padded stools at the counter and questionable air conditioning. But many locals went there almost daily for their All-American burger, chili, plate-sized pancakes, and chicken fried steak.
Chuck hooked this writer with his fluffy omelets and, more recently, with his Hawaiian breakfast special, which he created to honor is Hawaiian mother. If you have ever had Spam and eggs in Hawaii, you should have tried this: three substantial slices of fried Spam, two fried eggs on sticky rice, and green salad with the best spicy Thousand Island dressing ever.
Even though I dashed over as soon as I heard the news and emailed Mary Deely to come join me, he told her and another friend that the kitchen was closed but he could make them a pancake, which made them both very happy.
Chuck made lots of people happy in his 32-year culinary career, starting as a sushi chef who later owned a Jewish deli, and with Pearl’s hamburger joints around the Bay Area. Now with one child graduated from UCLA and on her way to medical school and one just finished high school, Chuck is ready to visit his properties and family in Hilo, Hawaii, Marin, San Mateo and Korea. The backside of his Pearl’s business card says Sonoma Real Estate Co., Inc. on Orange Avenue. The website sonomarealestateco.com does not appear to exist.
Two sources say the location will soon become a Mexican street-food restaurant.
In fact, Tuesday Chuck was already in Hilo, and wanted this writer to, “Tell everyone I really appreciate everyone and all the friendships. I’ve had a blast for all 16 years here in Sonoma.”
As he said last Sunday, “Gone with the wind!”
Serres blueberries are back
Judy Serres’ blueberries from Laytonville are back at both Sonoma Market and at our farmers markets. While they are $7.99 a bulk pound at Sonoma Market, Judy sells them for $5 a basket or $60 for 10 pounds of berries. To speed up the math, that means $6 a pound from her at farmers markets.
Cindy’s Backstreet Diner closes
Cindy Pawlcyn announced on Tuesday that she is closing her popular Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena on Saturday, July 7. Cindy’s Backstreet is next door on Railroad Avenue to Terra and Bar Terra, which owners Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone closed in late May after 30 years in business.
Pawlcyn is closing for what she seems to consider a good reason, meaning she received an unexpected offer for her building that she “couldn’t refuse,” as she told the Napa Register. Terra closed because they could not find workers who could afford to live in the area.
Pawlcyn still runs Mustard’s Grill in Yountville and was founder of Fog City Diner, Go Fish and Brassica. Her “Mustard’s Grill Cookbook” won the 2002 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook.