Eastside landmark Sonoma’s Best sold

Gayle and Tom Jenkins have confirmed that their Sonoma’s Best deli, café, and wine shop has a sale pending and is in escrow.

The East Napa Street location has a long history as a hub of market activity for Sonoma eastsiders.

The store was built in 1913 by a mail carrier and his wife as Buena Vista Grocery and Service Station.

Hans von Sydow purchased the store in 1923 and added an unofficial card room and dance hall in the back.

Bertha von Sydow’s son, Ted Richter, operated the store until about 1980 – it was a place where neighbors picked up last minute loaves of white bread and canned peas and kids rode their bikes to get candy bars.

In the late 1980s and ’90s, Jerry Pipho and Dorothie Marsden improved the building and ran a wine shop and deli; the Jenkins purchased the property in 2000 and operated Nonna’s Eastside Market as well as the cottages.

According to Tom and Gayle Jenkins, they “purchased the property commonly known as 1190 E. Napa St. in April 2000. At the time, the one-half acre parcel consisted of a general store and four cottages, each of which was in a serious state of disrepair.

“The cottages were built in the early 1930s and, initially, had been used as temporary rental units and later as housing for seasonal vineyard workers.”

In 2004, the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation presented the store with the Award of Excellence for Restoration of a Historic Site. Sondra Bernstein then operated the store as “the fig pantry” and further refined the cottages as Les Petites Maisons, named one of the most romantic getaways in the west by Sunset magazine.

A drunk driver barreled through Bernstein’s fig pantry, curtailing her deli operation there. Eventually the Jenkins reopened the store as Sonoma’s Best, allegedly a favorite stop of Lady Gaga’s.

Tom Jenkins said, “Gayle and I are pleased with what we have accomplished with the old store and cottages on Sonoma’s Eastside and have every confidence that the new owners will take the property to an even higher level.”

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