UPDATED: Sonoma's Mint and Liberty restaurant to close

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With what he described as deep sadness, James Hahn, owner of Mint & Liberty Modern Diner in Sonoma, announced Saturday that the restaurant will be closing after brunch on Sunday, Feb. 10. The “modern diner” in the Maxwell Village shopping center at 19101 Sonoma Highway opened in early November, 2018.

Hahn also said in a release that if the remaining staff find other jobs quickly, that he and partners Mila Chaname, Aaron Mills and Melissa Cameron might have to close sooner.

The same group also own the Sunflower Caffé on First Street West in Sonoma, a stand-in-line café with a sumptuous garden behind the historic adobe.

With Mint & Liberty, Hahn and partners, along with chef Michael Siegel, tried to introduce a variety of “modern” food concepts to Sonoma, which didn’t seem to take hold in the restaurant that started out as a Lyons and then was home to the Breakaway Café.

In a press release about the closing credited to Hahn, Chaname, Mills, Cameron and “the entire Mint & Liberty team,” the owners expressed how “truly rewarding” it had been to see the restaurant come to life after nearly two years developing the concept but that it was time to “admit that (their) plans weren’t as viable as (they) had hoped.”

“This certainly is not what we envisioned for Mint & Liberty,” the release said.

Upon opening, the release continued, “we received some excellent response... as well as some heartfelt criticism.”

In response to customer feedback, the restaurant at the end of November announced menu and pricing changes and introduced new breakfast offerings. “We wish we had more time to find our footing,” the ownership team said. “Unfortunately, that takes time and we opened our doors at the beginning of a tough winters season.

“We simply do not have the funds to keep the doors open at this point.”

Hahn emailed the Index-Tribune on Feb. 2 to say that the restaurant business is for sale for $595,000 including Type 47 liquor license and a remodeled kitchen, restrooms, and new ADA ramp. He said his Mint & Liberty team put “a significant amount” of money into the remodel.

Those interested should call Jeff Sacher at 526-1050. While they field offers, Hahn said they may rent out the site as an event space.

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