County Bench restaurant closes in downtown Santa Rosa

County Bench Restaurant in Santa Rosa on 7/16. Heather Irwin/PD


The downtown Santa Rosa restaurant County Bench, opened more than a year ago, has been shuttered, with owners the Chandi Hospitality Group announcing plans to start an Indian food restaurant in the same location.

“All good things must come to an end. We have decided to close the County Bench Kitchen and Bar for rebranding,” a notice posted to the door of the Fourth Street restaurant said Tuesday. “We are thankful for all the love and support the community has given us over the last year.”

Sonu Chandi, founder and CEO of the Chandi Hospitality Group, said turnover in the kitchen had been a challenge in sustaining County Bench, which had previously lost its two acclaimed local chefs, Bruce Frieseke, formerly of Applewood and Bella Vineyards, and Ben Davies, previously of Petite Syrah, Spoonbar and Mirepoix.

“It has been a battle to find a chef who can bring business and creativity together. We have a lot of connections in Indian chefs so we plan to reopen as Indian Food & Social Club — that has been in the plans for a long time,” Chandi said.

The family company includes more than a dozen North Bay food and drink establishments, among them three others in downtown Santa Rosa: the adjacent Stout Bros. pub; Beer Baron, soon to open off Old Courthouse Square; and Bibi’s Burger Bar on Third Street.