Chalkboard, a new small-plates bistro replacing the two-Michelin-starred Cyrus in Healdsburg, is undergoing renovations in anticipation of its opening May 6.
While the restaurant has kept its domed ceiling, the space has been brightened up, with the curtains pulled off the windows and the carpet replaced by wood floors.
The wall between the dining room and the kitchen has been removed, and plans call for marble-topped tables, banquette seating and hand-forged iron grates.
"There will be a big chalkboard in the dining room with daily specials," said executive chef Shane McAnelly, who spent the last two years at Va de V in Walnut Creek. "My background is Italian, but I try to keep my food modern California."
The chef will be sourcing produce from the Chalk Hill Winery garden, which is owned by Chalkboard owner Bill Foley, of Foley Family Wines. Chalkboard is housed in Les Mars Hotel, which Foley also owns.
McAnelly's opening menu offers upscale comfort fare such as Dungeness Crab Tater Tots with creme fraiche and Crispy Pork Belly with a slow-poached egg, fried grits and roasted Fresno chile puree.
"My food is pretty bold," he said. "I like chiles and acid to balance the dishes."
To complement the small-plates concept, the restaurant will serve wine flights with 3-ounce tastes and 30 wines by the glass, with an emphasis on local wines.
"It's about having fun," McAnelly said. "With this kind of food, people will try things they wouldn't normally, and the same with the wine."
The restaurant will be open for dinner daily, with lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting in the summer.
Eventually, Chalkboard will integrate breakfast and room service for Hotel Les Mars, McAnelly said.
A new entrance directly into the restaurant's dining room has been added at the rear of the Hotel Les Mars lobby.
You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.