Looking for a late-night nosh? In Sonoma County, that can be a challenge.
Sure, some restaurants stay open until 11 p.m. on weekends, but if you're a night owl with a fuel gauge that often points to empty at midnight, you might have to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to fill 'er up.
"In the city, you can go to Nopa (until 1 a.m.), for a full, sit-down dinner with cocktails," said Louis Maldonado, executive chef of Spoonbar and Pizzando in Healdsburg. "I went there at Christmas, and it was amazing to see that energy late at night."
Maldonado, who moved to Healdsburg a year ago after working at Aziza and other top kitchens in San Francisco, plans to remedy the 10 o'clock eating curfew this summer. And that's good news for folks in the food services industry, who don't get off work until their customers are home in their beds, sound asleep.
Starting this month and, hopefully, continuing through the summer, Pizzando will seat customers from 10:30 to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday nights only, offering a simple menu of tacos, pizza and other fun fare as part of its "Late Night Global Snack Shack." (It's normally open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 or 10 p.m. daily.)
"It's food from all the cultures that have great late-night food," said the 32-year-old chef, who grew up in the East Bay and Ukiah. "Hamburgers don't really work ... that's too much of an investment."
The late-night menu is also aimed at out-of-town visitors, who may need some reinforcement after a concert, an event or a wedding party.
"It will be lit up at night, and if it's hot, we'll have the doors open and the music up," he said. "It's about having fun, and the food and the energy that we're going to generate."
For the once-a-week feast, Maldonado and his kitchen staff have crafted a menu of adventurous bites that they themselves would want to enjoy after work.
Think comfort foods like cornbread smothered with chile and fried chicken dunked in jalape? vinegar.