A lot packed into tiny Graton

  • 12/5/2010: D1:
    1/31/2008:D1: The Graton Gallery in downtown Graton.
    PC: The Graton Gallery in downtown Graton features the work of eight local Sonoma County artists. (Press Democrat/ Christopher Chung)

Downtown Graton is only one block long, but visitors still have to jockey for a parking spot.

Two major reasons for that are the Willow Wood Market and Cafe, at the corner of Graton Road and Edison Street, and its slightly more upscale sister restaurant across the street, the Underwood Bar and Bistro.

"There was pretty much nothing here when we opened the Willow Wood 17 years ago," said Matthew Greenbaum, proprietor and executive chef of both places. The Underwood opened about a decade ago.

The Willow Wood serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has a shady outside dining patio in the back. The Underwood, open for lunch and dinner, has a bocce ball court behind the restaurant.

"We try to offer a little bit of everything for the locals, but we also get people from all over Sonoma County," Greenbaum said.

These two spots are not the only restaurants on the block. The busy Mexico Lindo Restaurant stands next to the Willow Wood.

Even if you're not hungry, there is still plenty to do, with antique, art and clothing shops, and the MD Market in the center of town.

The lively Graton Gallery, owned and operated by a partnership of seven local artists, offers rotating exhibits Wednesday through Sunday.

The current show is "Dog Treats," a display of whimsical animal art by Santa Rosa painter Mylette Welch, running through Aug. 19.

Through the gallery, visitors can enter its open-air sculpture court next door.

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