Sonoma Cheese Factory sold
Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, a group of companies owned by real estate investors Ken and Stacy Mattson, has purchased the Sonoma Cheese Factory and plan to reopen the shuttered business on Saturday for the first time since 2018.
Financial terms of the Aug. 4 deal were not disclosed. The iconic 11,420-square-foot building, which overlooks the Sonoma Plaza, was priced at $4,275,000 when it was listed for sale in May by a trust for the Viviani family, the longtime owners of the property.
Casey Thompson, a former contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” will oversee future plans for the property, said Karin Rogers, director of operations and business development for Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group. Those plans will include a wine bar, a café, specialty foods, gifts and barbecue deli, as well as a cheese shop.
The buyer plans to keep the Sonoma Cheese Factory name and “there are no significant changes planned to the building.”
Thompson, 42, is director of culinary development for Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group. In addition to overseeing the Cheese Factory project, she is also developing the former General’s Daughter into a new restaurant called Georgette, and she is due to open a new dining spot, Folktable, at Cornerstone this fall.
“I am thrilled to oversee the next phase of the Sonoma Cheese Factory,” Thompson said in an email announcing the acquisition. “I look forward to honoring its important history within the Sonoma community while infusing its offerings with a refreshed seasonal menu sourced from our local farmers and purveyors.” She added that she hopes “to pay homage to that history with special seasonal menus that highlight the Cheese Factory’s signature local creation.”
“We are working closely with the Nina and Maria Viviani Trust to ensure that the spirit of the Sonoma Cheese Factory lives on,” Rogers said.
The Cheese Factory has been closed and vacant for almost two years. Sonoma Mayor Logan Harvey said the reopening was “welcome news.“
"Some of my earliest memories are of watching the cheese makers work their magic in that building,“ he said. ”I wish the Viviani family the best in their future endeavors and thank them for their years of service to the town, producing world-famous cheese, serving up delicious tri-tip sandwiches and employing generations of Sonomans. I hope the Viviani tradition of providing a locally grown, family-friendly, inclusive atmosphere will be continued by the new owners and that all members of our community feel welcome at the Cheese Factory for years to come.“
Initially, the Sonoma Cheese Factory will offer a limited menu and outside seating only. The business will “strictly observe” the county’s COVID hygiene and social distancing guidelines, according to the company.
Since their first acquisition in Sonoma Valley in 2018, the Ken and Stacy Mattson Trust, along with partner company LeFever Mattson, have purchased approximately $100 million in Sonoma Valley real estate.
Other Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group properties purchased over the past two years include Ramekins cooking school and event center, the General’s Daughter restaurant, Cornerstone Sonoma, the Boyes Food Center, the Cocoa Planet Chocolate Factory, the Dirty Girl Donut storefront on the Plaza, Sonoma’s Best deli, the former Ravenswood Winery property, Leland Fishing Ranch as well as more than a dozen homes in the area.