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Costeaux French Bakery opens on-the-go restaurant at Sonoma County airport

Costeaux French Bakery, a staple in Sonoma County for nearly a century, has landed at Sonoma County’s regional airport.

The Healdsburg-based coffee, sandwich and pastry shop expanded this month into the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, opening a cafe at a jet hangar just a short walk from the terminal. Owners hope the concept takes off with private and commercial airline passengers, as well as riders of bus and shuttle companies that serve the airport.

“It’s an added value to the airport that we think will be complimentary to what is already there, as well as be able to support growth at the airport,” said Will Seppi, president of Costeaux. “We recognize that people have busy lifestyles and a lot of commitments. We continue to focus on high-quality products, prepared foods, sandwiches, salads, croissants and signature pastries, now for people that want something on a quick-service basis.”

The “on-the-go” location will offer a more limited takeaway menu than the company’s flagship restaurant, which started in 1923. It is the fourth eatery opened by Costeaux, joining sister café Tia Maria, which opened in Roseland late last year, and a satellite store inside Big John’s Market in Healdsburg that opened in 2016.

To emphasize the to-go functionality, Costeaux’s airport location will accept only credit and debit cards, as well as electronic payment systems such as Apple Pay. No cash will be accepted.

“We believe it’s well suited for the concept we have there,” Seppi said. “We analyzed what guests would want for on-the-go and thought that would be a good approach to it for speeding up the transaction and the line, though there will probably be a learning curve while people get familiarized.”

Costeaux will provide airport visitors with an alternative to Sky Lounge Steakhouse & Sushi Bar, the only restaurant inside the terminal. Two hours of free airport parking may draw in some nearby residents out looking for lunch as well.

“We were looking for a taste of Sonoma County, focused on local products and goods you can buy on your way into or out of the airport,” said Jon Stout, the airport’s manager. “Costeaux is very well known, and we’re happy to have it here. They have a really good reputation and should augment what we have.”

Those waiting outside the terminal for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit or Airport Express shuttles, or to take a regional bus for Sonoma or Mendocino counties, can also stop in for a quick bite. With an estimated 300,000 riders aboard the four transit operators, the new eatery should make happy customers out of those who don’t have time to dine in for a meal, he said.

Costeaux On the Go will initially operate Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with plans to expand its hours as word spreads and more seasonal and weekend flights return. United Airlines added a daily direct flight from Santa Rosa to Denver International Airport last month, and American Airlines will add summer nonstop routes to Los Angeles International next month and to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in June.

Minneapolis-St. Paul-based Sun Country Airlines again returns to Sonoma County Airport for a daily direct flight to Minnesota on May 10, and to Las Vegas this fall. With other service gains and expansion of commercial passenger flights, Costeaux is planning to become an airport mainstay.

“You’ll still have to go to the main cafe for our eggs Benedict, but people can come on in for a cup of coffee, sandwich and a pastry,” Seppi said. “We’re very optimistic for the entire airport operation and Sonoma County as it continues to grow and establishes itself as a great regional hub for transportation, and for the local business community and visitors touring the area.”

The new airport location will host a grand opening event with free coffee and pastries on Thursday from 9-11 a.m.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or kevin.fixler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @kfixler.

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