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Perry’s restaurant coming to Old Courthouse Square hotel project in Santa Rosa

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The developers turning Santa Rosa’s iconic Empire Building into a boutique hotel have inked a deal with a well-known, family-owned San Francisco restaurant chain to develop a new eatery in Old Courthouse Square in 2019.

Perry’s, a San Francisco institution for nearly 50 years, has agreed to open a 7,000-square-foot restaurant in the ground floor of the vacant structure just south of the Empire Building.

It will also operate the hotel’s planned rooftop café and bar, a wine bar in the 1908 Empire Building itself and provide room service to the hotel’s 71 rooms.

The agreement was announced this week by Santa Rosa-based developer Hugh Futrell and his partner on the project, San Francisco-based Greystone Hotels.

The restaurant would join several eateries that have opened or expanded around Old Courthouse Square since the $10.5 million city project to unify the long-divided square was completed last year.

Others include Beer Baron, which has a patio on the square; Perch + Plow, which looks out on the square from the former Christy’s on the Square space; Belly Left Coast Kitchen, which is expanding; and Bollywood Bar and Oven, which is opening in the former County Bench location on Fourth Street this summer.

Perry’s has two locations in San Francisco: its original eatery on Union Street and a spot in the Griffin Hotel on the Embarcadero, which is operated by Greystone. Perry’s also has a third location in Larkspur.

The strong, decade long relationship between Greystone and Perry’s in the Griffin Hotel helped the new deal come together, founder Perry Butler said. Its Embarcadero location has been a very successful one “in what has become a very vibrant neighborhood,” he said.

So when Greystone asked Butler, a resident of Larkspur, and his children about their interest in expanding north, “it was an easy thing to say yes to,” he said.

He said he’s particularly excited about the project’s rooftop café.

“I think that’s going to be a real hot spot,” Butler said.

Perry’s reputation in the Bay Area as a place for classic American comfort food in an inviting atmosphere is expected to be a strong draw for Wine Country visitors and locals alike, Futrell said.

“Within the Bay Area core, Perry’s is of course one of the most recognized and historic brands, so we think it really fits in well here,” Futrell said.

Though demolition work on the site took longer than expected, interior renovations of the iconic clock-topped Beaux-Arts styled Empire Building are moving along and the hotel is on track to open toward the end of this year, Futrell said.

The second phase of the project, renovating 19 Old Courthouse Square, should be ready for occupancy by spring or summer of 2019, he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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