Sonoma’s Depot Hotel & Restaurant sold
Sonoma’s historic Depot Hotel & Restaurant has been sold to Ken and Stacy Mattson’s Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, the group that has purchased everything from Cornerstone to Ramekins, racking up more than $130 million in Sonoma Valley real estate in the past five years. Seller Virginia (Gia) Ghilarducci informed guests and staff members Sunday evening with son Tony by her side.
The 1870 building was constructed of stone from Gen. Mariano Vallejo’s quarries and was intended as a three-room home. One of the building’s earliest subsequent owners, Italian immigrant Giacomo Mazza, was a stonemason who turned the living room into a saloon.
In 1890 the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad purchased the Sonoma Valley Railroad and extended the tracks adjacent to the side of the saloon.
When the railroad station was built across the street (now the Sonoma Valley Historical Society’s Depot Park Museum), the railroad bought the saloon and added a kitchen to serve passengers. Later they added eight rooms upstairs called the Northwestern Depot Hotel. For several years the establishment served robust Italian dinners to Sonoma residents until the building became a private residence again in 1923.
After 12 years of restoration, the Depot Hotel opened again as a restaurant.
Michael and Gia Ghilarducci purchased the Depot Hotel & Restaurant in 1985 and moved into the upstairs with their family, including son Antonio (Tony) and daughter Gianna, who is now married to attorney and Sonoma Valley Unified School District trustee John Kelly.
After master chef Michael Ghilarducci suddenly passed away in 2014, son Tony took over as executive chef, having learned from his father and worked at several top restaurants including the French Laundry.
As the family’s focus changed, Gia offered the place for sale for $5 million in 2019, including the building and beautiful pool and west-facing patio.
The purchase price to the Mattsons was not disclosed, although the couple has been known to offer over market value on some of the many properties they have purchased since 2016.
Gia Ghilarducci told staff and guests Sunday evening that nothing would change and that the deal would close in two weeks. She did not respond to repeated emails and phone messages.