Linda Taub learned the intricacies of the restaurant industry at an early age. Over the course of her childhood, her family owned eight restaurants in and around New York City, including the Old Homestead, Shines, Manny Wolf’s and Double Dolphin.
She says that she saw how challenging the restaurant business can be and how crucial it is to be flexible and willing to pivot and adapt. After two years of renovation challenges, her team is currently putting the finishing touches on the Taub Family Outpost in the two-story white stucco building on the southwest corner of the Plaza. The new bright, funky indoor space was designed by Bay Area native Becky Carter.
When it opens in August, the 64-seat Taub Family Outpost will offer a small market, a full-service restaurant and a hidden cocktail bar. The downstairs market will sell a variety of prepared foods to take away or eat in-house and there will be a counter for wine tasting of labels both local and from around the world. A retail space will sell picnic gear, accouterments for wine and food, as well as branded logo wear.
Upstairs will be a “family” room with in-house dining and drinking - restaurant seating and a lounge area. Hidden in the back is a bar accessed through a huge sliding barn door – open primarily at night. Whether it is kombucha on tap or possibly a monthly high-tea offering, Taub and project manager Jared Clevenger stressed that they are eager to bring options to Sonoma that aren’t currently offered.
“Why duplicate efforts,” Clevenger said.
Taub said that she knew from the beginning that the space had the potential to be much more than a tasting room. “Napa and Sonoma are long on tasting rooms, and short on spaces that offer a variety of options,” she said.
Linda Taub said that what really drew her team to the building was its location. “There is no building more prominent right on the Plaza except for City Hall,” she said. “It’s just a great corner.”
Down the road, Clevenger even hopes to get permission to transform a hidden, unused back courtyard for some outdoor seating. “The City has been very supportive,” he said. “They want this corner to be beautiful. It has been kind of drab for so long.”
Clevenger said that the goal is to offer three separate experiences – from the marketplace to the lounge to the hidden cocktail bar. “In the morning, we’ll have communal seating downstairs and most people will grab breakfast to go or have a coffee at the bar.” Upstairs will open for lunch and the back bar will open in the afternoon for happy hour. The Outpost will open at 7:30 a.m. seven days a week and stay open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
With most Plaza spots shut tight as a drum in the evening, Clevenger hopes that hospitality workers, winemakers and locals in general will enjoy the Outpost as a place to “hang out after work and connect in a social space.”
Taub stressed that the place will cater to both locals and tourists. “If you take good care of locals, they will keep coming back all year long,” she said.
Clevenger is conducting an on-site job fair June 11 to 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “We hope that potential employees find the concept and the energy to be really attractive,” he said. He already has an executive chef in place, Sonoma native Trevor Anderson. Anderson described the menu as “internationally and seasonably-influenced California cuisine.”
497 First Street West
The Taub Family Outpost’s white stucco building is currently owned by Linda Detert. It has a long history.
· Jacob Leese purchased the lot from the City of Sonoma in 1848, according to local historian Alice Duffee.
· Through the late 19th century, a one-story wood frame general store occupied the site.
· Peter Yenni subdivided the lot, built the current building and sold it to Fred Bulotti in 1912.
· Valley National Bank purchased the building in 1923 and the ground floor housed a series of banks for the next 40 years.
· The Hy-Lond Corporation purchased it in 1967 and it underwent a series of renovations to its current design.
· Prior to the Taubs, the bottom story of the building was occupied by Sonoma Home and the top story was most recently the temporary home of the Index-Tribune.