Text By Tanya Henry
Photography By Patrik Argast
“Omotenashi” or “to entertain guests wholeheartedly” might be the best single word to describe the highly anticipated Single Thread restaurant/farm/inn slated to open in downtown Healdsburg this fall. Given the restaurant’s founders Kyle and Katina Connaughton spent years cooking and farming in Japan, it’s not surprising the husband and wife team have embraced the East Asian country and incorporated many of its customs, philosophy and traditions into their singular concept.
“Single Thread is a shared vision that has been shaped by many mentors and experiences we have had throughout our lives”, says Kyle Connaughton who brings his substantial culinary chops to this very personal venture. The celebrated chef began his career working in a Japanese restaurant in Southern California and went on to cook at Spago; three-Michelin starred Michel Bras in Hokkaido, Japan, and the UK’s Fat Duck Restaurant, which was named “Best Restaurant in the World” during his reign.
In keeping with the duo’s keen attention to every detail of their multi-faceted venture, Katina Connaughton heads up the couple’s five-acre Single Thread Farm in Alexander Valley where she oversees the production of everything from fruit and vegetable gardens, olive trees, bee hives and heritage-breed chickens. Yes, farm fresh eggs will also be on the menus.
Before diners sit down to their pre-ordered 11-course tasting menu (they will select from omnivore, vegetarian or pescatarian options); canapés on the rooftop garden followed by a greenhouse tour will kick-off their culinary adventure. The chefs’ carefully constructed tasting menus will feature hyper-seasonal ingredients farmed with a micro-seasonal approach that results in peak season perfection. Along with customized menus, there will also be plenty of opportunities to sample local wines from the renowned Sonoma Wine country region.
New York based AvroKO is behind the restaurant’s modernist design. A minimalist sensibility permeates the 52-seat main dining room and Japanese accents are evident throughout the space—including handmade custom dishes and donabe (clay pots). Exquisite table settings, personal thank you notes, and special seed packets from the couple’s farm are just a few of the thoughtful touches this much-more-than-a-restaurant offers each guest. And, for those who can’t get enough, five exclusive suites are also available to reserve and include a gourmet breakfast and the opportunity to learn about sustainable gardening and winemaking practices.
Dubbed the most important restaurant opening of 2016, it’s safe to say we will be hearing much more about this unique wine country restaurant experience in the months to come.