If you plan on making the rounds at the wineries — most people visit three to five in a day — then you definitely need fuel to keep you going and to ensure you remember the experience. Beyond the red juice, wine country is known the world over for its fine produce and ethical approach to meats, so every meal here can be superb, regardless of budget or what AVA you’re in.
Without further adieu, here are our top picks for breakfast and brunch in Sonoma County.
Feature photo: Courtesy of Sunflower Caffe
Hank’s Creekside Restaurant
Odds are good you’ll meet Hank, or a member of his family, when you stop in for breakfast. A local favorite since 1992, Hank’s Specials include Corned Beef Hash, Huevos Rancheros, and a homemade biscuit smothered in gravy. You might not need lunch. hanks-creekside.com
Located just off the lobby at Vintners Resort in Santa Rosa, River Vine restaurant boasts an inviting patio studded with umbrellas. Along with traditional offerings like Eggs Benedict and housemade granola, you’ll find sweet options like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with huckleberry compote, and Mini Cinnamon Sugared Donuts. vintnersresort.com
A historic landmark located on Sonoma’s main plaza, there’s a one-of-a-kind atmosphere at Sunflower Caffe. Like many other restaurants in the area, it serves a menu of local, seasonal food, including salt from the San Francisco Bay and milk from cows grazing in the Sonoma County pastures. But with the lively decor and always-friendly staff, this place is fail safe. Duck aficionados: the smoked duck sandwich with melted gruyere and balsamic onion jam is a bucket list item. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 8am to 3pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. sonomasunflower.com
Ever wanted to have breakfast in a classic western roadhouse with dollar bills decorating the ceiling? Here’s your chance. Open since 1859, this iconic Sonoma County saloon exudes historic charm and has become a local hang out within the community. Their menu features chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos and the famed chicken and waffle combo. Come for a substantial meal, funky ambiance and, perhaps, a fully-loaded bloody Mary? washoe.house
Wild Flour Bread
A bit off the beaten track, you’ll know it was worth the trip to Wild Flour Bread in Freestone the moment you walk in the door and see plates loaded with scones and loaves of bread — straight out of the wood-fired brick oven — stacked high. Offerings can change day to day, but expect scone varieties like raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry chocolate chip, and lavender. Breads range from Olive, and Garlic Rosemary, to the Gouda Flat with gouda, onion and herbs. The Sticky Bun bread is not to be missed and perfect to share, or not. We won’t tell. wildflourbread.com
Willow Wood Market Cafe
Set on the block-long stretch of downtown Graton, Willow Wood Market Cafe has an almost nostalgic diner vibe to it. For something out of the norm, try the Piping Hot Creamy Polenta with sweet butter and maple syrup. The open-faced Egg Salad Sandwich is a winner as well. willowwoodgraton.com