What are you calling this phase of Covid life? We’re going with “Eternal Spring,” due to the sheer number of openings, moves and revamps that local businesses are undertaking. Marin, we’ve got choices. Go explore them all and report back on what you find.
EAT & DRINK
Fire Swamp Provisions
What started as a fundraising effort making bread to support Bakers Against Racism last spring turned into a full-time career for owner Alex Tishman, who runs the business out of his Novato home. Though he is perhaps best-known for his breads (focaccia, babka-ish loaf, sourdough bagels), he also crafts spice blends and hot sauce, matzo brittle, mustard and more. Look for his stand at the seasonal farmers market in Novato or online.
Empress by Boon
Into the space where Empress of China reigned for nearly 50 years comes its modern-day successor, Empress by Boon, which opened in mid-June. Helmed by Michelin-star chef Ho Chee Boon, the former international executive chef of Hakkasan, the restaurant features modern Cantonese dishes and ingredients sourced from its farm in Gilroy and an elegant space on the top floor of a landmark building in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
838 Grant Ave, San Francisco 415.757.0728
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The team behind nearby Westwood dropped into San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood earlier this spring. The menu, from Executive Chef Jesus Dominguez, is seasonally driven with international touches, such as Petaluma Farms cauliflower with romesco and chili, seven-hour short ribs and grits, and bone marrow with a whisky add-on, perfect for luging.
3154 Fillmore St, San Francisco, 415.741.6605
With locations in Novato, San Rafael, Petaluma and Santa Rosa, the latest spot for sushi chef Jerry Zhang and his wife and co-owner, Jasmina Luo, is Strawberry Village Shopping Center in Mill Valley. American-Japanese fast food, including sushi, rice bowls, bento boxes, mochi ice cream and more arrived in May.
800 Redwood Hwy, Mill Valley
Zaddy’s Canned Cocktails
Sustainable packaging and no added sweetener are just two of the sustainability and health-minded efforts from Zaddy Benham and Colleen Hochberger, owners of the gin-based and eponymously named Petaluma company. Classic and modern flavors like corpse reviver, gin sonic, and gin(ger) fizz sport a daytime-friendly 4.5% ABV and the gin is sourced from Sonoma’s Graton Distilling. Look for it at Colonial Liquors in San Rafael, Zee’s Deli in Kentfield and Driver’s Market in Sausalito, among others.
617 2nd Street, Suite D, Petaluma, 339.222.7457
Pinpointing demand as an effective tool to reduce food waste, owners Chad Munroe, Anna Pinole, Anuraag Nallapati, and Will Yin launched a meal-planning and grocery-shopping delivery service that lets users put their orders on autopilot or “wander the aisles” in their digital universe. Service to Marin began in February.
1675 Jerrold Avenue, San Francisco, 650.695.711
Collectors’ Photography Gallery
A classic darkroom photographer, owner Ken Hoffman wanted his gallery at Corte Madera Town Center, which opened in May, to showcase great photography in various styles. Four contemporary artists and 10 historical photographers are currently represented.
105 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, 415-891-8368
The long-empty Toys R Us space welcomes locally-run Scandinavian Designs in late June. The furniture company, which has occupied the corner of Fourth and B Streets in San Rafael since 1963 and is still family-owned, will more than double its showroom space. Look for Skovby tables from Denmark, Ekornes recliners from Norway, and streamlined collections from Italy, among other contemporary styles.
600 Francisco Blvd West, San Rafael, 415.457.5500
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After weathering a year of virtual events and limited in-store browsing, the Petaluma-based bookstore is planning a move. Look for its San Rafael store to open at its new location, four blocks west along Fourth Street from its current spot, in early July.
1200 4th St, San Rafael, 415.524.2800
Manes by Sara
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The beauty industry was hit hard in 2020, closing the salon where Sara Marin Pinckney, a 6th generation Marinite (her great, great, great grandparents Frank and Nellie Waterhouse settled in Bolinas in the late 1800’s) worked. She used the time to reevaluate her career and opened a salon and client sanctuary offering luxury customized hair services in late 2020 in downtown Mill Valley.
34 Sunnyside Ave, Suite B, Mill Valley 707.478.5381
High Five Nails
Add getting your nails done to the list of services available at Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart, thanks to the opening of a salon where the commitment to your well-being is as important as the staff’s. That means pricing that provides a sustainable living for employees and an ergonomic experience for all. It’s the second location for owner Annie Stancliffe – the first is in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley.
2243 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur 415.800.7229
Creating a team of caregivers who make a positive difference in the lives of aging adults in their homes is the goal of a San Rafael-based aging-in-place service, which opened in May. Owners Caroline and Sean Ziegler serve Marin and San Francisco and can also help seniors as they transition back home.
777 Grand Avenue, Suite 101, San Rafael, 415.300.2273
For more on Better:
- The Best Places to Play Golf Throughout the Bay Area
- 31 Things to Do in Marin and the Bay Area This May
- New in Town This Spring: Where to Eat, Drink and Shop This May
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her child’s school, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.s the Assistant Editor at Marin Magazine and a graduate of Elon University where she studied Professional Writing and Fine Art. Born and raised in San Francisco/Marin, she loves traveling just as much as coming home to the Bay Area. She has curated a sophisticated palate for food, travel and culture and uses her travels as an outlet to develop her photography portfolio and hone her writing craft.