The girl & the fig Closing Sister Restaurant ESTATE

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Sondra Bernstein and Chef John Toulze

It breaks my heart to even type these words but come September, ESTATE (sister restaurant to the girl & the fig) will permanently close.

ESTATE is more than just a wonderful restaurant to me. So this is like announcing a divorce or a death in the family. Sondra Bernstein (and as of recently John Toulze) have not only been people I respect in this crazy and ever changing food business, but also friends. I recently spent the day with them cooking, laughing and dining. It was such a treat, and something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

John is quite the joker and far less serious than you would expect for someone to be in his position. In fact, if you watch my cooking video on his Braised Baby Artichokes, you will see exactly what I mean. Sondra herself, who I admit, at first made me very so warm and welcoming. She has a hug that will just make you melt. And the friendship those two have is as amusing as it is charming. They interact much like an old Armenian couple that has been married for some fifty odd years.

I am half Armenian by the way.


The rustic Italian restaurant is located at 400 West Spain Street in Sonoma, just a short walk from the heart of Sonoma Square (and the girl and the fig itself). They are closing their doors because Darius Anderson, owner of Ramekins Culinary School, purchased the building and will be taking over the property come October 1st. For now, there are no current plans to relocate the restaurant.

“We appreciated the opportunity to steward the historical Sonoma property at 400 West Spain Street and know it will now transition into good hands with Darius Anderson,” said Sondra Bernstein. But keep in mind, while this is horrible news. The girl & the fig is celebrating its 15th anniversary this summer and Sondra explains “It has been fun to share our take on Italian cuisine with our guests as the girl & the fig’s Italian sister."

It is also worth noting that Sondra and John are innovators in the Sonoma food scene and I am sure they will land on their feet. For one, their new culinary event space--Suite D--is bound to be a success. The space will be home to pop-up dinners, cooking classes and pretty much any food trend you can think of (and many you have yet to).

ESTATE is open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays beginning at 5 pm and Sunday forbrunch 10 am to 3 pm. Call (707) 933-3663 for reservations. I suggest you visit if you haven't already.

For now, I offer the warmest hug to the everyone at ESTATE but I know this is just the beginning of something else. There is a reason Lady Gaga ate at the girl and the fig, and so has everyone else.