Petaluma's Washoe House, has a new owner, Larry Peter of Spring Hill Cheese and Petaluma Creamery. I made a point to stop in August for a last look at the historic 1859 roadhouse before too much changes.
Scaffolding was up for painting the clapboard exterior. Long-time customers approaching the entrance lamented that the paint color was shifting away from barn red. Inside, staff assured them that this was only primer for the new top coat.
No changes yet in the kitchen or menu. One difference is that the servers encourage customers to order a cheeseburger saying, "Now that we have some awesome cheese!"
For now, a tasting plate of Spring Hill cheese is complimentary and supplied with the bread basket.
Since I was here on the weekend, I tried the prime rib. A nice size slab of medium-rare was cooked fine, but without any discernible seasoning or accompanying jus. Some salt and pepper would have helped. The side of steamed vegetables were also unsalted. This was a very plain, yet plentiful, meal.
To finish, complimentary Petaluma Creamery ice cream. This is the rocky road.
So, what's in the renovation plan? Outside, the eucalyptus trees have disappeared opening up the view to the west. The plan is to set up a smokehouse and outdoor eating area for barbecue, as well as a dance floor.
Inside, the old carpet and floral wallpaper will be replaced. The powder room looked like it had new fixtures.
And no word on the fate of scores of cigarette smoke-stained dollar bills pinned overhead in the bar.
One of the principals said that this is more of a clean-up job and an effort to bring the place into the current century. There's a search on for an executive chef to up the quality in the kitchen and revamp the menu. Washoe House has been better known as a drinking establishment than a dinner house but perhaps that will change.
2840 Stony Point Rd
Petaluma, CA 94952
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