Considering that AQ has only been around for two and a half years, owner Matt Semmelhack, chef Mark Liberman, and their colleagues at the Mercer Restaurant Group are on a pretty unstoppable expansion tear. Sequel TBD has been up and running since November, Mission cafe Melange is also in play, and next year, they'll debut brasserie Bon Marché in the Twitter building. Now, they've set their sights on wine country. As Inside Scoop reports, they plan to open a bakery and restaurant, Trading Post Market and Bakery, in downtown Cloverdale. It's a huge space, at 4,000 square feet with an equally large exterior.
The project, known as the Post for short, will open in stages, with the bakery arriving in the next 3-6 months and the restaurant following sometime in summer or fall of 2015. Cloverdale, a tiny town about 15 minutes north of Healdsburg that's been one of the most deeply affected by the current drought, was able to accommodate the newcomer in part because of nearby craft brewery Bear Republic, which paid the city nearly $500K for two new wells and subsequently lifted the moratorium on new business. The Post will take a space that hasn't been occupied for over three years. In general, the move up north is part of a plan to expand Mercer's operations into a more holistic whole; they also plan to build a small Cloverdale farm to supply their restaurants, and will bake all of their bread up north as well. Considering that Cloverdale hasn't had much of a food and drink scene compared to bustling Healdsburg, this may herald a change as significant as AQ's early entry into on-the-rise Mid-Market.
· Restaurateur looks beyond Mid-Market to Sonoma County [Chron]
· AQ/TBD crew to open Trading Post Market & Bakery [Inside Scoop]
· All AQ posts [~ ESF ~]