Francis Ford Coppola’s newest restaurant at his Virginia Dare Winery in Sonoma opened this past weekend, and it’s already causing conversation. That’s because Werowocomoco is Native American-themed, and plans to serve food that Coppola believes is an homage to the cuisine of America’s indigenous peoples.
Native American cuisine has started to gain a higher profile in the country’s ongoing conversations on food and culture, including a discussion on Eater National. And while Coppola received the blessing of a chief from the Pamunkey tribe in Virginia to use the name, not everyone agrees. One member of Virginia’s Rappahanock tribe, Washakie Fortune, says that to even use the name (which is a sacred meeting place) is “a disgrace to my people and all others of the Powhatan Confederation.”
Coppola addressed the questions in an op-ed in The Chronicle, writing in part,
I formed a council of advisers consisting mainly of Native Americans of different tribes from around the country, to bring authenticity and respect for these traditions as well as support for what I feel are important issues of health, youth and education, employment, preservation of language and culture, food and ingredient acquisition, and art. I confess that I used my own imagination and creative powers to bring this project to life much in the way that I would have in making a film ... After much effort, we step by step made a number of Native American liaisons in our area, and it is my hope that we will find success in collaboration with other indigenous people of this beautiful part of the world.
The fast casual menu — which Coppola created himself — is an interesting mix of foods. You can see it in full below, but highlights include a bison burger, bison ribs, make-your-own fry bread tacos, and salmon sashimi tacos. A majority of the wines, of course, all originate from Virginia Dare Winery, with some others sprinkled in.
Werowocomoco, which has 66 seats inside as well as a patio, is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.