Revival, the newest incarnation of fine dining at Guerneville's Applewood Inn and Spa, softly opens this Thursday, July 21. Led by local restaurateur Crista Luedtke, with chef Ben Spiegel (Skal) onboard to helm the menu, Revival is the newest step forward in the gourmet revolution sweeping this small tourist town.
Recently purchased by Ric Pielstick and managed by his EpiSoul hospitality group, the Applewood was ripe for a do-over. And, having single-handedly changed Guerneville's gastro map over the last eight years with her Boon Hotel +Spa, the accompanying Boon Eat + Drink restaurant, the Big Bottom Market, and mezcal and tequila palace El Barrio, Luedtke was the natural person to turn to when considering how to reinvent the dining room.
The two hoteliers have been friends since Luedtke first opened the Boon Hotel in
2008. While it didn't take long for Pielstick to contact her for Revival, Luedtke took a little convincing to join the project. "I'm not one to say no to a project," she says."That's my downfall sometimes." But she was intrigued. "I said, 'If you're interested in what the Applewood used to be, a little formal, a little stuffy — that's not my jam. But if you're looking to elevate it, make it both more rustic and more simple, I could be convinced to help out. I'd like to do something that's more modern, more elevated.'"
The new Revival menu is centered on what Luedtke calls "West county cuisine," referring to the western Sonoma County area surrounding the restaurant. The menu will be internationally inspired, but locally driven; Spiegel has already been foraging out on the coast for seaweed and seabeans, and the team is sourcing wild foods right on the Applewood property. Newly renovated gardens have been redone and Luedtke reports an "amazing abundance" in the orchards surrounding the Inn.
While Luedtke is in charge, she characterizes her role as that of a restaurant
consultant, stepping back to let chef Spiegel take the lead. "I've handed the reins to him to drive," she says."Together we're better than our individual parts. The sum is an amazing thing and Ben has really great ideas." Stay tuned for more on the menu.
Revival is open Thursday- Monday for dinner only, with the possibility of weekend brunch beginning in the fall. Reservations for dinner begin next week.