Following the devastating and deadly fires that tore through Santa Rosa last fall, the community has begun the overwhelming process of rebuilding. That includes the growing restaurant scene, which will soon include a market and restaurant called Miracle Plum, from Santa Rosa natives Sallie Miller and Gwen Gunheim.
This is the first restaurant for both Miller and Gunheim, though both have ties to the industry. Miller, who will lead the kitchen, currently provides craft services for fellow local chef Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, Grocery Games; her first job was working under Gary Danko at Sonoma’s Cheateau Souverain. Gunheim has run her own catering business, and creates handmade wood tableware for restaurants like Marla Bakery.
The duo has taken over a small, 113 year-old historic building that has had past lives as a tire store, dry cleaners, and thrift shop. Now it will start its next life as a market selling specialty food items, and eventually a quick-service restaurant, when they’re able to raise the funds.
As a result of the fires, says Gunheim, every level of Santa Rosa’s planning and permits departments are completely backed up, slowing the progress of their construction and kitchen permitting. To move forward with their project, they chose to start with the market.
When it opens this spring, the market will contain Miller and Gunheim’s favorite cheeses, oils, pastas and other specialty items, both local and from further afield. There’ll also be grab-and-go foods that will be prepared at an offsite kitchen, until they’re able to fully build out the kitchen. That will also include Miracle Plum’s own jams and condiments for sale.
“In a lot of the towns in the area, like Healdsburg, there is a real lunch culture that i feel is missing from Santa Rosa,” said Gunheim. “A lot of grab-n-go options are pretty low quality food.”
“Growing up in a place with so much abundance, we are forturnate to have access to all of this and it helped shape our palates and who we are in a lot of ways,” said Gunheim. “Whether it’s tacos or something handmade from someone’s backyard trees.”
Dishes will be inspired by flavors from other cultures, but the ingredients will be local. “We have no shortage of good things in this area and thats part the thing we want to show, that it doesn’t have to be fancy to be good,” said Gunheim. “We just want to share our favorite things with people.”
Part of that is collaboration, including plans to host local pop-ups. “At the very beginning of this process we sort of threw out ‘competition’ and really started focusing on collaboration,” said Gunheim. “For us that means using food others are making and growing, it means hosting food pop-ups in our space, inviting individuals, business, or organization into our space to teach or share. We truly want to make a cultural community space through the lens of great food.”
The name, Miracle Plum, is another nod to Santa Rosa’s community of creators. It’s a variety of plum with no seed, invented by Luther Burbank, an horticulturist who also created the Santa Rosa plum, the spineless cactus, and the russet potato, among other things.
Stay tuned for more details on Miracle Plum’s opening at 208 Davis Street this spring.
- Miracle Plum [Official]