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Starred Wine Country Restaurant Cyrus Will Rise From the Ashes After Nearly a Decade

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Despite being held up for years, with several false starts, Douglas Keane claims the cheese cart is ready to roll once again

Douglas Keane
Douglas Keane

Back in the aughts, Cyrus was a wine country attraction. Chef Douglas Keane captured two Michelin stars for his inventive dishes, from artful pats of foie gras and caviar to rolling carts of cheese and mini sweets, and never least, a birthday bong dessert, with a balloon connected to a dome that turned the dessert into a snow globe filled with chocolate confetti (maybe you need to see it to get it). But Cyrus’s days were numbered: Originally located in the Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg, when billionaire Bill Foley took over, eviction notices and lawsuits ensued, and the restaurant closed in 2012.

Keane retained the rights to the Cyrus name, and despite opening other restaurants and competing on Top Chef Masters, he always intended to bring Cyrus back, even announcing plans to reopen the restaurant in 2019. But after multiple different locations in Sonoma County fell through, as of July 2019, Keane officially called it, telling Eater SF the search was finally off: “I just don’t honestly have that fire in me [to pursue it] now.” Well, apparently it’s not over until the last cheese cart rolls: The SF Chronicle was the first to report that Cyrus will reopen, after all, in Geyserville, in 2021 at the earliest. That means the original restaurant, which was only open for eight years, will have gone dormant for at least nine — maybe an entire decade — before rising from the ashes.

Keane plans to reopen Cyrus in a modern building overlooking the vines of the Alexander Valley in Geyserville. The property is owned by Steve Oliver, who also owns the Oliver Ranch, a hundred-acre property which calls itself a “world-renowned sculpture ranch,” hosting many artists, with a few sheep roaming around. The Cyrus location, however, is closer to town, in a former prune packing plant, built out in 2008 by Jensen Architects, the award-winning firm also behind the late Healdsburg Shed. Sonoma Magazine shared photos of the glass-and-concrete space, which is a gleaming 8,000 square feet. “We really did give up. We weren’t going to do it,” Keane insists. “Until we found this location. There aren’t many restaurants in wine country where you can actually be in the grapes, but this is a beautiful building, floating above the vines.”

For now, Keane has revealed very little about what he’ll actually be serving at Cyrus 2.0, but Sonoma Mag notes a few of the new restaurant’s bells and whistles like a live-fire Argentinian grill and a dedicated chocolate room. Keane plans to welcome in only 36 to 48 people per night, and the big difference from the original Cyrus, and other fine-dining restaurants, for that matter, is how they’ll move through the stunning space. Instead of the carts rolling out to seated guests, in contrast, 12 people at a time will be moving through different rooms, starting with the bar for canapés, taking a high seat at the chef’s table for shellfish and chawanmushi, moving into the dining room with a view of the grill flickering outside, and ending in the chocolate room for sweet and bitter bites.

Keane told the Chron it’s going to cost another $5 million to renovate the entrance and kitchen, with help from investors like Napster founder Sean Parker. Stay tuned for more updates.

Updated Monday, March 2: This article was updated to clarify the location of the restaurant, and add a quote from the chef and details about the style of service.