As of early next year, Healdsburg’s ambitious plant-based restaurant Little Saint will no longer be able to lean on its ties with two of the biggest names in the wine country town’s culinary scene. In an email on Wednesday, the ownership team behind Little Saint announced that Kyle and Katina Connaughton, the chef and farmer behind three-Michelin-starred SingleThread, will no longer manage the more casual restaurant. “We are proud to have been a part of this very special collaboration within our community and to have the opportunity to participate in Little Saint’s ideation to operating all the way through its first year,” the Connaughtons shared in a statement. “We are excited to see what’s next for Little Saint and to watch it grow and thrive under new management.”
In an email Thursday morning, the Little Saint team confirmed that the management shakeup will mean public-facing changes, too. “There will be adjustments to our menus as well as our team, who will continue to work closely with our farmers at Little Saint Farm as well as our music and arts programming partners,” a spokesperson wrote to Eater SF. The menu changes will come in the new year, as will details about “exciting names we have added to our advisory team of plant-based culinary experts and thought leaders,” the spokesperson wrote.
Since its inception, Little Saint has benefited from a star-studded lineup of talent behind its ownership and management. At its opening, the list of parties involved with the project included Vertice Hospitality, the Connaughton’s restaurant management company, which they co-own with the group’s CEO Tony Greenberg; Creative Director and star designer Ken Fulk; and owners Laurie and Jeff Ubben, known for their philanthropic efforts fueled by their San Francisco-based investment company ValueAct Capital.
Now, or technically, as of January 6, 2023, the Ubbens will take over management of the restaurant, which opened in the former SHED space in downtown Healdsburg in early 2022. The much-anticipated, 10,000-square-foot restaurant encompasses not only a full-service plant-based restaurant, but also a coffee bar, wine shop, full bar, and a space for events like live music, book signings, and wine tastings. In August, the San Francisco Chronicle’s food critic, however, said the restaurant “stumbles on achieving even its relatively modest aim of enjoyability.”
Eater SF reached out to a representative for the Connaughtons for comment but has yet to hear back.
Update: December 15, 2022, 11:23 a.m. This article was updated to include additional information from the Little Saint team.