A girl, a restaurant, and two decades of community
Sonoma, CA (February 16th, 2017) - 2017 marks the twentieth year since Sondra Bernstein welcomed her first diners to the girl & the fig's original location in Glen Ellen, California.
From the beginning, Sondra Bernstein and Executive Chef John Toulze’s creative interpretation of farm-to-table dining, prepared from the best of Sonoma’s bounty, offered a true taste of place to those residing in and visiting Sonoma Valley.
The company has since grown to include two busy restaurants, a catering division, event venue, organic farm, and food truck (with new projects in the works for the coming year!). Despite these successes, Ms. Bernstein has never been one to stand still - just three years after the girl & the fig’s Glen Ellen debut, she made the decision to relocate the business to its current location on the Sonoma Plaza (the original location is now called “the fig cafe”), and the momentum only built from there.
2004 saw the release of Bernstein’s first cookbook - the girl & the fig Cookbook (published by Simon & Schuster, New York), and in 2011 she self-published Plats du Jour, the girl & the fig’s Journey through the Seasons in Wine Country. During these years the team delved into organic farming in earnest with the creation of the #farmproject, a sharecropping arrangement on a local plot, as well as rolling out their house-made charcuterie program (“MANO FORMATE”).
In 2016, Ms. Bernstein established the Sonoma FIG Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs in farming, food & wine to realize their dreams. Sondra Bernstein created the Sonoma FIG Foundation Fund for many reasons, but most of all to share the passion she has felt as an entrepreneur over the past twenty years.
This summer, the Rhone Rangers (www.therhonerangers.com) will recognize Bernstein with their Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first Restaurateur to receive this nod for her contributions to the American Rhone wine movement, an honor previously reserved for winemakers, in recognition of her passion and dedication to the advancement of Rhone wines. the girl & the fig has offered an exclusively “Rhone Alone” wine list since opening the first location in downtown Glen Ellen in ‘97 and continues to highlight Rhone wines produced in both California and abroad.
the girl & the fig is now proud to employ a team of more than 200, farm their own produce on the property “Sonoma Roadside” (as well as a smaller plot behind the Sonoma location), offer a gourmet line of FIGfood products, host entertaining and educational community events at their private event space, Suite D, and celebrate the strong partnership Sondra and John have upheld these twenty years.
Of embarking on her third decade in the business, Sondra observes “we continue to learn something every day. Nothing stays the same; we are in constant motion.”
And despite the constant state of change that defines the culinary world, Bernstein’s ambitions have remained unchanged: prepare quality local food with care, be a force of good in the community and an ambassador for Sonoma Valley, and serve her guests with gratitude.
A celebration on Sonoma’s historic plaza will mark Sondra and John’s 20th year; tickets are available to the public HERE, and proceeds from the event will benefit local charities. Look for more information online in March at www.thegirlandthefig.com.