Sondra Bernstein – Founder/Proprietor
Sondra is the proprietor of the girl & the fig in Sonoma, the fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen, and a unique event space in Sonoma known as Suite D. Full-service catering, the girl & the fig CATERS! along with a food truck, dubbed “the fig rig,”, the girl & the fig Farm and co-hosted a weekly podcast called The Bite Goes On, that discussed all aspects of the food world. She is the author of the girl & the fig Cookbook, Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig’s Journey through the Seasons in Wine and published a newspaper called Fig Chronicles. Her gourmet food product line is available nationwide under the girl & the fig label and her curated house wines are only available at the restaurants or online. In addition to these businesses, Sonoma FIG Foundation Fund was established in December of 2016. The Fund offers grants to nonprofit organizations that help startup entrepreneurs with funding in food, farming, food media, wine and spirits, restaurants, artisanal food production or new projects for existing businesses.
Over the past twenty-four years the girl & the fig has made its mark in Wine Country and has been a longtime favorite for both locals and visitors to the area. Just like a plump ripe fig, the girl & the fig food is fresh, healthy, and bursting with flavor. With a seasonal menu featuring garden vegetables and herbs from the restaurant’s farm, and an abundance of creativity, the rustic Provencal-inspired cuisine allows earth’s true and natural flavors to shine. The chefs at the girl & the fig make as many things as possible in house including their own award-winning charcuterie and salumi.
The reasonably priced wine list concentrates on wines made with Rhône grape varietals from California and abroad. In 2012, Sondra was celebrated as "Person of the Year", alongside partner John Toulze by Hospice du Rhône, an international vintners association at their 20th anniversary event for their commitment to promoting Rhône wines. In 2016, she received the Lifetime Achievement award from The Rhône Rangers for the same efforts. the girl & the fig was the first restaurant to offer a Rhône-Alone wine list in 1997, introducing patrons to new grape varietals and expanding their palates.
One sure thing that can be said about Sondra Bernstein is that, as an authentic Restaurateur, her restaurants are a true expression of her personality. Sondra has set the tone at her restaurants -- just the right balance of quirky and elegant -- to create a casual yet very singular, authentic dining experience. Many of the guests who frequent Sondra’s establishments feel as if she is a friend of theirs, which is understandable given her close attention to ensuring that their experience is distinctive and memorable. Her passion for the hospitality business has been her driving force and was what inspired her to create and recreate. Knowing that all of this can't happen alone, Sondra has surrounded herself with very talented and passionate people that share the philosophy that life is a work in progress.
In December of 2020, Sondra has taken a step back from day to day operations and though you may see her around - she is spending time on her photography, her digital art and making plans to travel.
To see what she is up to visit her personal website here.
Her short story...D.C. born, Philadelphia bred, BFA from Philadelphia College of Art (photography), TGI Friday’s Trainer & Team Leader for their national restaurant openings, graduate of The Restaurant School (culinary & restaurant management), Operations Manager for several restaurants in Philadelphia (The Fish Market & Marabella’s) and Los Angeles (Alice’s Restaurant & Tavern on Main), and Director of Operations for Viansa Winery in Sonoma County.