New Restaurant Focuses on Small Plates, Late Hours

Speakeasy, set to open Sunday, October 7 in the Helen Putnam Plaza on the Boulevard, will offer interesting tacos, vegetarian options and serve food until 2am.

Every time I write about a new restaurant opening, my stomach grumbles a little in anticipation of all the culinary goodness to come.

I always hope it will something unique, something affordable and something that will serve food very late, like past midnight.

Speakeasy may just be a place that meets all those requirements.

Slated to open October 7 at Thai Ginger’s former location in the Helen Putnam Plaza, the restaurant seeks to combine global influences with down-home tastiness.

The menu (still being fine-tuned) will consist of mostly small plates featuring items such as pan-seared halibut with green papaya salad, roasted root vegetables with organic quinoa salad and interesting tacos such as the Bali (with barbequed jackfruit), the Navajo (gouda, spicy purple salsa and chipotle crème fraiche) or the Athens (hot fry bread with goat cheese and marinated olives.) 

The duo behind the venture are 40-year-old Roger Tschann, more known as the owner of Grizzly Studios, a Petaluma recording company, and 30-year-old Amber Driscoll, who comes from a nonprofit background.

“We really wanted to pay homage to old time Petaluma, which had some speakeasies during Prohibition,” Driscoll said. “It’s a small place (max capacity is 40) but we’re really going to make use of the patio and outdoor seating.”

Speakeasy will be open evenings only, serving food until the deliciously late hour of 2am. Besides targeting the bar crowd, the owners also want the restaurant to become the kind of place bartenders, waiters and others in the local food industry can head to after clocking out.

“We think being here on the plaza will improve the quality of the area, which has had some tagging and other vandalism,” Driscoll said.

Have news about a local business? Let us know by emailing karina@patch.com

Darris September 25, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I agree with 'Bookworm' . . . it's about time. I also concur about including lots of organic vegan options on the menu. I really enjoyed the food at Lydia's but it would be nice to have a varied menu for people not into raw vegan food as well. I really echo all that Bookworm stated. Congratulations to Roger and Amber on their new venture ~ can't wait!
boethius September 26, 2012 at 06:00 AM
Not an entirely bad idea but it seems unlikely they'll attract many customers from the Music Center and even if they did concerts are too infrequent to amount to any serious business. The focus should be on consistently attracting late-night Petaluma crowds rather than on very occasional out-of-towners 10-15 minutes away. The more serious impediment to success will be attracting customers to an area that is fairly dead after hours most nights. In any case, best of luck to what is hopefully a wildly successful venture.
Patty Flocchini September 27, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Flocchini Wines Our Petaluma Gap wines would go ideally in your restaurant. Locals serving locals. Please contact us at flocchiniwines@gmail.com
Cindy Rogers October 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Could someone tell me where the heck this restaurant is located? I just moved back to Petaluma a couple of months ago after living on the SF Peninsula for 30 years. I'm lost.............
Dave Alden October 16, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Cindy, it fronts on Putnam Plaza, the small downtown plaza on the southwest side of Petaluma Blvd between E. Washington and Western.


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