One might think that the classic bar-and-grill genre with its all-American checked tablecloths, comforting pub fare and nostalgic neighborhood vibes might scramble to maintain traction in our diverse Bay Area culinary scene.
But Perry Butler, owner of the 53-year-old Perry’s on San Francisco’s Union Street, a second that opened on the Embarcadero in 2008 and the Marin location that took over the historic Lark Creek Inn on Magnolia Avenue in 2015, is opening his fourth restaurant on Monday in Novato.
Perry’s has taken over the space that formerly housed Wildfox restaurant, which did not reopen after the March 2020 pandemic stay-at-home order after a two-decade run.
The menu in Novato sticks with the general Perry’s formula. It includes appetizers such as grilled artichokes, potato skins, fried calamari, buffalo wings and French onion soup; Caesar, cobb and iceberg wedge salads; the Perry’s burger and Reubens; old-fashioned pot roast; steak and fish entrees; and French fries, creamed spinach and other sides. Benedicts, scrambles, challah French toast and corned beef hash with poached eggs can be found on the weekend brunch menu along with mimosas, bloody Marys and gin fizzes from the full bar.
Although Wildfox regulars won’t notice any major layout changes inside or on the patio, Butler says that people who have been there in the past will be pleased with the updates.
Expanded seating in the bar area now accommodates about 50 guests with the addition of a communal table and high tops. The team focused on brightening the interior, which was accomplished by opening a wall between two dining rooms, changing the lighting and painting the walls. Carpeting has been replaced with hardwood floors in the dining room. And, of course, the space has also been refashioned in signature Perry’s-style—blue-and-white checked tablecloths, traditional ladderback chairs and bar stools, and hexagonal tile flooring.
Now in his 80s, Butler has no intention of slowing down.
“I love what I do, and the fact that I get to do it with three of my five children is the greatest gift of all,” he says.
For the first three weeks after its Monday debut, Perry’s will be open for dinner only from 4 to 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays and 4 to 10 pm Fridays and Saturdays at 225 Alameda del Prado in Novato. After the startup period, hours will expand to include lunch from 11:30 am to 4 pm weekdays and brunch from 11 am to 3 pm Saturdays and 10 am to 3 pm Sundays. Find more information and make reservations at perryssf.com.
Honoré Farm and Mill in Larkspur is known for its specialty whole grain flours, sourdough starter, bread-baking classes and shortbread cookies. This month, owner and Marin resident Elizabeth DeRuff’s nonprofit is debuting Hourani flour, a 2,000-year-old heirloom grain that’s being baked into bread and made available commercially for the first time. Loaves can be found at a few select Bay Area bakeries during the month of May, including two in Marin. In addition, a tasting lunch is scheduled in Larkspur from noon to 2 pm May 24 to celebrate Honoré’s bakery partnerships.
In 2018, Honoré received a small bag of Hourani seeds from the Washington State University Breadlab, and in just three years, the team has harvested this handful into 3,200 pounds of Hourani flour. The durum wheat contains 14% protein and, like all Honoré flours, is regeneratively farmed and stone-milled into 100% whole wheat that results in a more nutritious and flavorful flour than commercial whole wheat products.
The formula DeRuff uses for the Hourani bread is a simple combination of flour, water, sourdough starter and salt, but the flavor profile is described as rich, sweet and buttery.
As for nutrition, DeRuff says that bran and germ in whole wheat flours supply the dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals, B vitamins and essential oils that are lost in refined flour. She also writes that many of her customers who complain of wheat or gluten sensitivities in modern wheat say they have no trouble eating baked goods made from her whole grain flours; durum wheat is genetically simpler than common wheat and spelt, and 100% whole grains contain more of the nutrients needed for proper digestion.
Honoré Farm and Mill is a nonprofit organization founded by DeRuff, who shares her passion about regenerative farming practices and educates consumers about the health, ecological and flavor benefits of freshly ground heritage grains.
Find Hourani loaves at Rustic Bakery locations in Larkspur, Novato and Tiburon on May 13 through 15, 20 through 22 and 27 through 29, Ponsford’s Place at 117 Shaver St. in San Rafael from 9 am to noon May 14, 21 and 28, and beyond Marin at Avast Bakeshop, Jane the Bakery and the Bejkr. Find details at honoremill.org/hourani.
Visit honoremill.org to learn more, to purchase workshop tickets or products, and to view recipes. Register for the May 24 tasting lunch ($50) at honoremill.org/events/hourani-tasting-lunch. The lunch location will be shared after registration.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer and restaurant columnist. Email her at email@example.com with news and recommendations and follow on Instagram @therealdealmarin for more on local food and updates on the launch of The Real Deal Marin restaurant guide.