There are two distinct personalities to the town of Sonoma. One is the tourist face, with a carefully cultivated shabby-chic, gentleman farmer vibe that matches its historic mission, wineries and Old West past. Charm abounds, and there are plenty of white tablecloth, high dollar restaurants to accommodate luxe tastes.
But simmering just below is the true Sonoma, a tight-knit community that includes the rest of us — the people who work in the tasting rooms and restaurants, at the Sonoma Speedway, behind desks and in firehouses. This diverse gathering of native Californians, immigrants, retirees, artisans and small business owners makes for a vibrant, (mostly) affordable food scene that most visitors breeze past.
We’re pulling back the cover on the Sonoma restaurants where townies really eat: From favorite happy hours and taco trucks to insiders-only recommendations for where to get a great cup of coffee or a family breakfast. We’re also including a few tips on getting some great bites at the higher-end spots, whether that’s a happy hour special, or a dish that won’t cost a mint.