Market rate; contractor sting; and restaurant news

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A Sonoma city committee lowered the annual Plaza rent for the Tuesday night Farmers Market from $3,800 to $750, and councilmember Gary Edwards isn’t happy about it. He’s appealed the decision, so the matter will come before the Council. “It’s time to peel the onion and see what it really costs to have this activity week after week.”

It was like shooting fish in a custom-built barrel when the County District Attorney’s Office set up a sting to nab unlicensed contractors. Under the guise of two Oakmont homeowners, officials simply called contractors in response to their advertisements, and they showed up to bid the job. Thirteen of them were then cited for contracting without a license. State law prohibits unlicensed contractors from advertising for construction-related work valued at $500 or more, although they can advertise for jobs below that amount, provided that the advertisement clearly states that they are not licensed. Either way, we have space in the next issue.

Tasca Tasca, the new restaurant from Manuel Azevedo, owner and head chef of Sonoma’s LaSalette Restaurant and Café Lucia in Healdsburg, is set to open next week at 122 W. Napa St., (previously a cheese shop). ‘Tasca’ means tavern or pub in Portugal, as Azevedo envisions “Sonoma, “tapas style – snacking on a wide variety of delicious food, with unique wine and beer, surrounded by lots of friends in a fun casual environment.” Across the Plaza, meanwhile, Murphy’s Irish Pub is expanding, taking over the long-empty smoke shop across the alley. Owner Bill Pollack said the new space is intended to host small scale special events. There will be bench seating and an outdoor fire pit, but still no cigar.

The noise, crowd and bustle of a restaurant can be overwhelming to individuals with sensory sensitivity. The symptom is a sign of autism and can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including the ability to eat at a restaurant. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the advocacy group Anova has teamed with Mary’s Pizza Shack in an innovative pilot program to provide “Sensory Friendly Kits,” and training, so families can enjoy a stress-free meal out. That kind of inclusion is a rarity, but Mary’s sets a big table. “It’s important to us that our guests with autism and sensory sensitivities know they have a place where they can enjoy delicious food yet also feel comfortable,” says Stefanie Bagala of Mary’s Pizza Shack.

— Val Robichaud

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