Bernstein’s ramen joint would anchor new Springs container complex

Posted on November 12, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun


Tim Sloat, representing the new owners of 18010 Hwy 12 in the Springs, unveiled the vision of a “container park” complex on the property to include a new venture from restaurateur Sondra Bernstein.

The proposal calls for two 20’ and two 40’ containers, with four micro-units of affordable housing. Sloat said the property design allows for open passage through the lot, and includes public space, as in a “mini-plaza.” It was introduced Thursday’s Springs Community Alliance meeting to a crowd of about 30.

Bernstein’s “Noodle Spring” would be the anchor tenant, with other spaces occupied by local artisans, and another food place with a dining deck over the street.

Bernstein said the container concept is “a happening thing” which she observed this summer in Amsterdam and Paris. “It’s urban and artistic and creative all at once.”

Sloat added that there is an example, on a much larger scale, across from AT&T Park, but “we want this site to have visceral heart and energy.”

Plans showed 15 parking spaces off a drive-through from Hwy. 12 to Bonita Avenue. The goal is to open in the spring of 2017.

Sloat made clear that the proposal is just a short-term plan for the property, with a three to seven year life. After that, all the modular structures will be moved off and replaced by a to-be-revealed project the owners, the Mattson family, will construct.

Bernstein has been piloting the venture with her Fig Rig truck for several weekends. She said last week saw a ton of people enjoying the noodles that her Fig chefs are enthusiastically preparing with local produce.

She acknowledged that although the food truck is currently selling noodles at $10/bowl, the price point is not sustainable business-wise, and in her shop we can look for at least $12 and probably $14/bowl with salad when she is established. Yakitori – grilled skewers of meat – will also be on the menu, and she plans a morning juice bar, serving açai bowls.

Rich Lee, leading the meeting, opened it up for questions. Iris Lombard expressed concern about the feasibility of the driveway out to narrow Bonita Avenue, already crowded with parked cars of residents.

Teresita Fernandez, owner of La Michoacana ice cream, questioned whether residents could afford to patronize what’s planned for the property. A member of the county-appointed Community Advisory Team for the Springs, she reminded Sloat that the CAT is committed to keeping things accessible for the local community. Sloat replied that Susan Gorin, First District Supervisor, had told the developers that any plan must put locals first, include affordable housing, and must get positive community input.

Though the meeting was strictly informational, Sloat ended the presentation asking for a show of hands by those who support the proposed concept. Most hands went up.

— Anna Pier




One thought on “Bernstein’s ramen joint would anchor new Springs container complex

  1. $14 for a bowl of ramen noodles??? Get serious. That’s more than an hour’s wages for the average Springs resident. Bernstein has gone Full Gentrified — aiming for those tourist dollars from the Fairmont Hotel’s clientele, not trying to feed the locals.
    Did anyone say what the rents would be on those ‘micro-units’ of affordable housing built inside shipping containers? If the price of Bernstein’s ramen noodles is an indication, they will probably rent for around $3,000 a month. But whatever the price, it is certain that the maids cleaning the toilets at the Fairmont won’t be able to afford them.
    The only thing ‘local’ about this Mattson business venture is its GPS coordinates. The message seems clear: No Mexicans allowed, except in the kitchen.

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