Checkers Closes

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Downtown restaurant Checkers  (523 4th St., Santa Rosa) has closed for good.

Restaurant owner Katherine Castillo posted the following message on the restaurant’s website.

For over 21 years, countless wonderful meals have been shared by countless amazing people here at Checkers. So many of you are like family. Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. Thank you for the millions of smiles, hugs and laughter. Thank You all so much for the support and blessings that you have been a part of. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve you.
Best wishes,


The restaurant closed for a remodel a year ago.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. Katherine,
    I’ll truly will miss you and your mouth watering chicken walnut cranberry raviolis.
    We had our anniversary dinners at your resturant. I was just thinking how much I
    Am craving your food and. OMG you closing. Good bless you and the best of luck and happiness. Katherine & Jeffrey

  2. what ever happened to that great giant splatter abstract painting that filled the east wall before the remodel?

  3. I am so sorry and sad to see you closed. I would try and make it in for lunch at least once a week or when ever I would come into town. I enjoyed your Chinese chicken salad so much that I had a hard time trying new items on your menu……I’m sure your staff remembers me. I always got a extra side of dressing because it was so delicious.
    I’m also a public service business owner, and I know how hard it is to own your own business. Whenever I would come in I always admired how you ran your business Katherine, always hands on and very sincere. I could see the passion, love and pride you put into it.

    I’m going to miss my little warm and cozy lunch spot.

  4. Wow! I am very sad to hear that Checkers is closing :( As a past employee/chef, checkers was always dear to my heart. (I worked both Calistoga and Santa Rosa when Patrick Schoolcraft was the chef and i was running the pizza line and eventually the sautee line as well) I am not sure if Kathy remembers me :) many years have run under the bridge. I wish Kathy the best in whatever she moves on too. I am glad to hear that the one in Calistoga is still running.

  5. Gary and I were very sorry to hear of Checkers’ closing. As much as we’re going to miss the butternut ravioli and Gary’s fav, the Thai noodle salad, we’ll miss Katherine and the staff so much more. It’s been wonderful to see you all over the years, to see pictures of Katherine’s little ones and enjoy some of the best food in Santa Rosa. Best of luck in your new ventures and I hope to bump into you in the future.

  6. Katherine and your staff at Checkers will be sorely missed! My husband and I always enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Checkers, and the food was top-notch! Thank you for 21 years, and all the best to you and your family!

  7. yes.

  8. If SR Diner was truly a professional waiter he would not be slamming Checkers.
    The trials and tribulations of being in the food business would not allow another
    restaurant worker to do that.
    Checkers was a great restaurant that had a lot of heart and kindness led by their owner. So many things could have changed that and to kick someone when they are down is simply ignorant.
    Enjoyed the food and the people, especially the owner.
    Good luck to all. Even the ignoramous waiter who behaved badly.

  9. Good Day SRDINER. I am so sorry that you had a bad experience at Checkers. We strived to give everyone that came through our doors a great meal at a great price with great service. Yes. On occasion, we did fall short. I truly regret that was the case with your visit. I am however, grateful that we have the right to share our experiences and our opinions publicly. Thank you for doing so. I whole heartedly hope that none of you have to ever face some of the struggles that i had . I also whole heartedly hope that every single one of you are blessed with living a dream come true , and i hope you get to do it with more love, support, kindness and genourosity than you ever imagined there could be. As I have. Now go out for dinner tonight, at a small, locally owned restaurant. Tell them Katherine sent you.

  10. Ahh… their Firecracker Chicken was delicious…. we loved eating there. It was a favorite on Wednesdays after the market all summer.
    Good luck Katherine!

  11. Let me be clear– I hate to see any restaurant close, and to have hard working waitstaff, bussers, cooks, and dishwashers out of work in this tough, tough economy. I’ve been lucky enough to work as a waiter for the past 20+ years, so I have seen plenty of restaurants succeed and many fail. In these recessionary days and days of reduced discretionary income, restaurants in particular have to be so careful about quality food, service, and decor. In my dining experience at Checkers, the food and service left a lot to be desired….

  12. Hello Katherine,

    This is sad news indeed! Perhaps you remember the several occasions when you so kindly packaged multiple dinners of Butternut Squash Ravioli for me to fly back to Ohio? My wife and I have loved your restaurant, and when we come back to Santa Rosa on vacation or business, it’s always on our minds and in our conversation as we plan our travel… a highlight of our trip.

    You will be missed! I am not sure how to break the news to my wife Cindy!

    Thanks for the great food, atmosphere and conversation!

    Larry Pendergrass

  13. I love Checkers. Unfortunately, after our move and their renovation, we got out of the habit of eating there much and now it is gone. :( I loved their smoked chicken, sonoma salad, those butternut squash ravioli and the asian salad! My daughter loved their lime chicken soup from a long time ago and we ate there often with our kids. They loved drawing on the table paper.

    Good luck with your future Katherine! I hope it is bright.

  14. Katherine is a class act. Love her.

    Tough market. Tough location.

    Best wishes to her as she moves on.

  15. Agreed. People are angry.

  16. Major bummer. Never to have Linguine Monterey again or the butternut squash ravioli. Well, at least I’ve recreated the wonderful Sonoma salad at home. Great place, will miss it. Good luck in the future.

  17. I will be so glad when the election ends next week. The animosity spilling over into biteclub is really depressing.

  18. Mark ~ don’t know them and have never met them. I do not OWE them anything except common courtesey and respect. Public forum, or not; what purpose does kicking a dead horse serve? Sounds like most people appreciated these people and their establishment.

  19. Katherine, we are both so sad to hear this! You and all your staff are like family to us too. What will we do without you. Your meals were our favorite for over 20 years. When we first started dating we went to Checkers. We love you guys. Hope you all get a much deserved vacation before you start something exciting and new.


  20. Is The Calistoga Checkers business still going?

  21. This started happening before Obama got into office… Thank George W… or find another scape goat. Our economic woes go way beyond any single president, and in reality can’t be blamed solely on any 1 president but on several economic policies that span several decades. Even Romney stated that his plan would take 8 to 12 years. Go figure Obama has only been in office for 4. They are both puppets anyway… there for pay close attention to your local elections and vote for the candidates who are pro business.

  22. Your racist comment is not appreciated neither is it true. Uneducated people like you are working overtime to make people of color your scape goats when you should be looking in the mirror and at your family tree. Racist empirialistic conquests for the past 1000 years have left the world in turmoil and now the chicken’s have come home to roost and we are in the early stages of a GLOBAL economic meltdown and people have to shutter their businesses. But we haven’t seen anything yet. None the less its very sad to see Checkers go.

  23. I enjoyed the butternut squash ravioli and would never forget how delicious them raviolis. I had my first Thai pizza from Checkers and was hooked.

    We will miss you.

  24. I wish nothing but frustration for the “owners” and what they think they have in store for the future. “I’ve never ate there but heard it was great…” Really?? This is your comment?

  25. I loved Checkers!!! I am so sad. They had the best turkey/cranberry sandwich on focaccia that I have ever had. This is the only place in Santa Rosa I would go for lunch

  26. Katherine and the Checkers crew,

    You guys were awesome for so many years. Great food and open hearts. What will I do now when I’m working late and need a chicken carbanara?? Lunch for the Geary firm on Wednesday’s? We’ll survive, but will miss you all and thank you for the good spirit and food all these years. I wish the best for all of you in the future.

  27. Checkers has been our go to for a long time. The food has been consistent and very good all this time. We ate tons of their salads, ravioli, etc. My family is going to go into shock; this is my “home cooking” (carryout) for years…
    Their service was beyond good and welcoming.

    I am stunned.

    Katherine, if you didn’t see as much of us since June, we have been out and around moving kids to other states, etc. We are now settled back just recently. Thank you for feeding my family for years…


  28. So sad on so many levels. Katherine is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet. In addition to running that restaurant for the last 20+ years, she has been a strong supporter of her family and all of her “adopted Checkers family.” She went through much adversity and hardship but always maintained her friendly attitude and generous nature. It is really sad that some people who made great profits off of her were so ungrateful for all she did for them and our community. I hope she is back in the game soon and I hope those that drove her out get what they deserve. Long live Checkers and long live Katherine. She is what makes Sonoma County a great food and drink venue.

  29. Has SR diner ever worked in a restaurant? Maybe the busser called in sick. We don’t know. I never ate there but heard it was great food. Good luck with whatever the owners have in store for the future.

  30. Bryan, this is a public forum. He had a bad experience there and posted about it. While the owners may be YOUR friends, the rest of us are just patrons and don’t owe them anything. Businesses need to keep their A game up in order to survive. This isn’t a kid’s t-ball game where it’s “well atleast they tried their best” when you’re PAYING to eat there lol.

    I know Checker’s had been around for some time. Had some pizza there before and it was very good. Sorry they didn’t make it.

  31. We are so sad to read this. Checkers was always consistently outstanding with great service and good food. I will miss the sonoma salad, fish dishes, tomatoe soup, grilled shrimp, that facasia, etc. AND the lovely owners! Thanks for all the great food and smiles. Best of luck to you with your new paths!

  32. Checkers had the best Cobb salad around these parts. Sorry to see it go.

  33. I’m sorry to see Checkers go. I would have gone for one last Braised Lamb Shank.

  34. Very nice, SRDiner…

    If you don’t have anything good to say, especially when someone is already down, maybe you could just keep your mouth shut. I’d bet that you and your wife have something to complain about wherever you go.
    I’m sure they are aware of whatever shortcomings they may have had but I’m also sure they did everything they could to make a GO of it. It ain’t easy in the restaurant business.

    Good luck to them, in the future!

  35. I will greatly miss Checkers :'( It has always been a favorite spot of mine for the focasia bread and Greek Salad with that special iced tea they make. Although those were my favorites, I knew that everything I ordered was going to be amazing! Thank you Katherine Castillo, for your wonderful smile and being an awesome host, always right there as we walked through the door. And for being one of my favorite restaurants as long as I can remember (early 90’s?). For me the service has always been excellent, the food prepared quickly and deliciously, the bus boy always there to refill my drinks, and waitstaff to ask me how my meal was and if I needed anything else. I will always have a great memory of Checkers, and every time I want a Greek Salad I am going to think of you!

  36. I couldn’t say I didn’t see this coming.

    My wife and I ate there a year ago, and we were so underwhelmed. The service was horrendous– one server and no busser on a busy, busy night. The waitress tried her best, but she was incapable of running the restaurant by herself. We waited at least 15 minutes to order, and then waited an eternity for our food, which was uninspired.

    In a day and age when restaurants are closing left and right and they are getting by on razor-thin margins, I can’t believe the owners didn’t focus more on their waitstaff, the quality of the food, and the decor.

  37. OMG! I LOVE Checkers….so sad to hear they are closing…..have they already closed or will they be soon? Would love to go for one last cup of Tomato Soup… all-time favorite w/ their focasia bread!

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