Hole in the Wall, Sebastopol

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Short Rib Hash Hole in the Wall RestaurantHole in the Wall Restaurant isn’t the kind of place you stumble upon. Snugged into the quiet corner of a small Sebastopol retail mall, you could grab dozens of lattes at the nearby Starbucks and never notice it. Which would be a shame, because the pumpkin scone you’re cramming into your face can’t hold a candle to Chef Adam Beer’s shortrib hash just steps away. Or biscuits and mushroom gravy. Or spiced apple crepes.

Hole in the Wall Restaurant omelet

With word of mouth praise held close to the vest by locals and foodies who’ve passed along the discovery of Beer’s tiny Gravenstein Ave. restaurant, Hole in the Wall has been under-the-radar for since opening in June, 2011. Grab a table, however, and a regular will start singing the praises of whatever they’re eating, and possibly even offer up a bite. It’s that kind of place.

Quiet and efficient, Beers steadfastly mans the restaurant’s open kitchen through breakfast, lunch and dinner (they’re only open for breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday), putting a deliberate touch on each dish. That, of course, can mean cooling your heels for a while, but invariably it’s worth the a little patience.

A longtime line cook who moved his way up from stirring gumbo roux to sautee chef at the French Garden and most recently as a chef at The Village Bakery, Beers has kept his menu at Hole in the Wall simple and comforting.  Breakfast is a strong suit, with lox-studded omelets ($8.50), buttermilk pancakes ($7.75), homemade biscuits and gravy ($5.50) Challah French Toast with candied pecans and fresh fruit ($7.75) and an authentic German Dutch Baby—a baked pancake with caramelized sugar and apples ($7.75).

Lunch and dinner share a menu, with Beer’s signature gumbo (a traditional Cajun version with Andouille sausage and plenty of smokey flavor, $8.50); excellent burgers, sweet and savory crepes (buckwheat with chicken, spinach, caramelized onions and Swiss, $8.95). Coconut Curry Cream Pasta with penne, cranberries, snow peas,tomatoes and almonds tastes better than it sounds, with sweet, earthy, exotic and savory flavors. It’s not haute, but it’s comforting. Don’t miss the baked Mac and Cheese, whose bowl runneth over with five kinds of cheese: Cheddar, Swiss, fontina, blue and a dusting of crispy Parmesan. Add truffle oil if you dare. A bowl of fries with fresh minced garlic and Parmesan are a solid addition to pretty much anything.

Beers shows his chops with dessert crepes ($6.50) recently featuring Gravenstein apples cooked with brown sugar, butter, homemade caramel and caramel whipped cream.

Hole in the Wall restaurant Sebastopol”It’s village food,” said Beers, explaining his cuisine. “It’s all about living and eating in a small town, where people get to know each other by name.”

Hole in the Wall Restaurant, 972 Gravenstein Hwy. S, Suite 100, Sebastopol, 861-3777.  Open 7 days a week from 7 am to 2:30 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and 7 am to 9 pm Wednesdays through Sundays,

Author: biteclub

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

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  1. I have been dining at the Hole in the Wall since I first found out about it, over a year ago. I have eaten there with my family, with friends, and alone.
    I have never had bad service or less than good food. The food is quite often GREAT, I had missed Adam’s fantistic Sebastopol Scramble (- ham) and great crispy potatoes when he left VB, then a friend told me I would find my favorite breakfast at Hole in the Wall.
    Went the next morning, had my favorite breakfast which was just as wonderful as I remembered. Have been back tried at least a third of the menu. My favorites are the Borisuh w/short rib, any soup, the hamburger, the crepes. My sons’ favorites are the hamburgers, fries(both plain & with garlic), the duck burger, short rib sandwich, short rib hash, grilled cheese sandwich, mac’ & cheese.
    The thing you have to remember everything except the short ribs are made to order. Which may require a bit of a wait, but it also means if a dish sounnds good, except for one or two ingredients, they will make the dish just the way you want it. You do not have to worry about offending Adam, he wants you to enjoy your food, his ego is not on the line.
    My friends that I have taken mainly from out of town all say the salads are great. The reason I and my family members have been able to dine here so often are the extremely reasonable prices.
    As for service since my first visit I have alway had friendly and efficient service. From my second visit on I have always been welcomed as a regular. My children have said the samething, which is another reason they keep returning, as young men where else can they get great food, good service and be treated with a warm welcome & respect? Plus, it is a place they can take their girlfriends, with out breaking the bank.

  2. I’m not sure if Adam ever takes a break from his restaurant and it’s beginning to show. We loved the service when Amy was greeting customers. Adam creates delicious entrees but we wont be going back until he gets rid of the rude girls greeting customers. Recently I had a “girls day” instead of a traditional bridal shower. We started at Starbucks for coffee then I stopped by Hole in the Wall to ask weather or not we would need to make reservations for lunch~which would be our last stop after pedicures at Deja Vu nail salon. My encounter with the greeter / server was unprofessional and she seemed bothered by me. She shooed me to a seat towards the back before even asking a simple “may I help you?” Long story short: I asked about reservations and she rolled her eyes “for parties of 6″. At that point I realized she was treating me-the consumer-that I needed “them” more than they needed business. If you want excellent food and professional courteous service go to Woodruffs. Sorry Adam :( I wish you luck in getting things turned around with your service. Less is more so maybe cut back your service hours for better quality service and I’m sure folks will return for your delicious food.

  3. When I dined in Hole in the Wall I like the food in there. I love their pasta I forgot what’s the name of that pasta with the coconut. based on my experience overall it’s good. :)

  4. My family has visited The Hole in the Wall four times to give it a fair try. There won’t be a fifth. Service has been terrible EVERY time. A half-hour wait (at least) for food is standard. My son-in-law started timing how long it took the servers to refill his coffee cup. Heck, he had to ask 3 different times for the server to even bring a cup to the table so he could have some coffee.
    The food is generally above average, that is if they even have it. They advertise their hash but they’ve never had it when we ordered. The owner/head chef apologized, saying he works long days and was just too tired. Too many excuses. Customers are there to eat, not to hear complaints. If you’re too overwhelmed to run a restaurant, maybe try waiting tables there instead. They don’t seem to be in a hurry.

  5. I just had my first experience at Hole In The Wall. Breakfast. The food was on the good side of okay, but it wasn’t great. (They ran out of biscuits?!?! WTF?) The service, however, was atrocious. Atrocious enough that, combined with that clusterf. parking lot, I won’t be going back. Sorry Charlie!

  6. @Maben, Just think if you were sitting, eating and enjoying every wonderful morsel of Adam’s comfort food cuisine – would you want to be rushed out because someone else was waiting for a (your) table? Please go back and try it again when you aren’t in a hurry. Sebastopol is just that way.

  7. I had a similar unfortunate experience when we went last weekend. When I arrived there was a couple of people in front of us and also a large party. I waited to have my name taken for about 5-10 minutes but no one even acknowledged our presence. Finally I approached one of the servers and asked if she would take my name. She responded that they didn’t do that but that she knew we were waiting for a table for two (ostensibly because she’s psychic). We sat down outside and waited. Meanwhile the group and the couple were seated, so we figured we were next in line but then another couple people walked in and they were seated next! I was about to walk away (again) but I really wanted to try the hash so we waited some more (probably 30-35 minutes total from arrival) and finally got seated. Once we were seated waitresses would walk behind me, bumping my chair every couple minutes! I mean, I understand it’s a small space but that is just rude. Our server also completely lacked personality. Sheesh, crack a smile once in a while. Finally, the sous chef’s apron was disgustingly filthy. If you are going to expose your kitchen staff to the public either learn to use towels or change your apron.

    OK, now on to the good part: We split two orders, the short rib hash and the biscuits and gravy. The hash was just wonderfully delicious. The gravy was good but nothing to write home about. The coffee and juice were both great.

    I hate to be so negative about a small local establishment, especially when the food is quite good AND they are new and most likely ironing out those little kinks that every place will face but there were just so many disappointments – I wouldn’t feel right glossing over that.

  8. Had a bowl of Adam’s Curried Carrot soup on a tough day yesterday and can confirm that great soup can change the whole world.

  9. I grew up in Sebastopol & appreciate a chef that is trying to keep that small town feeling here. My boyfriend and I live close to HITW and have walked to dinner a few times. The food is prepared (not fast food, waiting under a heat lamp) so you need to be patient. Relax & enjoy! Thanks Adam~keep doing what you do!!

  10. Really disappointed for our first try. We called ahead for reservations and were told we needed to be 6 people. OK – that’s normal. Came by and was told there was no immediate seating for 5. Then I asked how long it would be for a table. Tthe answer was ‘dunno’. So I asked if it would be 20 to 30 minutes and was answered maybe – as if to say who knows! So we turned and walked out. Don’t need attitude on any visit no matter how good the food may be. In this economy we look forward to a night out as a real treat – that was no way to treat any potential customer.

  11. Breakfast at 10:30 in the morning left us out of luck if we wanted Biscuits & Gravy or Italian Sausage….although the food we did end up with was fabulous. I had the Hole In The Wall Scramble which was packed with flavor, with a side of potatoes that were crisp & very flavorful. My husband had the short rib hash, delicious & fresh with two perfectly cooked eggs. My son had the Two Eggs & Bacon combo, another big hit. The service was good, the chef came to our table to greet us & ask how our food was. We will definitely be back.

  12. I rarely go out to eat and when I do it is to try one of my favorite foods that I see written up in a review and don’t make at home. I went to Hole In The Wall to try the Shortrib Hash but was swayed by the biscuits and sausage gravy, one of my very favorite foods that I don’t eat very often. Very few diners make really good gravy that has to be not too thick and not too watery, have a creamy milk taste with the highlight being the sausage flavor which comes from good pork sausage and is typically called “country gravy.”
    My breakfast took almost 15 minutes to arrive (I noticed what appeared to be regulars had books or newspaper to read) and came with my eggs on top of the biscuits and gravy as I had ordered it. The eggs were done just right and looked and tasted fresh. The gravy was the right consistency but was bland in taste due to the lack of sausage flavoring. In all fairness the menu did not state it was made with pork sausage and the sausage that was used only added a different texture to the gravy and not flavor.
    The biscuits looked home made and not store bought and had a nice buttery flavor but were dry. When biscuits are dry they need more gravy and there was not enough to take away the dryness in the palette.
    I ordered fruit to go with my meal instead of potatoes and got a half apple cut into five slices and two strawberries cut in two. The apple was crisp and sweet but the strawberries were dry and not sweet.
    There are way too many flies in the diner and are annoying to deal with while trying to eat and should be addressed.
    Overall I rate what I had as good, not great and not excellent and the value as good for the price. Good brings me back to a place another time and I will go back to try either the mac n cheese or the shortrib hash, two more of my favorites.

  13. Quite honestly, Sara, I was underwhelmed by the food at the Gypsy Cafe, and the service was spotty. I went during a slow hour at Gypsy, and yet my glass sat empty far too often and for far too long. I spent twice as much as I do at Hole in the Wall. Perhaps your experience(s) have been different, but I’ll stick to a place where I’m not spending excessively on the meal so I can tip well.

  14. Gypsy Cafe is equally good, If not better, than Hole in the Wall….food & service excellent & their chef/owner… also runs out to great customers…not unique to Hole in the Wall’s cook. Give Gypsy a chance before you fawn over Hole in the Wall’s mediocre fare.

  15. I’ve been a regular breakfast customer since Hole In The Wall opened a few months ago. As much as I think I should sample all of the menu items, I continue to order the “Fungi Omelet” because it is consistently excellent. Adam serves a variety of mushrooms and with sauteed greens and cheese in an omelet with side of breakfast potatoes. Simply the best breakfast in town,

  16. This is the kind of place you can hang out and be satisfied with a good meal. The chef has a mix of comfort / Sonoma gourmet food on the menu. It is Kid friendly and the price is right for the quality and quantity of the food. I don’t think there is anything over $10. My family and I have been several times and have never had anything to complain about accept maybe the wait. But even so it’s worth the wait because the chef prepares everything himself and there is a courtyard in front for the kids to run around in. We will continue to eat at Hole In The Wall! Good job.

  17. My fiance and I eat at Hole in the Wall for breakfast regularly. We love the friendly staff & Chef Adam always makes a point to come by & say hello, that is when he’s not too busy with a full house to feed. When you go, be patient, great food takes time. If you are in a hurry for quick food McDonalds is right down the street…otherwise, enjoy the relaxed environment & practice your patience with the staff who work hard to make it a great experience for its customers. Thanks for the wonderful food Chef Adam! We hope to try your lunch & dinner menus too one day!

  18. I went w my family for Sunday brunch and the food was okay–some hits, some misses but the wait times were terrible and the service was awful. For example, had to ask twice for cream w coffee and by the time it came coffee was cold. Asked for soup before meal for hungry kid–never came–had to ask for it again and then ordered Dutch pancake and it arrived a good 15-20 min after we finished our other food. We left with a bad taste I’n our mouths and will most likely not return.

  19. Impressive, Adam. I wish more chefs would take the time to address complaints directly.

  20. I an very sorry you did not enjoy your experience. I personally try and make sure everyone does. To clarify, there is 5oz of steak on every salad. They are thick lean cuts and take time to cook, the mac and cheese is fairly quick. The rolls are made by Franco American, who have been baking bread locally for over 100 years. Breads that require proofing are impossible for me to make in the limited space of my restaurant. The slider should never be dry since they are braised very slowly, this is the first complaint I have had about this and if such a thing ever happens and I am informed about it at the time I will bend over backwards to make something for you that you do like. Once again, I am sorry your experience was unpleasant but if you decide to come back I will personally make sure your next visit is outstanding.

  21. Bummer, the food was awful. My table ordered before two other tables and it took forever to get it. The two tables that ordered behind us had got their food and finished before we even saw ours. How is this? We ordered steak salads like they did. Why the Mac N’ Cheese take 30 mins to heat in the oven?

    You would think a Marinated Steak salad would have Marinated Steak in it…..I don’t know maybe the chef was describing the salad dressing???????

    Don’t get the ShortRib Slider…its awful. The Short Rib is very very dry and was a weak horseradish aoili….I thought it was just Mayo. The bun was the worst. You think a chef would take the time to make home made buns, its very easy. Nope they just bought a bag of Safeway Kaiser Rolls and took a cookie cutter and punched out a slider roll. $3.25 for a wrinky dink slider, no thanks.

  22. The food is so good it’s unreal – even with something as simple as bacon & eggs you’ll want to savor every bite. And the staff and other customers are so friendly you’ll think you’re back in the 50s again. It’s a completely outstanding little place; I’d eat there twice a day every day if I could.

  23. Our first time eating there tonight and we will definitely be back. So many enticing dishes on the menu. We had the coconut cream pasta and the gumbo. They were so very different from each other and so very good! Amy and Adam seem genuinely interested in their diners and make Hole in the Wall such a friendly place to be. You really, really want to see them succeed.

  24. Wow. You always hope it’s going to be this good. Almost never is. We’ll be back!

  25. My father and I had lunch there today and it was very good. He had the Caesar salad with prawns and anchovies, the shrimp was soo sood. I had the lamburger with harissa aioli and it was also good. The staff was friendly and the place was hopping. We will go back for breakfast and the borsht.

  26. thats fabulous :)

  27. Totally kid friendly.

  28. To all that have dined there for breakfast….is it kid friendly?

  29. Hole in the Wall is delectable. Food for every mood and whimsy. Adam and Amy welcome folks and feed their bellies. It is a delightful spot with comfort food for every taste!

  30. I love hole in the wall :) chef goes out of his way to please the customers.
    The best part for me is his expanding gluten free options! Chef is eager to try new things, and seems to relish a dietary challenge like a celiac. Read my review on yelp, pictures included!
    Leah C.

  31. My wife and I make a regular pilgrimage to Hole in the Wall. We LOVE the place. The food is outstanding, very affordable, Amy and the waitstaff are a delight, the biscuits are beyond exceptional (I bet you can’t have just one), the best turkey burgers ever, veggie burger is a yum. plus we always have fun there. Adam somehow manages to cook and mingle and keep the orders moving. They welcome feedback. They work hard and aim to please so tip generously.

  32. Besides the gumbo, all of Adam’s other soups are exceptional. And where other restaurants will give you a small cup along with a sandwich, HITW serves up a major sized bowl. Cream of butternut squash and potato leak are two of the most recent ones.

    Wish the place was bigger. Knock out the Wall?

  33. The breakfast IS where it’s at. Went here this morning. I just had the basic two eggs scrambled, potatoes, bacon, biscuit. Everything on my plate was delicious. We ended up having to get another biscuit before we left. SO amazingly good. We’ll definitely be back.

  34. Had the most amazing breakfast here this morning. Chef Adam was a real Gent, came out and mingled and took the time to talk meat (of course I’m always down to talk meat;) The food was fantastic and I am so happy that there is now a great breakfast joint in town!

  35. Hole In The *Wall*. My bad….

  36. Just going on Red’s writeups, I’d try Hole In The Way before Gypsy Cafe. Thanks for the Sebastopol legwork, Red….

  37. The wife and I have been to hole in the wall a couple of times. The breakfast is excellent, and affordable, but the lunch left something to be desired. I had Short rib sliders, just OK. The wife had the gumbo, and wasn’t blown away.
    Breakfast is where it’s at! Some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had…….

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