Humble Pie closes

Jeff Kan Lee/PD

Humble Pie in Penngrove has closed.

Restaurant owner and chief pie-baker Miriam Donaldson claims the closure was prompted by the sudden loss of their lease. The restaurant closed on October 31.

From Donaldson: “Sad and tragic news. The owner of our building has not renewed our lease and the space once known as the Humble Pie Penngrove will now be “Mack’s bar and grill”. Sunday was our last day, which is pretty sudden but what ya gonna do eh?”

The owner of the building, Robin Pfefer, counters that Humble Pie’s lease ran until March 2011 and the Humble Pie crew left the space without warning.

They closed for personal reasons, and they were not tossed out or forced to leave. It makes the new owners and me look like the bad guys, but it was their choice to leave before their lease was up,” said Pfefer.

Pfefer is the former owner of the Black Cat Bar which closed in August 2010. When she spoke to BiteClub last summer, Pfefer was clear that she planned to let Humble Pie continue to operate in the cafe space — which is attached to the bar — but would be leasing the bar space to the owners of Cotati’s Eight Ball for a new bar called Mack’s.

What wasn’t clear at the time was that the lease ultimately included the cafe space. Pfefer said she extended the lease to Humble Pie until March 2011 so they could secure a new location before Mack’s took over the space, in good faith to Humble Pie. Pfefer said that the new bar/cafe owners had no involvement in the closure of Humble Pie and did not plan to open their cafe until after Humble Pie’s lease ran out in March.

Both sides maintain they’re in the right. Donaldson told BiteClub she hopes to reopen another restaurant within a year if she can come up with the funding.

Commence mourning.

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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33 Comments

  1. Thank you Alice for supporting Mack’s! Every word you spoke was true! It’s going to be an amazing family fun place. The Mack’s have a large, close family and have nothing but great intentions for our new business. I understand the disappointment of the Humble Pie leaving but our family had nothing to do with it and I truly hope people give our family a chance at our life long dream. We promise, we won’t let you down!

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  2. I mourn the Black Cat – Heck I still mourn the Cotati Caberet – but this seems like a great opportunity for the Humble Pie to find a larger space where they can serve more people and do better financially. They got a good start at the Cat – time to stop badmouthing it and put their energy into moving forward to an even better space. Food cooked in anger does not nourish the cook or the patron!

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    • I so agree.. great last line of your comment.

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  3. extremely sad. Only restaurant of its kind in SoCo. I hope Miriam can put something else together soon. And yes, the space was perfect.

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  4. Regardless of what the story is, this is a major loss. Humble Pie was a treasure.
    I had serious doubts that Humble Pie would remain after the property was sold. When the bras came down from the Black Cat I viewed it as a watershed moment. Usually new owners have their own agenda.
    RIP Humble Pie, Penngrove. We hope to see you soon in another locale.

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    • I didn’t think the food was very good. Perhaps she’s off to cooking school.

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  5. This is beyond a travesty. I’ll be boycotting that bar and the stupid new restaurant they’re kicking out Humble Pie for. SO MAD!! I didn’t even get a last meal there before they left :( I’m seriously disappointed and pissed off! I hope, hope, hope they resurface with an even better location and soon.

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    • Sorry Jenny, for your disappoinment but obviously you did not read the article fully. The new owner’s of Mack’s had nothing to do with the folks from Humble Pie leaving. They do not own the building and are leasing as did the Humble Pie. Why are you so angry at them…They have a dream, just like the folks at Humble Pie…before you pre-judge them why not let them also have an opportunity. Go a couple times get to know the new owners, (This is a family run business). I popped my head in last weekend and met a couple of the new owners, Vicki & Gary Mack, they seem to be very nice people, there were grandkids running around and lots of family and friends trying to get the place clean and ready to open. They said Mack’s is named in honor of Gary’s late Father and Brother who both passed away at a very young age. They had always spoke of doing something like this together. I hope to see you in there someday.

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      • I am excited to see what the new owners have planned. Already, they are starting an open mic night on Thursday nights. Tomorrow, Feb. 10th, is the kick off of the open mic nights at Mack’s. I am going for sure! There is lots of talent just waiting to share some Music!

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  6. To everyone showing their appreciation for the Humble Pie: Thank you. You guys made these last two years a blast, and I hope that we start the party again sometime soon!

    cheers,

    that guy in the kitchen.

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  7. Terrible news! One of our favorite restaurants and will be dearly missed.
    I hope they can recover soon and open a new place.

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  8. Okay let me get this straight . . . they are going to put in a bar and grill in a location that is just down the road from Applebees and Jeromes in a place that is impossible to navigate at breakfast and dinner due to commute traffic.

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    • It was a successful bar and grill for seven years already, I don’t think it will be too hard to get it going again.

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  9. That is so sad, Humble Pie was one of our favorite restaurants. We would always go there when my partner had a gig at The Black Cat. I love their pie so much I had one at my wedding….and their dinner menu was like no other place. Those bavarian soft pretzels – yum!!! I was already bummed about the Black Cat, my favorite bar, but at least there was the consolation that Humble Pie would still be there. And now it both are being replaced by a Sports Bar and Grill? That is just wrong. Unique character, great eclectic music, and amazing food replaced by something you can find in every downtown 3x over. Who needs that? I certainly won’t travel to Penngrove from Santa Rosa for that…the new business owner would be wise to rethink his business plan. I hope Humble Pie raises enough funds to open a new establishment soon…come to Santa Rosa please!

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  10. hey heather when it reopens you have to open the story with ‘really crumby news’
    thats a freebie

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  11. the 8-ball is stinky
    hope that isn’t what they kicked out humble pie for, just to bring cotati stink to penngrove

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    • Yeah — poor Penngrove – They’re losing Humble Pie, a unique, wonderful restaurant to an armpit like the 8 Ball. Yuck!!!

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  12. That’s just pathetic. Now, all that’s left in Penngrove is the hairdresser and (I hope) the costume place. Betcha the new landlord has friends or family running the new establishment. Penngrove deserves better. I hope you find a new place in town. If not, come to Forestville – or even Guerneville. I’d be happy to eat there.

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    • Don’t forget Superburger! Great burgers and the sweet potato fries are fantastic. Not too many places left where you can get a good, thick malt, either!

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  13. This is terrible news. The Humble Pie has been my refuge as a student; a one of a kind, warm, peaceful place to study, read, enjoy a glass of wine with friends, listen to great music, and eat the BEST food for miles. Whenever I had visitors in from out of town, I HAD to take them to the Humble Pie. I had to take everyone I knew in-town, too, of course. My college graduation dinner was at Humble Pie (twice). I tried new things I never thought i would at the Humble Pie (goat cheese, figs, rabbit, and some other fruits I still can’t identify), because I knew everything they made would be beyond wonderful. The Humble Pie was a business model that I came to respect and could only hope to emulate some day. Not only is this bad business, the Humble Pie was an integral part of Penngrove’s character that many, many, people will miss (especially students who don’t want to go to Cotati’s creepy bars). I will never go to this new establishment. I’ll do whatever I can to support the new Humble Pie, instead.

    One of my family members who lives in Southern California (whom I of course took to the Humble Pie during a visit) had this to say when they heard the news. “good luck to the a55h0l3 land-lord who wouldn’t renew. Especially in this economy and in Penngrove. You gotta be kidding me.”

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    • So you and your family know, I know for a fact that the lease was extended through march and that the owner of the building was taking less money from the people leasing the bar due to them not being able to have the cafe immediately. So really Robin is the one that got screwed in this story. Humble Pie was a wonderful cafe but Robin is not the reason the left and they were not “kicked out”

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  14. I’m so disappointed to see both the Black Cat and the Humble Pie go away. The Cat was the only bar in the area that hadn’t been invaded by frat boys looking to take a girl home. The atmosphere was quirky and the staff was awesome. My friends and I consoled ourselves with the fact that even though The Cat was gone, we could still meet for delicious entrees and pie at the Humble Pie. Now that they, too, have been lost, my friends I have have lost any reason we might have had to go to Penngrove.

    Here’s hoping that the Humble Pie will find a new an better venue!

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    • Yeah. The Cat was our refuge. I don’t go out a ton, but when i do, I really dislike the meat markets. I loved the music and the funky vibe. And Humble Pie was the total icing.

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    • i liked the black cat. i thought wendy made the funniest comments! i have fond memories of playing robin’s open (“gaping”) mic that was a good time thnx. maybe for humble pie this can be a door closing here but a window opening somewhere else, maybe even better. life may be sweeter for this, i don’t know, see how it feels in the end……

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  15. Funny how property owners are unwilling to work with viable businesses. So the they loose good tenants. Only to have an empty property. It’s happening all over. Greed will be the downfall of our country.

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    • Right on. Bob! My thoughts exactly. – rich

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  16. Noooooooooo! I’ve been drooling over their menus for two years and just talked my boyfriend into going. Whhhhhhhhhyyyyyy?

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  17. That’s just wrong! Why mess with something that is already doing good????? So if the owners of Humble Pie are able to find another space, will they reopen in a new space?

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    • Miriam said she hopes to open a new restaurant if she can find the cash to do so. She’s just had a baby, so it’s a double whammy. But we’re all sending lots of good vibes toward a new Humble Pie. The sad thing is that space was just soooo them.

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  18. Awww such a bummer. :((((((( Amazing pies and people.

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