Quantcast

Pine Cone Restaurant

Author: | posted 12/23/08 | Print This Post Print This Post |

The cherished Pine Cone Restaurant has recently re-opened in downtown Sebastopol under the direction of co-restauranteurs Riley Benedetti (Willie Bird) and Dikendra Maskey (Annapurna).

The menu is a hodgepodge of tofu and tempeh, turkey products (sandwiches, salads) and Indian dishes (curry and saag paneer) — a reflection of the owners’ other businesses but not exactly well-melded into a cohesive dining experience.

There’s clearly a nod to the diner’s greasy-spoon past with burgers, sandwiches and a brunch dishes adapted to a healthier lifestyle. Tofu, turkey and shellfish are major players. Pork and beef are noticably absent.

What could be a unique opportunity for a fusion of flavors, ingredients and styles plays it safe. But despite kinks (inexperienced service, some uneven dishes), Pine Cone regulars and curious Sebastopolians seem eager to see the space revitalized. 162 N. Main St., Sebastopol, 823.1375.

Find more restaurants tagged: | |

31 Responses

  1. Stefanie June 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Regrettably, I have to agree with those who experienced poor service at the new Pine Cone. We were the first customers to arrive for breakfast, yet we waited 25 minutes for food that was none too good and part of the order was wrong. When my husband, who is not a hothead, expressed frustration over the long wait, the waitress told him he didn’t have to be rude. Not to mention she delivered the meal with not a word of apology or thanks for your patience. A rare opportunity for my husband and I to have breakfast out together was blown on this place. From now on, we stick with the tried and true Sam’s For Play Cafe on Sebastopol Road. Good food and good service, all day, every day.

  2. Dennis B January 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Ok, this is an update to my comments a couple up from here. We had gone for Sunday brunch, a month back, and liked it, but thought service was POOR. We went back for dinner a couple nights ago…
    The dinner menu is like Willie Bird had a shotgun marriage with Anapurna. Our choices were 4 Indian dishes, and 3 turkey burgers, and 3 veggie burgers.
    I ordered the Chicken Curry, which was okay, but not spicey enough and literally came in a small condiment-size ramikan, with a dry cup of brown rice, and some spring mix salad-all for $10. Oh and some Nan-bread arrived too. Decent flavor, but not remarkable and way too small serving.
    My wife ordered the Nut Burger, which was GREAT. Nice and cheesey and rich flavor and texture. Best non-meat burger I have had.
    BUT, the service was really BAD, and that is considering that we had both owners fawn over us and ended up dealing with both waitresses. (two waiters for a 50-person place??) We sat down and literally waited 15 minutes before anybody asked if we were ready, offered water, wine list etc. One owner sat us down, one waitress took our order, the other owner delivered our food-in akward stages, and the other waitress did our check. I have had fewer staff at Cyrus, and the Pine Cone’s service still stunk. The kitchen is very fast (why not with premade curries, and burger assembly), and is way ahead of the servers. They ran out of french fries on a Friday night right as my two boys were licking their lips for the fries they ordered with their $6 quesadilla!!
    I am willing to try for a third time, since the food has not sucked, but I don’t know if all are so generous.

  3. vegan's partner January 8, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Tried this with an omnivore pal at lunchtime the first week it was open. Was delighted to see that they served breakfast thru the lunch hour and ordered the roasted veggie benedict. It was excellent, very tasty and well prepared, and the service was pretty good for a brand new place. I noted that there were many menu items my vegan could snarf up, so I was excited to bring her to the new Pine Cone. A couple weeks went by, and that opportunity came along — vegan and I went for lunch. Absolutely, unqualifiedly, the worst meal I have ever been served (though ‘served’ is a generous word for how the food, such as it was, reached our table). My turkey club (ordered because I knew Willie Bird was a co-owner) took nearly an hour to arrive, and when it did — I’m not making this up — there was no turkey in it. There was a limp slab of turkey bacon, a wad of iceberg lettuce, a wan wedge of ping-pong tomato. No mayo, awful bread. The plate looked like it had been dropped on the floor and half of its contents had been hastily picked up and thrown back on it. My vegan ordered a bowl of dal, having enjoyed the dal at Annapurna. What arrived was a cup (our ‘server’ explained that this was the bowl, and when asked what the cup looked like, shrugged and said nobody had ever ordered one), a cup containing what might have been leftover three-day-old dal from Annapurna watered down to the point that only the color faintly remained — no lentils were visible, even in pureed form. She also ordered, to her ultimate regret, a side of home fries. These arrived (quite a bit later than the dal) burnt dry — turned out to be a good thing there were only a few on the plate. What the hell happened between my first meal at the new Pine Cone and this disaster?! In this economy, it will be a long time before I risk scarce meals-out bucks here again.

  4. It's an East West Knock-off January 8, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    It’s too much like the East West Cafe right down the street. The niche for tofuties has already been filled, and there is nowhere in Sebastopol to get a traditional breakfast. I’d go weekly if I good get a good stack of pancakes and a side of crispy bacon.

  5. Dennis B January 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm #

    I went to the old pine cone for the typical greasy spoon and kid friendly menu. I personally think that Apple Trees down the street had better breakfast and greasy spoon fare. I like the more interesting fare in the new Pine Cone.
    If you want pancakes and omelettes and burgers (but kidnda expensive) go to the Farmhouse or Apple Trees. I think the more “fusion” fare is a nice change and the amount of people always in there seems to bear it out? The decor is finally out of the 1960s, and the food is finally caught up to the tastes of most younger “East-West Cafe-like” Sebastopol residents.
    My main complaint is the waitstaff took forever and then brought our food without utensils, coffee refill, syrup and condiments. Then took forever to bring the check, with our 3 kids bouncing all over the place. Will return for food, but hope service is better.

  6. Dennis B January 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    I went to the old pine cone for the typical greasy spoon and kid friendly menu. I personally think that Apple Trees down the street had better breakfast and greasy spoon fare. I like the more interesting fare in the new Pine Cone.
    If you want pancakes and omelettes and burgers (but kidnda expensive) go to the Farmhouse or Apple Trees. I think the more “fusion” fare is a nice change and the amount of people always in there seems to bear it out? The decor is finally out of the 1960s, and the food is finally caught up to the tastes of most younger “East-West Cafe-like” Sebastopol residents.
    My main complaint is the waitstaff took forever and then brought our food without utensils, coffee refill, syrup and condiments. Then took forever to bring the check, with our 3 kids bouncing all over the place. Will return for food, but hope service is better.

  7. a.styles January 7, 2009 at 8:57 am #

    wow…….they should have left it alone and servered the food that people came there for…..i give it 6 months

  8. Patrick January 6, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    My wife and I went there Sunday for breakfast. The waiter we got was either stoned or hung-over from Saturday night. He had no idea if they had muffins or not. On the good side the omelettes were very good (I had the Spanish and she had the Greek) and we liked the décor. On the minus side the bread tasted like store bought and was very disappointing. The potatoes were ok, but nothing special. But worst of all the coffee was either very weakly brewed or maybe from the McDonalds down the road. If they get some better coffee and bread we may give it another try. Till then we will stick with Willow Wood in Graton.

  9. Kimbo January 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    A weekend ritual while walking our way to the Analy Theatre for a double bill matinee was to stop by the Pine Cone for piping hot fries and a couple of chocolate Cokes. I can’t remember how much it cost but I think the show was a quarter for us kids. I’ll let you imagine how long ago that was. By the way, the Analy Theatre is now the Safeway parking lot. I don’t think many in town knew what tofu was back then.

  10. david December 31, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Maybe people should try the Nepalese/Indian food, since that is Maskey’s / Annapurnas specialty.
    If they serve the butter chicken, I am so there…and, mmm, naan bread.

  11. birdwatcher December 30, 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    Sorry! new user…

  12. birdwatcher December 30, 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    Well, kids, I can’t explain the discrepancies between the bad experiences and mine, but have to put in my 2 cents. This was our second visit (the first one was dinner in mid-November), and I was really pleased again. It was quite full this morning. There was a large party before 9 a.m. and people kept coming in. Some tiny quibbles: no more o.j., although they had a really nice tangerine juice; the espresso had cooled off slightly; had to ask for jam for the toast. But the food was great and we were checked on frequently with smiles.
    It might help to order the Nepalese and Indian dishes, although that won’t account for service. Dunno–I must lead a charmed life!

  13. birdwatcher December 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Well, kids, I can’t explain the discrepancies between the bad experiences and mine, but have to put in my 2 cents. This was our second visit (the first one was dinner in mid-November), and I was really pleased again. It was quite full this morning. There was a large party before 9 a.m. and people kept coming in. Some tiny quibbles: no more o.j., although they had a really nice tangerine juice; the espresso had cooled off slightly; had to ask for jam for the toast. But the food was great and we were checked on frequently with smiles.
    It might help to order the Nepalese and Indian dishes, although that won’t account for service. Dunno–I must lead a charmed life!

  14. pam December 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    Well, kids, I can’t explain the discrepancies between the bad experiences and mine, but have to put in my 2 cents. This was our second visit (the first one was dinner in mid-November), and I was really pleased again. It was quite full this morning. There was a large party before 9 a.m. and people kept coming in. Some tiny quibbles: no more o.j., although they had a really nice tangerine juice; the espresso had cooled off slightly; had to ask for jam for the toast. But the food was great and we were checked on frequently with smiles.
    It might help to order the Nepalese and Indian dishes, although that won’t account for service. Dunno–I must lead a charmed life!

  15. sindee December 30, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    I’ve had “Pine Cone”-grade burgers at the Apple Tree and at D’s Diner. Both totally ordinary greasy spoon burgers with fries. Both fine.
    The above poster who mentioned the burgers at Starlight was right on! YUM!

  16. decent burgers? December 30, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Decent burgers can be had on the cheap at Sequoia Drive-In (not downtown S’pol, on the edge of town, but it ain’t that big a town). You can also get GREAT burgers at both K&L and Starlight, both downtown, though both a little pricey.
    Too bad about The Pine Cone, though. Walked by there the other day at lunch and it was about half full. Hope they get it together, as its a shame to waste all that effort.

  17. It won't last. December 29, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    We went. Won’t, again. Inept (but nice, and apologetic) wait staff, and truly terrible food from a menu which, even if cooked perfectly, is to yawn for. Bad enough that we were tempted to climb into their kitchen and show them how to make hollandaise–I don’t know what that stuff was they poured over our eggs, but it was kinda scary.
    I think the problem here is twofold: going for super-cheap labor (because clearly, most if not all of the people working there have never cooked or waited tables before in their lives), and just plain poor market analysis: it’s Sebastopol, so tasteless “healthy” food must be the thing, right? After all, it’s been working for East West for years!
    On the other hand, there’s nowhere in downtown where you can get a decent burger (unless you want to pay with a limb at Hop Monk). The old Pine Cone was a naugahyde greasy spoon, and thank the gods for that. Now, it’s another forgettable poseur spot. Poor service, forgettable food? Didn’t work for West County, and won’t work at the Pine Cone, either.
    And BTW, folks, I don’t care if you’re from Willie Bird: turkey is the least flavorful meat in existence. It does NOT replace beef.

  18. Disappointed December 28, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    obnoxious waiter/server who couldn’t get the orders straight and bristled when corrected; gluey pancakes, and eggs resembling the lunar surface–friends had to request butter for toast as well as syrup. will never return…can’t even give it a C-

  19. dharil December 26, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    Greasy spoon? go up the street and try the Farmhouse.
    Don’t you people do ANY research?
    I had a nice ordinary Indian chicken dish at the nex Pine Cone the other night. A few new restaurant fumbles, but no worse than new restaurant experiences I’ve had all over the country.
    Give ‘em a shot. Or don’t. But, crappy diner food is NOT in short supply in Sonoma County.

  20. Local December 26, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    We wanted to give this place a chance, shop local and all… but it will be a while before we go again. They forgot to put an egg on my eggs benedict, the toast was soggy, the food came out of the kitchen cold. They did comp our coffees after I mentioned the lack of an egg. I would have preferred the egg, that’s why I ordered the benedict. After the money they spent to get the place cleaned up you would think they would be concerned about the quality of the food and the presentation. I wish them luck but probably won’t be eating there again soon.

  21. Imagery December 25, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    I do have to state that they are in extreme need of a shake-up of front of house management there. I would be happy to help train them and get some organization into the place so that customers get served the correct food that they order, and get waited on in a timely and orderly fashion.
    Riley does what he can, but unfortunately, apologies and comp meals aren’t going to last too long, because in this economy, meals must be paid for in order to make a profit/stay in business. Two out of three times I’ve received something different that what I ordered, and yesterday, the server I had was assisting us in one corner, and was also working with a table clear across the restaurant. Needless to say, I was at the counter multiple times asking for refills, the jam for my toast, my side order, etc. which didn’t show well for the organization of the staff.

  22. Kelly December 25, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    The American Dream, like its means, are ever changing. These are two individuals who set out respecitvely to accomplish THE American Dream of successfully establishing a family business/restaurant. Having accomplished THE dream with an American Turkey eatery and an authentic Nepalese cuisine restaurant, they have realized that perhaps THEIR American dream has changed. They want to revitalize an iconic restaurant to reflect that and wish to provide their local community with a healthy meal and social spot. The Pinecone and the American Dream will be dynamic and reflect the change we all go through. It will be what we desire and it is already reflecting our continued longing for the American Dream.

  23. gratcon December 25, 2008 at 9:00 am #

    I have to laugh at the “why aren’t things they way they used to be” crowd. It would be nice to go back to 25 cent per gallon of gasoline too, and what about Tony home permanants that stunk up the whole house, and black and white televisons that took 3 minutes to warm up and went off the air at 12 midnight. And windshield wipers on cars that would slow down when you accelerated?
    But wait, there is hope…maybe, just maybe, the food at the Pine Cone IS like the way it was before they way it was, more natural, less preservatives and less processed. Opps, I guess that’s too far back.

  24. Jerry December 24, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    The last thing Sebastopol needed was another new trendy eatery. Well, we got it. The old Pine Cone needed a clean up and redo, but this place has no personality other than to say “I am trendy”. Even the young servers, although very nice and trying very hard, had no idea of what they were doing.
    At the old Pine Cone my favorite waitress (that’s waitress, not server) complained that she once went to a resturaunt that was so fancy you had to pay extra for your salad and veggies. When she served my coffee in a Ruth Chris mug a customer had brought it, she did not know it was an upscale place. But the service was good and both server and food had a down home feel to them.
    I hear the new food is pretty good (my breakfast was OK), but I miss my Chicken Fried Steak & eggs covered in covered country gravy. The old place may have recommended by cardiologist looking for new patients, but it sure gave you comfort food in a extremely casual setting at a very affordable price.

  25. egc December 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    What Doctor Dad said. Though I did stop going to the old Pine Cone because the fries were always soggy. Last time I walked by the new place, last week, there were 4 customers inside, and none looked pleased to be there. I looked at the menu, shook my head, and kept on walking.

  26. Doctor Dad December 24, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    LOL Bill. It didn’t have to happen. There’s still time for Sebastopol to return to sanity. I have hope…

  27. bill December 24, 2008 at 6:08 am #

    Old Sebastopol dragged kicking and screaming into the New Age. Had to happen sooner or later.

  28. jungljim December 24, 2008 at 5:51 am #

    don’t eat dead animals.this restaurant is trying but dead turkeys are not a good thing.no beef.

  29. I EAT BEEF December 23, 2008 at 11:28 pm #

    Want a burger, go to Barley and Hops Tavern in Occidental. No Tofu Tempeh Burgers there and damm good beer! by the way Imagery every restaurant is brimming with customers when they open. Wasn’t long ago that green restaurant across the street was brimming and you can see it now.

  30. Imagery December 23, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    One would believe that from the comment above, that person has never bothered visiting the restaurant. Each time we go there, the place is brimming with breakfast customers who are willing to spend money in these times for a healthy breakfast.
    This is a doomed deal? Not sure, but packed restaurants usually aren’t “doomed”. You ought to try it sometime, as you might be shocked to find that the food tastes good, and it’s not any more expensive than most of the places found downtown.

  31. Doctor Dad December 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    They’ve now officially ruined Sebastopol. What a couple of fools. The Pine Cone was an American cuisine restaurant, and yes, a greasy spoon. Tofu? Tempeh? Why bother? Why not just call it Iohfnr? The Idiot Obsessive Health Food Nut Restaurant. This is a doomed deal right out of the gate…

Leave a Reply