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Starks buy Ravenous

Author: | posted 01/19/12 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Ravenous Cafe | Mark Aronoff

Chef Mark Stark and his wife, Terri of Stark Reality Restaurants, are in the process of purchasing The Ravenous Cafe in Healdsburg.

“It wasn’t planned,” said restaurateur Mark Stark, who’s company now owns five restaurants in Sonoma County including Stark’s Steakhouse, Monti’s Rotisserie and Willi’s Winebar in Santa Rosa and Willi’s Seafood in Headlsburg. “The owners wanted to go back and do something smaller. It came across our plate and…you just can’t help but walk into that building and say ‘Wow, this is so cool’.”

The restaurant is continuing operations as Ravenous currently, but the Starks plan to rename and revamp the menu as traditional Spanish/Greek tapas by spring. “When Terri and I went to Spain last year, we just fell in love with that way of eating, with everyone sharing and having really cool food. It just creates a kind of party atmosphere.

The signature orange walls and back patio are staying, along with much of the small cafe’s funky personality. “It reminds us a lot of Willi’s,” said Stark.

It’s rumored that the cafe owners plan to put their energy into the tiny Ravenette Cafe on North Street, which shuttered in 2009.

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26 Responses

  1. Catherine May 13, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    P.S. Born San Franciscan with famly ties in Santa Rosa that go back to 1923. I hereby dub you as accepted by the “natives”.

  2. Catherine May 13, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    You guys are fantastic. Just ate at Willi’s in Healdsburg yesterday. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  3. Patricia June 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Small plates really make money, almost compares with pasta dishes.

  4. Greg June 2, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Our last trip to the Sanoma area was highlihted by being able to enjoy dinning at each of Stark’s restaurants. We will now anticipate our next trip so we can try the new place!!! The variety, quality, creativity and freshness are traits that one would never find in a “chain” restaurant!!

  5. MJ February 19, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Good Luck Mark & Terri! We always eat in the backyard on a nice sunny day & we love it but it most definately could use a bit of a facelift & made safer! The uneven ground in spots is dangerous! More comfortable chairs would also be nice! See U this Summer.

  6. TheDuke January 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    When will you west coast restaurant snobs stop complaining about having too much of a good thing. I’m from the east coast and my choices for dinner tonight are between Applebee’s and Chevy’s. Do you really have “A Leg” to stand on? So suck it!!!!!!!

  7. BorrowedBlue January 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Wow — now there will be two Starks tapas restaurants within a couple of blocks — nothing like diversity in Healdsburg!

  8. Scott January 29, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Sorry to see Ravenous go, but happy that a good local restaurant group like Starks are taking over the space!

  9. David January 25, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Better get down there and order one last round of those Crab Cakes!

  10. simon January 25, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    A sad sad day when local owners move on &

    are overtaken by another chain barside scene that does not serve

    a real menu, but only the shrunken tapas plates for inebriates.

    Sad sad sad. Let us home Ravenette will rise again. . . .

    • Mark January 28, 2012 at 7:47 am #

      I’m confused. How is it that Mark & Terri Stark aren’t locals. We moved to Santa Rosa 12 years ago to live in Terri’s Grandmothers house (Terri is 3 rd generation Santa Rosen). We fell in love with Sonoma county. 10 years ago with $1000 to our name, and with only family and friends as supporters, we figured out how to purchase a business, the Orchard Inn, now Willis Wine Bar. 10 years later, we now run 4 restaurants and a catering company, all local, staffed by almost 150 local employees, some who have been with us from the start, some who have purchased their first homes here, locally, in Sonoma county. This was all acheived by a lot of hard work, a lot of continuous support from our local clientele, and some luck. We love being in Sonoma, as I often tell my wife,” it’s the first place I have ever worked that I feel such a sense of community”. I’ve been cooking for 25 years, I always try to give my all, but if you don’t enjoy our product, just don’t go to our places. But don’t ever accuse me of being chain and not a local!

      • Roberta Curiale January 29, 2012 at 7:52 am #

        We love all your restaurants. Just ate at Starks the other night. Keep up the good work. We will be at the new one when it opens..

      • Nicole.b. February 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

        Mark, I want to let you know that we’ve been in Sonoma Co. for almost 3 years now and your resturants are our favorites. I’ve celebrated my birthday, purchase of our home, relatives visit, friends visit, etc etc. @ your resturants. It’s been a sincere treat for us and we’ve always have had a fantastic time.( I once sat next to someone in the airplane who was looking so foward to that night’s dinner @ Willis.) I am looking foward to a new Ravenous! Would love it if you added something special for a ” ladies luncheon”.

      • Bee Eats May 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

        The only thing that would make me and my family love your restaurants more is if you opened a location in Downtown Windsor! I’d be first in line. Best of luck with the new Healdsburg venue. I look forward to dining there as well. :)

    • BillC January 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      What goes through your head Simon when your face is being pushed into the pillow in anticipation of getting wildly crammed? Are you totally captured by the moment or are you able to multitask and post comments on Bite Club?

  11. K January 21, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I absolutely love the outside at ravenous. Please leave that as it is. The funky bar and the lights, it feels like your at a backyard party. My all time favorite healdsburg out doors – and healdsburg has the best selection of outdoor options in the county.

    And I am sure if anyone can do it right, It’ll be the Starks.

  12. Charlie January 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Definitely a candidate for Restaurant Impossible, except no need for visual appeal. I imagine the bulk of Starks dough will be spent cleaning up the kitchen.

    Don’t worry hipster crowd, they’ll probably still have Pabst Blue Ribbon on the menu.

  13. Johanna January 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I can’t say I’m sad to see Ravenous go; the food has been rapidly declining for years. But another Stark’s restaurant? Not too thrilled that this local chain which offers essentially “formula food” is opening yet another outpost in Healdsburg.

  14. Laura January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    This is so great! I stopped going to Ravenous some time ago. It seemed like they just didn’t care anymore…hey, mark and terri – we just went to a neat tapas restaurant in carmel called Mundaka. Great atmosphere and really yummy food. Check it out.

  15. Chris January 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Same tired menu for too long just a couple minor ariations Its time for a change there!

  16. Frank January 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    It’s a great,fun place as it is !!! Don’t change a thing !!! I realize tapas is the trendy thing, but do we need another one ???

  17. anon January 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Can’t wait! If its half as good as Willi’s it will be fantastic!

  18. KC January 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Wow. Sad to hear this. Ravenous is fantastic as it is and as it has always been.

  19. Anon. January 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    What great news! The Stark’s Restaurants are some of the best in county. Ravenous was great if you enjoy drunken staff and food poisoning.

    • wangofango January 20, 2012 at 12:53 am #

      “Ravenous was great if you enjoy drunken staff and food poisoning.” Silly boy…if you got food poisoning there, it means you just didn’t drink enough red wine with your meal. You’re mixing up alcohol withdrawal symptoms with food poisoning…

  20. Lee January 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Wow! This is quite shock, a beloved institution in Healdsburg.

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