French Laundry alumnus Ari Weiswasser is opening a 32-seat restaurant in Glen Ellen with his wife, Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser, the former East Coast sales manager for the Benziger Family Winery.
The Glen Ellen Star, a farmhouse-style restaurant, will open this spring, featuring a wood-burning brick oven, an eight-seat counter, an outdoor patio and a menu described as "refined rustic." The food will revolve around the brick oven, and draw on flavors of smoke, caramelization and char.
In addition to the Laundry, Weiswasser has worked in New York at Daniel, Picholine and also Corton, where he served as chef de cuisine under chef Paul Liebrandt.
The move to Glen Ellen is a homecoming of sorts for Benziger-Weiswasser. She worked for her family wine business and Kobrand Wine and Spirits on the East Coast, but says she longed for home. After she and Weiswasser were married, they searched for a West Coast restaurant site. When daughter Noa was born, moving closer to family in Glen Ellen made sense.
Weiswasser's menu will draw on local products and produce, and include house-made ice cream offered in half-pints for tableside or offsite consumption. The restaurant will be open for dinner seven nights a week, and for lunch Friday through Sunday.—Stett Holbrook