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Spotlight on Cotati/Rohnert Park



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PARTNERS IN MUSIC Michael McCullaugh, right, owns the Redwood Cafe with partner Mustapha Jamal.
  • PARTNERS IN MUSIC Michael McCullaugh, right, owns the Redwood Cafe with partner Mustapha Jamal.


Redwood Cafe's Michael McCullaugh shares his joy for Cotati and Rohnert Park

Describe your perfect day?

Obviously, we live in a beautiful place—a perfect day would be the sun shining, people coming into downtown Cotati on bikes, some live music playing somewhere. I love the accordion festival that happens in the summer. It's been a tribute to the town for years, and they've done an amazing job, especially the last five years.

Where is your favorite place to eat and why?

For me, I actually like to go to that little place across from Sonoma State University, Shangri-La Cafe & Grill, especially if we catch a show at Sonoma State. It's a little mom-and-pop place and they do a great job. Of course, my partner also runs Cafe Salsa. That's always wonderful.

Where do you take first-time visitors? Going to Spreckels Performing Art Center is always great. I also love going to see shows at the Green Music Center—that's wonderful. And I love supporting the SOMO Village when they have the summer shows out there by Sally Tomatoes. That's a lot of fun. We also have a lot of natural beauty around here, from wetlands to mountains. I like to take people hiking on Sonoma Mountain, up in the hills. That's a great place to bring children. Crane Canyon is also a lovely place to go to.

What do you know about the area that others don't?

I'm really happy with what Rohnert Park and Cotati have done recently as far as making bike paths and creek trails. I wish more kids would ride their bikes around town from the university and such.

If you could change one thing about Rohnert Park/Cotati what would it be?

You know, I've been in Cotati for 27 years and it's a wonderful little gem, and it's evolving really slowly. If there's anything I would promote, it is creating the infrastructure where we can grow behind the strip on Old Redwood Highway, to grow a little more downtown area. I would love to see Rohnert Park and Cotati be more of a live music hub in Sonoma County. That's one of the reasons why I got into the music scene with Redwood Cafe—to help promote that. I think the area could just blossom tremendously over the next few years.


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