.Local Knowledge

Central Market's Tony Najiola dishes on Petaluma

Describe your perfect day in Petaluma.

It would start with a walk around Shollenberger Park because, well, I don’t exercise much and itÕs flat. Also it reminds me of the wetlands of southern Louisiana, where I grew up. On the way home, I would drive by Green String or Live Oak farm to gather dinner provisions. I live on my own farm, so dinner usually revolves around our meat or something I get from my good friend and neighbor Jim Reichardt of Liberty Farm.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

What is your favorite place to eat in Petaluma that isnÕt the Central Market, and why?

Recently, Sake 107 opened, and my good friend for many years Eiji Ando opened across the street from us. Eiji prides himself in doing a lot more than just slicing raw fish. I have never had better saba anywhere. On other days, I head to Soban, on the east side of Petaluma. Daniel Kim and his wife opened a very traditional Korean restaurant. The soft tofu-seafood soup has become a lunchtime favorite.

Where do you bring first-time visitors to Petaluma?

A walk through downtown including the antique shops, Thistle Meats, the seed bank, along with a short drive to Heritage Salvage. My mother instilled in me a love for other people’s junk.

What do you know about Petaluma that others don’t?

Where the Theatre District is used to be a vacant car dealership. I’m still hoping they bring it back.

If you could change one thing about Petaluma, what would it be?

I wish that something could be done to improve the downtown street festivals. I would hope that the Butter & Eggs Days parade really did celebrate agriculture past and present instead of cheap beer, carnival food and fist fights. And don’t even get me started on Cruisin’ the Boulevard . . .


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