Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bistro Des Copains, Occidental, California

If you are a regular reader of Our House in Provence blog, you know that I frequently mention Bistro Des Copains, the small French bistro I co-own with my friends Cluney and Ferney in the small charming west Sonoma County town of Occidental, California.

We are foodies and winos and like to cook and entertain, especially Cluney and me and somehow this translated into opening a French bistro in June 2006. None of us had any previous experience with restaurants except Ferney who worked as a server in New York City years ago and we (Cluney and I) eat out a lot.

Prior to opening the Bistro, I traveled a fair amount for my work at Chancellor Health Care. I used some of my down time during my travels to produce a menu and a plan for a fantasy French bistro, never really thinking that someday we would actually open one.

Finally, probably sick of hearing me talk about my fantasy, wife Shirley and kids encouraged me to take the plunge. While we (my partners and I) certainly can't say we've had financial success (due to the economy), we can say with assurance that we have a loyal following and the Bistro has received consistently great reviews from the critics who have visited.

We have endured one of the worst periods economically for restaurants but we continue on because of the wonderful group of hungry diners who show up every night to eat the classic bistro dishes prepared by chef de cuisine Ty Wong and Joe Clark and their kitchen team.

The town of Occidental, actually more a small hamlet, is tucked in the redwoods between Freestone to the south and Monte Rio to the north on the Bohemian Highway, just a short distance from the notorius Bohemian Grove.

The Bohemian Highway is one of the most scenic drives to be found anywhere in California. This 10 mile roadway winds through towering redwoods, gorgeous pastures, and rocky ravines linking three charming townships seemingly forgotten by time: Freestone, Occidental and Monte Rio.

Originally the last stop west for the Pacific Railroad, there are approximately 200 people who now live within Occidental's town boundaries.

The building which houses Bistro Des Copains dates to 1911 when the Pacific Railroad came to town. The building has been the site for a variety of businesses including offices, warehouse, bike shop and a beauty salon prior to being converted for use as a restaurant.

Bistro Des Copains has 46 seats in the dining room plus we can seat an additional 12 diners between the pantry bar, wine bar and wine table. We also seat diners on the sunny terrace behind the Bistro and on the front patio. We are open for dinner seven nights a week.

The small dining room and pantry bar are shown in the picture below before the start of dinner service. The linens for the table cloths and curtains were purchased at La Victoire in Aix-en-Provence and the pictures on the wall were taken at the Metairie Neuve, the small family farm near Viane in the Tarn region of Southern France.

The wine bar and wine table in the back corner are pictured below along with three of our wonderful front of the house staff; Annelise, Debbie and Kari. We hope you will stop in to dine at Bistro Des Copains if you are ever in Sonoma County. It will be our pleasure to serve you.

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