In September I went on an epic road trip through California, and was lucky enough to spend a few days in Sonoma County. One of the highlights for me was brunch at the enormously popular Fremont Diner on the highway between Sonoma and Napa.
This All American diner, based in a remodeled shack on the side of the road, focuses on classic southern comfort food. The menu is strictly farm to table, and all ingredients are seasonal and responsibly sourced. As a bacon enthusiast, I could more than appreciate the multiple pork-centric dishes on offer, including a Pacific Coast Oyster Sandwich WITH bacon. They even have their own chicken coop in the backyard, which supplies home-hatched eggs for dishes like their popular Hangtown Fry. I demolished some incredible French toast (with a side of bacon) and washed it down with a bucket load of delicious Four Barrel Coffee. With a menu that’s constantly updated, the food at this easy-going diner has garnered a loyal fan base.
The food is one thing, but the distinctive décor deserves some accolades of its own. This converted shack is packed with rusted memorabilia, Campbell soup cans, brightly coloured aprons, old post cards, vintage pie cabinets and hurricane lamps. Every corner is filled with character.
Chad and Erika Harris took over the space in 2009, having run a catering company for 12 years. It was Chad’s mum who first spotted this slightly rough looking shack for rent. Chad drove down the next day and completely fell in love with the place. There was a lot of work to do, but he had always wanted somewhere on the side of the road in the middle of the countryside.
They had six months to get the space up and running, but with no money for a designer they tackled one room at a time. Impressively, they did all the painting, tiling and dry walling themselves. The renovation coincided with a house move, so a good deal of the old school décor came from Chad’s personal collection, after years of scouring garage sales and antique shops.
The unique way they’ve used the space, creates a nostaligic, laidback vibe, and with Chad’s pick up truck normally parked outside, it often feels like one’s stepping back in time
I completely fell in love with it all, and even purchased some memorabilia of my own from their shop. Two customised Fremont diner mugs, one of which I’m drinking coffee out of right now (not Four Barrell sadly).
If you’re ever in Sonoma make sure you pay this special place a visit.
2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476
All photographs courtesy of the Fremont Diner Website