Roughly 10 years ago, after returning to my beloved Petaluma, I described in an online restaurant review my favorite thing about Hallie’s Diner. I wrote that you don’t know who owns the place, because everyone who works there seems to care about what they are doing just like an owner would.
Well, that hasn’t changed one bit over the past decade, which helps explain why people are willing to wait in long lines for a shot at weekend brunch inside Hallie’s hallowed door.
So, it was with great pleasure that I learned that long-time server and Petaluma native Jenn Braga has purchased Hallie’s. I was passing by during brunch on Sunday and had to poke my head in to congratulate Jenn. She was serving up coffee and handling tables, all with that same warm and friendly smile, just like always.
Jenn insisted that I mention her parents, Nancy and “Jimmy,” as my mom calls him, who are Jenn’s partners. Not a bad pair of backers considering Jim and Nancy spent a lot of years catering events around the North Bay, so they know a thing or two about the food business. I’m hoping to get more details, that is if I can even get a seat in their always jammed-packed dining room.
We recently attended an after-hours business gathering in Charley’s back bar area and were thoroughly impressed. Although limited to just a few taps, everything they had was something special, and with such a great deli, you will never run short on great food options. If you want the feel of an old-timey back-of-the-grocery-store watering hole, this is definitely it. If you are looking for a great place to have an intimate holiday happy hour gathering, I highly recommend contacting Charley’s.
If that wasn’t enough, they stock a real Portuguese port which I had never heard of. With so few port lodges to begin with, and even less making it into the U.S., I haven’t seen a lodge I’m unfamiliar with in several years, so discovering a bottle of “Porto Gloria” was a special treat.
Then again, Charley’s prides itself on having hard to find items, and although most of those are local, this port certainly caught my attention.
Yanni’s Sausage sandwich
Special thanks to Francesca of Yanni’s Sausages of Penngrove for responding instantly to my email inquiries, otherwise I might have missed out on announcing that the December sandwich special is the Italian Christmas Sausage Sandwich. They take Yanni’s Hot Italian Sausage, wrap it in sweet Italian bread from Penngrove’s Full Circle Bakery, and then top it off with basil parmesan pesto and red chili blackberry glaze for good measure. I could eat one of these every day of the week, and twice on Sunday, just to honor my in-law’s Italian heritage.
We are also been huge fans of Yanni’s Greek fries, and see that they now offer a variation for those who want to enjoy Yanni’s sausages without the bread that comes with the sandwiches. They top their Greek fries with feta cheese, grilled onions, roasted peppers, fresh squeezed lemon juice and your choice of Yanni’s sausages, cut into coins.
Yanni’s gift certificates are a great holiday gift, but check with Yanni’s before heading out to Penngrove because their hours are a bit limited until the second week of December as Francesca and Johnny are vigorously working on the retail side of their business by getting their great sausages into as many local grocery stores as possible.