Penngrove’s Green Mill Inn once served Roosevelt, Nixon
Mrs. Scheer opened the first business at 10201 Old Redwood Highway in the 1920s, when she sold poultry and pies to motorist passing between Penngrove and Cotati.
In 1938, Capt. Schlette, a merchant skipper, built an Indonesian restaurant on the site, in addition to adding the property’s distinctive green and white windmill, according to a 1993 history on the property in the Argus-Courier.
But it was Jules Fisher who, along with his brother Tony, made it famous as the Green Mill Inn after buying the business in 1946. Under his leadership, the little restaurant got a big reputation for its European-style “smörgåsbords,” (a.k.a. buffet dinners). From pickled herring to pate to pigs feet, diners were eager to try the somewhat unusual fare that was served alongside American favorites like steak and chicken. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dined there, as did Richard Nixon when he was a senator.
It had a seating capacity of 500, and served about 2,000 patrons a week, according to a 1966 Argus-Courier article. For big holidays, like Mother’s Day and Easter, the Green Mill Inn was known to feed 1,400 people in a day. As one of the only places in the area equipped for a crowd, it became the go-to destination for weddings, charity banquets, social dances and many other large-scale celebrations.
In 1973, Vince Dell’Osso bought the establishment and ran it for 20 years. In the 1980s, he protected the Green Mill’s iconic, although now-neglected, sign on Highway 101 by securing a historic designation.
Most recently, it was purchased in 2017 as the new home for the Bergin University of Canine Studies, a nonprofit that trains and places therapy dogs. Vandals caused extensive damage shortly after the nonprofit purchased the space, delaying the rehabilitation of the old Green Mill Inn.