The group of ladies of a certain age — some of whom disclosed theirs, others of whom did not — had assembled Thursday at the Kenwood Restaurant in Sonoma Valley to celebrate a birthday.
To a one, they were sorry that Max Schacher, who with his wife, Susan Schacher, has owned and operated the eatery for 26 years, is selling it.
“It's taken us through the years,” said Marcie Wright of Santa Rosa.
Schacher was wearing his chef's whites as he prepared for the lunch rush. The native of Switzerland said he put the restaurant up for sale because “it's time.”
“I started in restaurants when I was 15,” he said. He's 67 now. “I'm going to take it easy for a while.”
William Foss of Windsor, who owns Fish Restaurant in Sausalito, bought the Highway 12 restaurant, which before its current incarnation was Bunny's Country Kitchen, famous for its fried chicken.
The low-slung, ranch-style building faces vineyards on three sides and has a hill full of oaks behind it. Foss said the name will remain but that he is planning a new menu.
“I have so much respect for Max in terms of his work ethic and cooking abilities,” he said. “We're still playing with the menu, trying to be aware of everyone who is already a customer and be aware of customers we'd like to get back,” he said.
“The goal is to create Sonoma regional cuisine,” he said. “I'm getting tired of farm-to-table, just the words, and I'm not sure anyone is doing it the way we like to anyway.”
The deal is expected to close Sept. 15, said Foss, 49, a Los Gatos native who was a co-founder of Netscape Communications. “We're trying to work with as much of the original staff as possible.”
“Nope,” said Schacher, asked whether he would open another restaurant.
He described in pithy terms the satisfactions and burdens of owning a restaurant. “You drink for free,” he said. “I got wrinkles and gray hair.”