About the Glen Ellen Inn
“I love to drink martini’s, Two at the very most;
Three, I’m under the table, Four, I’m under the host.”
Chef/owner Christian Bertrand is a “local”. He went to Sonoma Valley High School, where he ran track, played football, and generally caused all kinds of trouble. At age 14, he began working after school in a local restaurant, washing dishes and making salads. Upon graduation, he packed his bags and moved to New York City, where he worked as a model-slash-cook. One day he was torn between a “go-see” for a Calvin Klein ad or a chance to work in the kitchen at Mesa Grill, and he realized that the kitchen was where his heart was. Chris (also known to close friends as “ McGuyver” for his ability to fix anything at any time) returned to Sonoma County, and honed his skills at such notable establishments as John Ash Restaurant, Kenwood Restaurant, and Sonoma Mission Inn.
In 1993, Chris told his newlywed wife Karen about his dream to have a restaurant of his very own, where he could have the freedom to explore his own style of cooking- a fusion of local ingredients paired with French, Asian and Italian techniques. “If we cook it, they will come," he insisted. Of course, he had just seen the movie “Field of Dreams”, and was feeling pretty optimistic. Luckily, Karen, a good sport who had paid her college tuition with waitressing tips, and whose BA in English Literature practically guaranteed her a career in the food service industry, agreed.
Karen and Chris soon found the perfect spot in tiny Glen Ellen- a 1940’s wine country cottage, just ten minutes from Sonoma Square. So with a loan from Bob the landlord, a handshake from the Sam the fisherman, twelve bottles of wine bought on credit, three pans and one pot, the Glen Ellen Inn was born. Over time, the restaurant has grown from 16 seats to 80 seats, the wine list has expanded from 4 choices to 650 choices, lodging has been added, and the Bertrand family has grown from two to three with the birth of their daughter Savannah Rose in 1998. And although the reviews from Michelin, Wine Spectator and others have been wonderful, the one critic the Bertrand’s want to please is each guest, each night, each dish .
|The Food: Fresh California-Fusion with a focus on local ingredients. Steaks, pastas made in-house, fresh seafood, locally grown produce, Sonoma & Napa Valley wines, martini’s and a full bar are yours to enjoy. Christian’s menu fuses the classic with the contemporary, pairing local products with French, Italian and Asian cooking techniques.|
|The Drink: Known as the “smallest restaurant with the biggest wine list” in Sonoma Valley, the Glen Ellen Inn features many hard to find Napa & Sonoma gems. In addition, there are 25 delightful flavors of martini’s, as well as half sized mini martini’s- for those who have trouble with commitment!|
|The Setting: An authentic 1940’s wine country cottage, with an open kitchen, shaded garden, a covered patio, and a fireside dining area. It’s been called “the perfect setting for a delicious meal“. The lighting is soft, the mood is romantic, and there is a sense of whimsy (and occasionally, garlic) in the air.|
|The Secret: For those in the know, the Secret Cottages are just steps from the restaurant, each with it’s own fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, shower, TV, fruit & pastry basket, in-room coffee and honor bar. The creek side setting is serene.|