TURNOVER The ground floor of Hotel Les Mars is restaurant-less for now. (Photo by Simone Wilson)

Chalkboard, the high-end Healdsburg restaurant on the ground floor of Hotel Les Mars at 27 North St., closed abruptly late last month. Under the hotel’s signature striped awnings, its street-facing windows are now covered in brown paper.

Both the hotel and restaurant space are owned by businessman Bill Foley. His other local food, wine and hospitality holdings include multiple Healdsburg-area wineries and tasting rooms, the new Goodnight’s steakhouse on the Healdsburg plaza and the Farmhouse Inn and restaurant in Forestville.

A former Chalkboard employee who wished to remain anonymous told the Tribune that the staff was informed their restaurant would close just a week before the shutdown and that the whole experience was rather sudden and jarring. The employee said some former Chalkboard colleagues now have the option to work a few blocks away at Goodnight’s.

According to the Hotel Les Mars website, the “final day of service” at Chalkboard was Sunday, March 24. The site also says that a “new and exciting restaurant concept” called Arandas will be coming to the hotel in “early summer” this year.

James Blystone, a spokesperson for Foley’s Glacier Restaurant Group, confirmed over email that “Chalkboard will be changing, and the restaurant will end up being Latin cuisine and will open in summer 2024.” 

The spokesperson said more details will be coming soon.

Rumors among insiders—fanned by Foley’s recent announcement that he’s going into the tequila business—speculate that the new restaurant will likely serve upscale Mexican food.

Chalkboard replaced Michelin-starred restaurant Cyrus as the Hotel Les Mars eatery in 2013, due to a reported long-term dispute between Foley and Cyrus chef Douglas Keane, who was leasing the space. (Cyrus has since re-opened in Geyserville.) At the time, Foley said he wanted to provide a more fun and casual dining experience at the hotel.

Chalkboard’s original, celebrated chef, Shane McAnelly, left for a Windsor winery gig circa 2020 and now works at Dry Creek Kitchen on the Healdsburg plaza. Chalkboard has experienced some chef turnover since McAnelly departed; the latest development involved Denver chef Anthony Lopiccolo taking the job in the middle of last year. Foley’s spokesperson said he could not provide details yet on who will head up the kitchen for the new restaurant coming to Hotel Les Mars.

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Simone Wilson was born and raised in Healdsburg, CA, where she was the editor of the Healdsburg High School Hound's Bark. She has since worked as a local journalist for publications in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East. Simone is now a senior product manager and staff writer for the Healdsburg Tribune.


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