New Pepper's sign
NEW SIGN The Pepper's sign was installed over the former Adel's last week; the restaurant should open June 1.

During the past couple of weeks, Healdsburg residents began noticing a red neon “PEPPER’S HEALDSBURG” sign lighting up the old Adel’s diner building along Dry Creek Road, near the Highway 101 freeway exit. It was the first obvious sign of life for the freestanding restaurant space since Adel’s shut down last November, after enjoying decades as a blue-collar family favorite in town.

City inspectors noticed the new sign, too. They slapped a “Stop Work Order” notice on the building’s front window last Thursday, May 23, on the grounds that the restaurant had gone ahead with construction and installation of the new sign and associated electrical work without a permit.

New sign on building
ENTRY The front door of the former Adel’s has a stop work order posted, due to the new Pepper’s sign on the wall.

It seemed like a possible threat to the planned June 1 opening date for Pepper’s. By early this week, though, restaurant manager Ali Haidar claimed all permitting issues had been cleared up. He said he and Pepper’s owner Osama “Steve” Atallah were even shooting to open one day sooner than projected, by this Friday, May 31.

Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay confirmed that the restaurant’s permit was “ready to be picked up” on Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t imagine it would threaten the opening date,” he said.

On top of the last-minute permitting issues, it has been a wildly hectic week at Pepper’s, according to Haidar—full of scheduling staff shifts, ordering food and supplies, and getting everything ready for opening day.

When Adel’s closed late last year, owner Danny Ibhrahim said he had been struggling to make ends meet and couldn’t afford to keep the diner open past 3pm—a setup that didn’t jibe with owners of the Best Western Dry Creek Inn next door, who own the restaurant space and wanted hotel guests to be able to eat dinner there.

Pepper’s, in contrast, will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6am to 9pm, and “will serve the hotel guests within an appealing in-room breakfast offering,” the Dry Creek Inn announced recently on its website.

Over the past six months, Pepper’s owner Attalah and his team have repainted and remodeled the Adel’s building to give it a more modern feel. Other than that, Healdsburg’s nostalgic set might be pleasantly surprised to learn that not much has changed.

Pepper’s will be a “traditional American diner” serving all the classics—along with a “large selection of local wines and beer”—in a “casual, family-friendly dining room,” according to the hotel.

The man behind Pepper’s isn’t new to this game, either. Attalah comes in familiar with the space, the clientele and the business challenge. His extended family used to own Adel’s before the Ibrahim family took over around 15 years ago, and he worked at Adel’s himself in the early days, according to a recent press release from Restaurant Realty Group, the brokerage tasked by the hotel with finding a replacement for Adel’s.

NEW LOOK? Proposed remodel of the former Adel’s, now to be known as Pepper’s. (Restaurant Realty Group)

The commercial space at 200 Dry Creek Rd. originally hit the market for a rental price of around $10,000 per month, according to the LoopNet property marketplace. Restaurant Realty announced in April that it had a taker: Attalah, a successful NorCal restaurateur with a cafe in Garberville and another Pepper’s in Fortuna. He’ll now “bring his Pepper’s concept to Healdsburg and reinvent the restaurant space at the Dry Creek Inn,” the press release said.

The Pepper’s in Fortuna is most loved for its cheeseburgers ($12), chicken strips ($13) and milkshakes ($7), according to the DoorDash app. Attalah has not revealed the menu for his Healdsburg location yet, but one street-facing sign advertises “STEAKS, PASTA, SALADS.”

Pepper’s diners can also expect to see some of the same familiar faces on the new staff. Ashley Olson, a former Adel’s employee of 17 years who is returning to work at Pepper’s, posted recently in the “What’s Happening Healdsburg” Facebook group: “I love all my regulars, and we need a local diner in this community.”

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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.


  1. I am so relieved that the City of Healdsburg slapped a “Stop Work Order” on Pepper’s over their unpermitted signage. What would we do without the City of Healdsburg slapping us around?
    Will the Atallah serve bacon?
    Seriously, I wish Mr. Atallah and Pepper’s the best of luck and profitability.

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