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Popping Up 

Temporary restos enliven Monday nights

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The Monday night food scene in Sonoma County is really starting to pop. Not long after I made my way to Ramen Gaijin's every-other-Monday-night pop-up at Sebastopol's Woodfour Brewing Co., I learned that Casino's Mark Malicki (pictured) is opening a Monday-night pop-up at Thistle Meats in Petaluma on Sept. 8. While the menu is still in flux, he says he plans to do small plates. And lots of meat dishes.

"The space really lends itself to that," he said.

Thistle Meats co-owner Molly Best wanted to do something with Malicki long before she opened her excellent butcher shop. Malicki has cooked at scores of Sonoma County restaurants but has scored a hit with his eclectic, highly seasonal menus he cooks in an the tiny kitchen at the back of Bodega's Casino Bar and Grill.

"Mark is incredibly inspired, and we're really excited to be working with him," she said.

Malicki already buys his meat from Thistle so the pop-up is a natural. He also lives around the corner. The butcher shop is small, so space will be at a premium for the pop-up. The good news is that there will be seating around the shop's beautiful butcher's table. All told, there will be about 20 seats and probably two seatings. It's BYOB for now, but depending on how things go Best says she might pursue a beer and wine license and see about involving local wineries.

Thistle Meats, 160 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. 707.772.5442.

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