Much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's legendary hideout, Sebastopol's Hole in the Wall Restaurant isn't easy to locate. But when found, it offers a treasure trove of delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. "First, people hear about us, and then they go on a little bit of a scavenger hunt to find us," says Adam Beers, chef and owner. "The location is absolutely wonderful. In a small town, location and visibility are not necessary. With the internet, Yelp, Google Maps and GPS, word of mouth is all we need."
In a courtyard behind the old bowling alley on Gravenstein Highway South, the little restaurant is often full on both the patio and inside, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The compact room, done in half art-gallery and half industrial-chic décor with homey wood tables and chairs, shares the space with an open kitchen.
"Breakfast is where we stand ahead of the competition," says Beers, and patrons can watch as he whips up a Fun Guy omelette ($9), made with gourmet mushrooms, veggies and chèvre, or Angus short rib hash and eggs ($9.75), both accompanied by country-fried potatoes. The Dutch Baby ($7.75), a large puffy pancake, is served with caramelized sugar and Fuji apples. "I love to serve it myself, straight from the kitchen to the table," says Beers. "It's all puffed up and then it flattens. It's a lot of fun, and it gives me a chance to come out and have contact with the customers and say hi."
The menu includes dishes that Beers himself enjoys, with international and Cajun influences. "On the dinner menu, we list borscht next to gumbo, and what they have in common is that they are comfort food from two different cultures. There's no reason to keep them separate—they're both yummy."
While in high school on San Juan Island, Beers' first job was working for a chef from Louisiana. "The menu's Cajun influence honors the person who brought me into the culinary world," he says. "I never went to culinary school; I learned everything from the chefs, on the job. I believe in having passion for whatever you're doing, no matter what it is."
In 1997, Beers moved to Sonoma County, where relatives lived, and took a break from the business. "I tried my hand at gardening and carpentry. I still cooked all the time, but out of my garden for myself."
A decade later, Beers worked as the sauté chef for the French Garden Restaurant, and then became the savory chef at Village Bakery. The flaky, croissant-like biscuits that accompany Hole in the Wall's breakfast menu reflect his time there, and are over-the-top delicious, served with gourmet mushroom or sausage gravy ($5.50).
Hole in the Wall just celebrated its first birthday, and together with his girlfriend, Amy MacInnis, front-of-house manager, Beers strives to make everyone feel at home. "It's the small-time charm that makes everyone feel they belong. Our goal is to have everyone have a great experience."