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Kenwood Part II: Dining at Golden Bear Station

Don't miss the hot honey pizza at Golden Bear Station.
Don’t miss the hot honey pizza at Golden Bear Station.

Kenwood, CA — With soaring white rafters, furry throws on the bar seats, and a menu of specialties that skew Asian and Italian by way of Wine Country, Golden Bear Station not surprisingly attracts a packed house of locals and visitors.

Even on a Wednesday night, which is when I decided to dine there recently for the first time.

But when you have a husband-and-wife team at the helm whose reputation precedes them, that’s to be expected.

Chef Joshua Smookler and Heidy He opened Golden Bear Station, which takes its name from the original gas station that once stood on the spot, in late 2023, right around the same time they decided to close their critically acclaimed, more upscale Animo in Sonoma.

Golden Bear Station.
Golden Bear Station.
Counter seats with furry throws.
Counter seats with furry throws.

Smookler, who was born in Korea and adopted by a Jewish family in New York, worked previously at Per Se and Bouley in New York City. The couple then ran their well-regarded Mu Ramen in New York City (the New York Times heralded it as the best ramen in the city), before closing it during the pandemic to move with their young daughters to Sonoma County.

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