It’s official. Sol Food is open for business in Mill Valley.
The popular San Rafael restaurant starting serving at 10 a.m. Monday to a steady flow of customers in southern Marin at 401 Miller Ave., in the complex behind the Marin Theatre Company.
“It’s been pretty good. A lot of students and a lot of neighbors,” said Tina Ford, who works as a Sol Food “hype girl.” Not that Mill Valley needs any extra hype.
When asked why she was opening here back in November, owner Sol Hernandez joked it was due to “years of customers begging!”
“People have been on us,” Ford said.
Hernandez started the eatery at the San Rafael Farmers Market and it has continued to grow since she opened the first restaurant in 2004. There's currently one location at 901 Lincoln Avenue commonly referred to as the “Big Place” with communal tables. A block away at 732 Fourth Street, is the “Small Place” with limited counter seating. A third, “La Bodega” opened in February 2011. It boasts the biggest kitchen with no seating and is focused on take-out orders and pre-made food. Sol Food also recently opened Conchita, a retail store specializing in gifts and home accessories.
Miller Avenue is the first location outside of San Rafael.
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Ford said the plan is to spread to more regions while maintaining the high quality food the restaurant is known for, so growing slowly makes sense.
“This is a first step to an ever bigger Sol Food possibly opening in other locations,” Ford said. “This is our experiment.”
The long-term plans may be to open outside Marin, perhaps in Berkeley or San Francisco she said, but for now the focus is on Mill Valley.
With 20 seats, counter service and outdoor seating, she anticipates large lunch crowds and a lot of take-out orders.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and does both take-out and delivery services — with delivery extending down to Sausalito. Charges range from $1.50 to $5.00 depending on the order and area.
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