This was officially announced at the end of February.
Sonoma, CA (February 26, 2021) Founder Sondra Bernstein has officially taken a step back from all operations in her role as Managing Partner/Marketing Director and will continue in an advisor position. John Toulze, current President has taken over the reins as the new Managing Partner and will continue to handle all day to day operations for all aspects of the company. These changes took place in early January.
Sondra Bernstein said: “As founder of the girl & the fig, I am so proud of the incredible company that we have built and that continues to drive hospitality in the Sonoma Valley for over 23 years. It has been a delicious, wild ride and I have been blessed with a job that for a long time did not feel like a job, just a way of life and making a contribution to our community.” Sondra Bernstein started the company in 1997 in Glen Ellen, CA with the help of two of her brothers and a small staff of 17 employees, (among them was John Toulze). The quirky restaurant with mismatched chairs, flight glasses and flatware, handmade plates by her friends, a wine list with Rhone-Alone wines that no one heard of and the bounty from farms nearby to shine on the menu, put the restaurant on the list of “must-visit” when in Sonoma County. During the past 23 years, the company grew to 240 staff members (pre-COVID) with additional restaurants, a food truck, a country store with cottages, a catering company with an event space as well as a food product line and two cookbooks. Sondra will continue to manage the Sonoma FIG Foundation, her nonprofit organization dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs in farming, food & wine to realize their dreams as well as managing the philanthropic goals for the company. Sondra notes that she could have never combined her creative passions into a business without a strong team and the comforting support of guests from both Sonoma and around the world. “This change has been in the works since prior to the pandemic and plans that were being made needed to be put on hold. Now that there seems to be a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, it seems that this is the right time for a personal change. Not only do I look forward to my next chapter (whatever that may be) but also can’t wait to visit family and friends, eat and drink in restaurants and finally get out of my house in the daylight hours.” As she said prior to the company’s twenty year anniversary, “We continue to learn something every day. Nothing stays the same; we are in constant motion.” She finally acknowledges it’s time to slow down.