History Walk to Look at Restaurants and Bars

Mill Valley Historical Society's annual History Walk on May 27 focuses on the restaurants and bar of yore. The first of a series focusing on the walk's points of interest looks at 41 Throckmorton Avenue.

For the uninitiated or those who are not members of the , we welcome you to the first of five articles that will bring a smile of nostalgia to your face.  

For the next five weeks, I will inform you about a restaurant or bar that is historical to the town of Mill Valley. This is leading up to our annual History Walk, which takes place each Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend.  

The Mill Valley Historical Society began these annual walks in 1977 and has led groups all over town, including Boyle Park, Cascade Canyon, Downtown (numerous times), the Old Railroad path up Blithedale Canyon, and recently Miller Ave., Sycamore Park, and the Steps, Lanes and Paths. 

Our theme this year will be “Restaurants and Bars” of yesteryear. The walk will begin at the , and then tour the 70 or so restaurants and bars that have one time or another been a part of Mill Valley history.  

The walking tour will be short in distance (about a mile) and take about 90 minutes. We will also have the privilege of entering and for a special behind-the-scenes peek at these historic establishments. 

This week I will give you a brief description of one of our historic locations that will be covered on the walk, the .  Credit goes to Chuck Oldenburg for his research and copy below.   

41 Throckmorton  - Currently Champagne French Bakery Cafe 

In 1934, Chuck Hong, nephew of Suey Kee, Mill Valley’s leading merchant of fruits and vegetables since 1898, moved the business to this site. It closed in 1959.

Sonapa Farms (Delicatessen and Café) — 1959 – 1995 (36 years)

In the 1970’s, the owners added a catering service

Sonapa Bistro (California-French Bistro Food) —  1994 – 1995 (1 year)

Sonapa Farms served breakfast and lunch, and Sonapa Bistro served dinner.

Noah's Bagels —  1998 – 2000 (2 years)

One of a chain of 74 located in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe  — 2002 to present (10 years)

A combination bakery, delicatessen, cafe and restaurant. One of a chain of 16 located primarily in southern California.

Tim Amyx is the president of the Mill Valley Historical Society President.

Lou Judson May 03, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Peek, not Peak. Sorry. I miss Sonapa. The chains are so tacky.
Beads of Marin May 03, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Another gone bar: Brothers Bar used to be at 8 Locust Ave., where Beads of Marin resides today. We often get people coming in asking if this was the location of Brothers, which apparently was a host to fireman, with the 2 a.m. club being for policemen.


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