Califonia Bountiful

Comfort food in wine country

Fremont Diner serves Southern cooking with a California twist.

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Just on the outskirts of wine country is where you'll find Sonoma County's mecca of comfort food—otherwise known as the Fremont Diner.

As you would expect from any good diner, they serve up tasty bites like pulled pork and corn fritters, and lots of homemade pies and sweet offerings as well. Located off the Carneros Highway south of Sonoma, the country-casual spot features a menu of Southern-fried American classics with ingredients sourced from local farms, ranches and wineries.

The idea for the unique menu—a fusion of Southern cooking and California cuisine—came from owner and executive chef Chad Harris. Although he was born and raised in California, his food shows a strong Southern touch.

"I didn't intend it to be that way, but I just wanted to make food that made people happy," he said. "This food seemed to make them really happy!"

Chad uses the freshest local ingredients he can find, many of which come from the 4-acre garden beside the diner. That's where you'll often find the chef himself picking the ingredients for that day's menu. The garden produces all winter long, with green garlic, cabbage, collards, lettuces and radishes finding their way onto the menu this time of year.

"From late spring through early fall is when things really ramp up in the garden," he said. "We'll get about 80 percent of our vegetables from there and the rest from local buddies."

Among the popular breakfast choices are shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, ham with red-eye gravy, smoked brisket hash and griddle cakes. Lunch selections include pulled pork sandwiches, baked farmer's cheese dumplings and Nashville hot chicken. 

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