Lydia Kindheart is saying farewell to Fairfax. The owner of and Lydia’s Kitchen will move her organic and vegan restaurant to Petaluma at the end of this month.
“It’s a huge change. I’ve been part of the community for a long time,” Kindheart said.
A is planned for Saturday at the Fairfax restaurant, which serves a variety of organic, gluten-free and mostly raw foods, including kale chips, buckwheat crepes, smoothies or coconut-almond humus.
The Lydia’s operation will move June 30 to the Sunflower Center, a community space and longtime dream of Kindheart’s that opened earlier this year.
The Sunflower Center fills an 8,000-square-foot space in a half-empty business park in Northern Petaluma, . It’s complete with a state-of-the-art kitchen that was computer-giant Cisco’s company cafeteria until it closed roughly six years ago.
The facility was especially appealing to Kindheart, who had been doing all the manufacturing of Lydia’s Organics products (which are distributed nationwide and to Canada) behind the scenes at Lydia’s Kitchen in Fairfax.
“There’s a lot more space and it’s more affordable,” Kindheart said, adding that Marin isn’t the most practical “manufacturing” location.
Kindheart said her company gradually grew in Fairfax, since it first started in a tiny space downtown. “I never said I wanted to have a big business, it just kind happened organically from the community’s support and me wanting to feed more people. It has snowballed,” she said. “It has been a great journey – a lot of hard work – but it’s been great.”
She’s had the business on and off for 17 years, she said, and it has been a fixed restaurant for nine years.
Many local parents have told her that their children were raised at Lydia’s Kitchen. “I have mamas who breastfeed their children in here,” she said, referring to a corner of the restaurant frequented by nursing mothers.
Kindheart, who has lived in Forest Knolls, Lagunitas and Fairfax over the years, will move to Petaluma from Forest Knolls at the beginning of July.
Saturday's festival will give locals a chance to bid adieu to Kindheart before she moves roughly 25 miles north.
“We will turn the parking lot into a little festival,” Kindheart said. “We’ll draw a big sunflower with chalk and have kids write things inside the petals.”
For those still hoping for a local Lydia’s fix within Marin, Lydia’s Organics products can be found at Good Earth and Whole Foods.
“Hopefully people will come visit us at the Sunflower Center,” Kindheart said.
The Sunflower community center, in addition to manufacturing Lydia’s products and serving fresh food, offers yoga classes, massage workshops and movie nights, Kindheart said. There is also a pillow strewn “chill space,” community meeting rooms, a children’s play area, library, garden and even an outdoor volleyball court, .
“Basically I created a vessel for people to feel comfortable and nurtured in all walks of life. We have CEOS, a knitting group, hipsters, bikers and kids who hula hoop there,” Kindheart said.
Lydia’s Kitchen, located at 31 Bolinas Rd, will host a moving celebration on Saturday, June 16, from noon to 8 p.m., with live music, food and kids’ activities.