What a luck! A Cook couple had no other choice but to open their dream restaurant during Covid-19 to a ghost town Solvang!
Solvang Journal is urging our community members to support this new family start-up business!
By Solvang Journal Staff
Some may have mistaken the opening of Solvang’s newest restaurant – peasants FEAST – for an April Fool’s joke. After all, who would open a restaurant in the middle of the greatest pandemic in a century, when most other businesses are being forced to shut down or shutter temporarily? But make no mistake about it, Michael (Executive Chef/Owner) and his wife Sarah Cherney (General Manager/Owner) celebrated the soft opening of their restaurant on April 1, and they’re ready to serve you.
After three years of searching for the location for their restaurant, the couple took a leap of faith in February when they found a closed restaurant ( previously Petros café ) on 487 Atterdag Road in the heart of Solvang.
They took over the lease at the beginning of March and started to converting but then the pandemic was declared on March 19. Upon Governor’s stay at home order “We basically stopped everything. We halted all construction, all remodeling, took a little bit of a break and really analyzed what we were going to do. When the pandemic was declared, we stopped everything.
I really analyzed where we stood from a financial standpoint and how we would be able to safely feed our community. We decided we have to move forward. We have to feed the people. It’s the only thing we know how to do. We felt obligated to feed our community. We’ve had a great turnout for the last few days. We will continue to monitor the situation, being respectful to our employees, guests, and the community. We will continue to adjust our business model and menu as we continue to learn how to navigate through this strange new world ” said Michael Cherney, Executive Chef, and Owner.
Drawing on their immense collective experience in the restaurant industry, the husband and wife team kept their commitment to their loved ones and community and opened Peasants’ FEAST. He also says “ Once we opened our doors we start immediately getting customers even at this worst and strange time ever”.
Prior to this new joint venture, Chef Michael worked at several fine dining restaurants including Ortolan by Chef Christophe Eme as well as with Chef Joel Robuchon – the “Chef of the Century” and Chef with the most Michelin stars in the world – at L’Atelier at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
During Michael’s tenure at Robuchon, he was struck with the urge to travel. Backpacking trips to Central and South America, China, Israel, and Jordan as well as traveling around the United States. Exploring and gaining a profound understanding of cultural cuisine. After leaving L’Atelier, Michael had a strong desire to connect with the ingredients in a more hands-on way. He joined a program called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and lived on a 40 acre sustainable and organic farm in northern California. This experience changed his life. This gave Michael the passion he has today for sourcing his ingredients from local farmers and using the highest quality products available.
Michael jumped at the opportunity to join the Nichols’ Brothers team shortly after the opening of Sides Hardware and Shoes in Los Olivos where he met his wife, Sarah, where they held the title of Chef de Cuisine and General Manager together for over 5 years. His cuisine focused on local, seasonal comfort food with a twist.
Since his time at Sides, Michael has worked up and down the Central Coast from helping Cat Cora with her Mesa Burger concept in Santa Barbara to private catering events in Paso Robles.
After his two-year tenure at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Buellton, serving as Executive Chef, Michael needed to connect to his community more directly, so he started a catering company, Peasants Feast, here in the Santa Ynez Valley. Michael now is able to test recipes and share his ideas through his sold-out “Pop Up” events throughout the valley.
Sarah’s background is equally robust, with more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, working in iconic Santa Ynez Valley restaurants such as The Baker’s Table and The Ballard Store Restaurant, as well as Jodi Maroni’s in Venice Beach and Flooky’s in the San Fernando Valley. Together, their shared passions can be found in the flavorful, seasonal, farm-driven comfort food sourced from the community’s rich agricultural background.
Their menu features everything from seasonally-shifting gourmet grilled cheese and the Atterdag Smash Burger, to locally-sourced salads and mouth-watering soups. Craving something sweet? Try their house-made ice cream (created by their daughter, Reina), or perhaps a freshly-baked cookie or Nannie’s frozen lime pie.
“We will continue to monitor the situation, being respectful to our employees, guests and the community,” said Michael Cherney. “We will continue to adjust our business model and menu as we continue to learn how to navigate through this strange new world.”
Peasants Feast is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 am – 6 pm, customers can order everything for take-out and curbside pick-up online https://www.peasantsfeast.com/ or by calling (805) 686-4555.