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Cyrus: 'There's Not An Open Table Left'

Healdsburg ultra luxe restaurant completely booked until it closes Oct. 28 after 7 years.

 

Barring the unlikely event of a last-minute cancellation, if you're not one of the dozens of patrons who have already booked dinner reservations at Cyrus restaurant before it closes Oct. 28, you're outta luck.

"We've been packed since the announcement [of the closing] was made," said Cyrus Chef Douglas Keane, a partner in the business with Maitre d' Nick Peyton. "There's not an open table left."

Keane said space at the bar may still be available for those who want a taste of the Michelin two-star-rated eatery that first opened in Healdsburg on March 4, 2005.

"It's just such an amazing experience," said Cathy Wild, a counselor with Life Journeys in Healdsburg and the lucky holder of a dinner reservation for two for next week. "The food is fabulous -- but it's more than just the food."

Wild said she had first dined at Cyrus within the past year. When she heard it was going to close, she immediately called a friend and made reservations as soon as possible within the three-months-in advance window.

"The way they take care of you, it's just a fun dining experience," Wild said, adding that she enjoys the many little "bites" the waitstaff brings to the table in between courses. "It's warm and friendly, and not at all stuffy as you might expect."

In an agreement with their landlord, the and after a much-publicized long-running legal battle, Keane, 41, of Healdsburg, and Peyton, 61, of Santa Rosa, will keep the Cyrus name and all the recipes and assets of the business.

Les Mars Hotel will be bringing in new upscale restaurant operators in the same space, while the Cyrus co-owners will take some time off to "take a little moment, a little space, to see what's in my heart," as Peyton said. The partners have no definite relocation plans, they said.

"We're not searching for anything, but we'll listen to anybody," Keane said. "I just want to take some time, relax, celebrate Thanksgiving and the holidays like a normal person, for maybe six months."

After a farewell dinner Oct. 29 for family and friends, he said he plans a short vacation with wife Lael to New Orleans  -- and then lots of rest and relaxation, preferably within barking distance of area canines.

A key player in a hugely controversial shakeup of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter late last year over theKeane, a former Healdsburg Animal Shelter volunteer, has since shifted his energies to Green Dog Rescue Project.

Green Dog is a new nonprofit animal rehabilitation agency temporary headquartered at King's Kastle animal care facility in Windsor.

Keane, who was certified last year as a dog behavioral trainer, is a board-member-at-large for Green Dog and has been volunteering there on a part-time basis while still working at Cyrus.

"It's so rewarding," he said of the connections he feels with the animals. "I absolutely love it."

He is still holding a spot for Cash in his heart and home when and if his 18-year-old mixed breed dog Indie passes away.

Although Cash gets along famously with Keane's other dog, Finnegan, a white Labrador Retriever, Keane said that Colleen Combs, director of King's Kastle, advised him that a new dog like Cash coming into his home might be a little too much for the aging Indie.

"He's fine to go with someone else if they took him," Keane said of Cash. "I'd be brokenhearted, but I wouldn't hold him back.

"Right now, he's got a great life," Keane said of the mastiff/pitbull mix.

As to the farewell to Cyrus, Keane and Peyton, a former Maitre d' at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, said they are parting with Les Mars Hotel on good terms.

"We had a vision, and the hotel had a vision, and they weren't the same," Keane said. "It very much makes sense for it [hotel and restaurant] to be one thing."

Keane said he expects the hotel to bring in a topnotch replacement and has already shown a potential new operator around the cozy Cyrus dining area, and the 900-square-foot-kitchen that Keane and Peyton spent three years designing.

There is also a 1,500-square-foot second kitchen with a refrigerated meat and fish prep room behind and a 3,400-square-foot office, wine room and storage area in the Costeaux building.

"It will be exciting to see what they do," Keane said of the hotel's new restaurant. "Healdsburg's got such a great culinary roster now, that it will be fun to share it with others."

As to his food, his cooking and recipes, Keane says he knows he will bring them somewhere else -- where, or in what way, he's not sure. What he does know, he said, is that ingredients are the key, and that his favorite ingredient is matsutaki mushrooms.

 "It's not really about the recipes, it's about the feeling of an ingredient," he said. "You can't take that away from a chef."

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Christian Kallen October 05, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Really good story about Cyrus and Doug Keane, Keri. The restaurant really upped the game here in Healdsburg, whether or not most of us can afford it!
Keri Brenner October 05, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Thanks Christian! I agree that Cyrus really added pixie dust to the Healdsburg culinary landscape...Maybe see you at the bar in there for a drink before they close?

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