In 2010 Jeff Tyler was approximately two years removed from owning a once successful construction business. Feeling the pressure of making a decision on which direction the rest of his life would go, Jeff decided that it was time for change.
Jeff told me that one night he was up looking for inspiration and somehow ended up doing research into owning a hot dog stand. He smiled while recalling the moment that he woke his wife up in the middle of the night to tell her that he was going to buy and run a hotdog stand.
Within four years Jeff went from owning one hotdog stand on Highway 12 in Kenwood to two hotdog stands, a flourishing catering business and now being the owner of Palooza Gastropub and Wine Bar located in Kenwood. I was invited to visit Palooza to take part in what I considered a very smart marketing campaign. Palooza invited any and all bloggers in the Sonoma County community to come out for the first ever ‘Blogs and Beer’ night that will take place the second Tuesday of each month. The drive on a Tuesday night from downtown Santa Rosa was less than twenty minutes.
I walked into the location that sits at 8910 Sonoma Highway to be greeted by the beertender and buyer that goes simply by the name, Baker. The place is clean, organized and the staff friendly. I was quickly introduced to Jeff who sat at a table with a laptop in front of him as he awaited the start of the ‘Blogs and Beer’ night.
It only took me about two minutes of talking to Jeff to realize that he is a passionate person that takes a lot of pride in what he does for a living. I found him to be a great combination of humble yet confident. Jeff was very candid about his start in the food and beverage industry. One moment he told me that he enjoys the fact that he gets to learn about the now booming craft beer industry and wine business just a little bit more every day and the next moment he dares me to try a rib and asks me if I have ever had a better one in my life.
The food was tasty. Those ribs were delicious and the fries that were served along side were pretty darn good as well. Jeff pointed out that when you start with the best ingredients available that you simply need to not mess that up. The chicken wings had a subtle Asian influence and the fried pickles were surprisingly addictive. Jeff acknowledged that the catering remains the backbone of the business with up to 30 catering jobs per month.
Currently they have sixteen taps that they plan on rotating. A handful of the beers are mainstream brews that you may find in most taprooms and restaurants, but the rest of the taps resident beer geek Baker gets to play with. Baker seems to be an extension of Jeff with the passion and friendliness. He discussed some of his favorite beer currently on tap and seemed like a kid on Christmas morning when discussing the kegs that were on deck waiting to be tapped next.
Before making my way out the door I had to ask, “why Palooza?” Jeff responded, “Palooza is the party that lasts forever.”
Party on Jeff, Kenwood has a great new option to enjoy a beer at!
– Peter Lopez