American Canyon may be getting a new sit-down restaurant, much to the delight of local residents who have long complained about the lack of fine dining in town.
Laso Restaurant will offer a menu described as “Nepalese Infusion” that combines cooking from Nepal with California cuisine.
Owner Mingyur Dorjee told the Planning Commission on Sept. 20 that their restaurant is slated to open in November or December at the former site of Roberto’s Bakery, located next door to the Catholic Church and just off Highway 29. Roberto’s Bakery closed recently, according to city officials.
Dorjee said their new restaurant is a “dream project” of his and his brother, Sonam Sherpa, a former Buddhist monk turned chef trained in Nepalese and Western cuisine.
Both were born in Nepal, and later became U.S. citizens. Dorjee moved his family to American Canyon about a year ago. “We love it here,” he told the commission.
Laso means “greetings” in Nepali, according to Dorjee. “We want everyone to come in happy,” he said.
Their establishment will be a full-service restaurant offering wine and beer. They applied to the Planning Commission for a conditional use permit, which is required of a business wanting to serve alcohol. The commission approved the permit unanimously.
Dorjee and Sherpa have 10 years of restaurant experience in Napa and Sonoma. Sherpa’s background as a chef includes French, Italian and Nepalese cooking.
Entrees will range in price from $18-$26. Salads, starters, small plates and desserts will also be offered.
Dorjee said they intend to be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m, eventually.
Asked by the Planning Commission if they would stay open later on Fridays and Saturdays, Dorjee said they plan to do a soft opening at first and offer only dinner. If things go well, they will add lunch and possibly more.
Laso will be able to seat 50-60 people between indoor seating and the patio. “American Canyon has great weather,” Dorjee said in explaining their plans for outdoor dining.
News of a new sit-down restaurant was warmly greeted by residents and nearby businesses.
“Wow, this is awesome,” said Karina Servente. “We crave this here,” she said of having more dining options and eating outdoors.
Kenta Kamohara, general manager of the Holiday Inn & Suites, located within walking distance of Laso, said at the Planning Commission hearing: “Our guests are going to love the type of food you’re going to bring to the town.”
Sherpa said he first learned to prepare food for hundreds of young monks at a monastery. There, he learned about Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese cuisine.
In 2008, Sherpa left the monastery and emigrated to the U.S. He trained under chef Pemba Sherpa at the Taste of the Himalayas in Napa. He later learned how to prepare French cuisine and worked at Farm.