The Best Places to Eat in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square

8 August 2023

A hand-drawn map of downtown Santa Rosa hangs inside Dawn Zaft’s tiny bakery on Donahue Street, with a sticker over the bakery’s location. “You Are Here,” it reads. In bustling Railroad Square, the SMART train whizzes by, restaurants come to life, residents walk their dogs and our beloved Charlie Brown and Snoopy welcome everyone from their permanent park-bench perch.

Railroad Square is Santa Rosa’s old town and historic heart. Buildings once used as warehouses, canneries, macaroni factories, breweries and rail-related enterprises have been retrofitted as specialty shops, restaurants and offices, according to the Historic Railroad Square Association. Beginning in the 1870s, trains connected the neighborhood with San Francisco, making it a hub for the growing town of Santa Rosa. It later slid into disrepair and, with the construction of the downtown mall, was cut off from Courthouse Square, something many feared would isolate the neighborhood even further.

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