James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalist Mark Stark is the executive chef and co-owner with his wife Terri of six wildly successful restaurants in Sonoma County: Willi’s Wine Bar, Monti’s, Stark’s Steak & Seafood, and Bird & The Bottle in Santa Rosa, and Willi’s Seafood and Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. He’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and honed his professional cooking skills in Washington DC and Seattle before settling in Sonoma County.
Mark believes in starting with great ingredients, treating them with care, and adding an unexpected twist in preparation or presentation. From opening Willi’s Wine Bar in 2002 to Bird & The Bottle in 2015, Mark and Terri’s restaurants have consistently earned top accolades and praise including San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant status for Willi’s Wine Bar and Bravas, and Michelin Bib Gourmand awards for Monti’s and Willi’s Wine Bar.
Mark and Terri opened their sixth restaurant, Bird & The Bottle in September 2015. The Starks have given an iconic two-story Craftsman-style home on the eastern edge of downtown Santa Rosa new life as a modern tavern. “Bird” features Mark’s interpretation of American and Asian street fare with a dash of Jewish comfort food using his favorite local ingredients. The open kitchen with wood-fired grill turns out large and small plates made for sharing in one of the restaurant’s three cozy dining rooms or two patios.
The Starks’ latest endeavor was hailed by Fodor’s Travel as one of “12 Delicious New Experiences in Sonoma,” the Press Democrat as on of “Sonoma County’s Best Restaurant Openings of 2015,” and is among Sonoma magazine’s “Hottest Spots to Grab a Bite.” Mark Stark was born in Orange County, California and was raised in Solomon’s Island, Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay. He and Terri live in Santa Rosa.