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What Businesses Do You Miss? What Should Come Here?

We're asking readers what kind of businesses should come in, and what you're sad that went. Tell us below or send us an email to angela.hart@patch.com.

State Farm Insurance left Rohnert Park's 33-acre hub vacant in 2011, leaving a huge swath of the city center vacant, and contributing to the city's official 43 percent vacancy rate. Are you sad it's gone? What should go there?

What should replace the empty Pacific Market? Residents have been talking about getting Trader Joe's in here, but the grocery has said it's not interested, say city officials. What do you think should fill that space?

What other businesses should come here? Big box retailers dominate Rohnert Park's west side, and citizens have long complained that there's not enough independent businesses in town.

But members of the City Council say gems are here — places like Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster and Sonoma Mountain Village — and they're planting seeds for the future shape of the city.

What do you think the city needs?

LaRae Meadows April 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I don't miss a single business that has gone under in Rohnert Park. I can go 20 miles in any direction and find a branch of almost any of the closed businesses. Rohnert Park has never been the home of any special, small businesses, or boutique anything. Rohnert Park has focused on attracting large businesses to fill the strip malls that serve as town center. Unfortunately, that made Rohnert Park no place special to visit and the majority of their businesses nothing that can't be found on any other off ramp on the 101.
LaRae Meadows April 02, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Cheesecake Factory - ew.
LaRae Meadows April 02, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Please, no Cheesecake Factory or Cattlemen's. It would do Rohnert Park some good to have something you can't find somewhere else.
pdf April 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM
LaRae..I'm sorry to say that you are sadly mistaken. Unless you can tell me where to find Pita Cafe or the creperie which closed in the Roger Wilco center, these businesses couldn't make it with the increasing costs of rental space. Bradley Video has been closed for how many years now? And Guy, I agree with you--Latitudes lacked food quality and good service. As far as a Ruth's Chris or Morton's, this is a small family community. That is why the middle class chain restaurants do so well here. Expensive restaurants will never make it in Rohnert Park, not with a population of 41,000. You will find places like R.C. and Morton's in upper middle class communities, such as Beverly HIlls, Scottsdale, Arizona and San Francisco. Those restaurants would laugh at opening up a location in this "friendly" community. I'd been in the restaurant business for years in Los Angeles, as well, as my own business for over 7 years. (The earthquake destroyed my home and business in 1994.) I've lived here in R.P. for 15 years. I can see which businesses thrive, and which, unfortunately do not.
Patricia Siebert April 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I totally agree with you. We always have to travel outside Rohnert Park to find a great restaurant. As to a Bed, Bath and Beyond it's right down the road. If built, one would put the other out of business. We need a great bakery. The only one I go to is Oliver's which is what a bakery should be. There use to be two great bakeries in RP, but sadly they are both gone.
Patricia Siebert April 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM
You are absolutely correct. No downtown charm. You have to leave RP to find this such as beautiful downtown Petaluma, Healdsburg or Sonoma. When we want to go for a walk we just walk the creek with our dog. We actually don't feel safe doing that either due to the gangs that hang there and tag it.
Patricia Siebert April 02, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Can Rohnert Park build anything that contains a brick in it. Just boxes adorn this city. We need downtown charm with a wonderful bakery, really great pizza, fountain and much more. I feel this is a city where people don't connect. Build it and they will come!
LaRae Meadows April 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Pamela. I am sadly mistaken about what? I said "almost any" business 20 miles away. I did not make an absolute statement and my non-absolute statement was correct. Most of the businesses that closed were chains, chains that we can find elsewhere. I stand by the overall comment that I don't miss the businesses that have closed including the two you mention. They were equally non-special to the large strip mall occupants that surrounded them. It isn't totally their fault, it is hard to do anything special in a strip mall in a town filled with strip malls. "these businesses couldn't make it with the increasing costs of rental space. " On what do you base that? I agree that commercial and restaurant space in Sonoma County in general is extremely expensive for how much vacancy is around. That is not necessarily their downfall. You were in the restaurant business, you know most of them fail and quickly. I have owned a business for nearly a decade and I know that most all small businesses fail in the first five years. It could be that Pita Cafe and Crepe-Escape did not offer the community anything they wanted, or could not get their financial houses in order, or had managerial problems. I certainly cannot take their closure as evidence of high prices when most restaurants don't make it.
Susan April 02, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Hey, Carrie: Port of Subs is very similar to TOGOs .... well, similar enough
Susan April 02, 2012 at 08:11 PM
A BBQ place would be great for the Latitude location! And, would not compete with Outback right across the way. Too bad for those who want bricks to just waltz in - sorry, but the boxes have the money to risk right now.
pdf April 02, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Port O' Subs rocks. It's the only place we go to for sub sandwiches. I wasn't sad to see Togo's go. The customer service fell short.
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I agree with you on too many taquerias and El Pollo Loco is fast sodium food Pamela.
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I'm so glad to know you were relieved Fresh
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:14 AM
We would be so lucky to have Ruth's Chris! Perfect location for such a fine restaurant! Have you emailed them for suggestion? Something really nice needs to go in there!!
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Perfectly said Guy!! Now let's do our best to get word out there and ask everyone to help email the steakhouse.
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Which city do you reside in Larae?
RC April 07, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Which city do you reside in Larae? Also, please name a few restaurants you like to dine at instead of our suggestions.
RC April 09, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Right on the money Patricia! The city needs to make buildings look nicer, more upscale like Windsor T.G. We need better quality food and service like Trattoria Due Amici in Cotati!!
RC April 09, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Right on the money Patricia! RP needs nicer, more upscale buildings like Windsor T.G please!! We need better quality food and service like Trattoria Due Amici in Cotati.
LaRae Meadows April 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM
RC. It is hard for me to answer which restaurant I want because I want something special. I want something I can't get somewhere else, something that uses local ingredients that calls out flavors of our area. This area grows amazing produce, raises incredible meats, produces world class dairy, and for the boozers - wine that is revered the world over. Let's try eating some of it prepared well at a reasonable price with good service. If you are asking which chain, I don't want a chain.
LaRae Meadows April 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Yeah, make RP just like some place else!
Patricia Siebert April 13, 2012 at 06:47 AM
I thought Latitudes had a terrible menu. I went there once and I never went back. We only have the basics here as far as restaurants go. If you were to call the Olive Garden a great place to eat, my wonderful "italian" Grandmother would cry. We need a great italian restaurant here.
RC April 14, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Yes LaRae, I'd love the idea of dining at a local restaurant with good organic food. That's actually what I always wish for this city. But Cheesecake Factory would be a much better chain than a crappy chain like Hooters, no? Also, Latitudes old location is such a beautiful and pricey site, Ruth's Chris or Cheesecake Factory can definitely afford to the building. I get that RP lack restaurant options for us foodies, but you don't sound like you actually live here?? I think we all need to get word out there, requesting quality food restaurants for RP. I try to support all the local restaurants, try even harder to stay away from the chains! I really miss El Malecon. Hana's Sushi is my favorite of all besides Sushi Ran in Mill Valley, but unable to afford dining there weekly. Wayne's teriyaki is more affordable but just more simple. Season's Pizzeria is a decent alternative. Trattoria Due Amici in Cotati is a very cozy Italian restaurant with some of the best dishes! Of course, it'd be very nice to have an authentic, fine Italian restaurant near the Gold Course side of town.
LaRae Meadows April 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Bob. Let what go? I didn't put alcohol in wine.
LaRae Meadows April 15, 2012 at 12:22 AM
RC. The choice is obviously not Hooters or Cheesecake Factory. You have a Hooters and still want a Cheesecake factory. I don't really mind Hooters anymore than Cheesecake. The top of women's breasts don't offend me. I've heard they have good hot wings. I have also heard the waitresses there make pretty good money there. Wayne's is excellent. The cut of their sushi is always perfect and simple means that technique and balance have to be of a higher standard. "I get that RP lack restaurant options for us foodies, but you don't sound like you actually live here??" If your attempting to criticize or dismiss my ideas and the best you have is "I think you aren't in my tribe", well then I'm glad. You don't have a rational objection to what I'm saying. If I live in RP I am entitled to a say, if I don't...what? You don't want people from the surrounding areas to spend money in RP? That's silly. Yeah, you don't want tourists coming to RP. Close the hotels and motels. RP is only for RPers. NO OUTSIDE MONEY! *eyeroll*
pdf April 15, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Ta-Ke sushi, in my opinion and from someone from L.A. who's been eating sushi for over 30 years, is the B-E-S-T!
AnthonyR April 17, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I must agree we have great sushi restaurants here in RP. Having the opportunity to experience many great restaurants throughout California and different states. I find myself missing local foods when away on business trips. We have wonderful local ingredients and I appreciate when restaurants utilize all that is available. Anything that would bring revenue and occupy vacant buildings would be beneficial. However, certain businesses do attract the wrong crowd. Comparing a Cheesecake Factory to a Hooters *eyeroll.* You don't go to Hooters for a dining experience. Of course we all would prefer something more than a chain but Cheesecake factory would be nice in that location if it were to be a chain. A lot of RP residents and surrounding cities are willing to pay extra for quality. We need something that is a little more upscale. Something like Windsor Town Green is a great idea for RP. I've been to many places in different cities that Windsor Town Green resembles. Cities take ideas from other places to help with development. We need some charm for RP. We all just want this city to flourish and develop. 
RC April 30, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I believe you miunderstood somewhere along the line as I only come and stay in Rohnert Park for business. I travel throughout Northern California but love the weather in Rohnert Park the most. I actually commute to Healdsburg and Marin County while when I'm here; but try to support the locals since I love the areaso much and I appreciate the small town feel here.
RC April 30, 2012 at 09:58 PM
My last comment was for Larae and anyone else that might have took it the wrong way. Thanks for reading.
RC January 25, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Very good point Patricia. Should we form a committee and plead the city for this? The casino has been helping with finances , but what's been done for the good if the city and the CITIZENS??

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