Spotlight on Shangri-la, A New Restaurant With A Palm Springs Style, Gourmet Food, and Innovative Cocktails - Coming Soon to 7960 Winding Way in Fair Oaksin Profile Articles
We're pleased to introduce Sommer Peterson, owner of the Shangri-la and Associate Member of FOVEC, in our Business Spotlight Series.
We're spotlighting various merchants in the Fair Oaks Village, as well as individuals who support what FOVEC does, all while giving you a little insight into our history and what we do for the Village. We encourage you to share these local stories and visit with merchants to get to know them firsthand.
We connected with Sommer to learn more about her and the Shangri-la.
What is Shangri-la going to be, how would you describe it to a friend?
We are creating a palm springs style hangout with gourmet food, classic and innovative cocktails, and a huge patio with an outdoor bar, bocce ball courts, and fire pits.
The whole design is to be a festive place to relax with friends and family.
Why did you start the business? What do you hope to accomplish?
I started dreaming of this business a couple years ago when I first relocated back to Fair Oaks. I was born and raised here and after living in San Francisco for the last 2 decades, I longed for a cool hangout destination that had some recreation closer to home.
I hope to create a beautiful place that is welcoming to all people while providing quality service and amenities.
It is so beautiful here and the weather is great, so building a beautiful patio was really important for me.
What's something you wish people knew about your business?
We are a women owned small business, which is still pretty rare in the restaurant industry.
Another thing is that our food will be served family style, so friends can share and not limit themselves to just one dish each. The menu is inventive, but still approachable and sharing is great for groups, date nights or family outings.
We are also creating a beautiful Private Events room that can sit up to 50 people separately from the main restaurant area. I think this room will be quite popular for celebrations of all kinds.
Is there a common question you've been getting?
The most common one is when are you going to open?!?
What do you think your most popular product or service will be?
Enjoying food and drinks around the fire pits is going to be awesome, and something I haven’t seen in Fair Oaks. The bocce ball courts will provide some fun recreation as well as a great place to host parties and let out some steam.
What's the biggest compliment you've received thus far?
I have received so much support from the community about taking on such a huge undertaking. People have been quite complimentary about the Palm Spring resort design concept as well.
Are you involved with or do you support any local nonprofits, community organizations or causes?
I am currently a member of FOVEC and the chamber of commerce.
Why did you choose to be in the Fair Oaks Village?
I went to preschool in the Village! It’s a personal homecoming for me and this is such a unique and beautiful area.
Family brought me back home and then I kept driving past the “for lease” sign and my wheels started turning. I brought my childhood friend over to see the space and get his thoughts on my business idea. He thought it was awesome and proposed to be the landscape architect for the project. We’ve been working together on this project since the beginning and now, two years later, he proposed with a ring!
Fair Oaks is in my heart and I am working hard to make my hometown proud.
Things have already started with great businesses already established, and I hope to help and be part of this renaissance. It’s an exciting time for the Village!
When are you hoping to be open by?
Hopefully by May 1st but the rain has foiled many, many plans so far. It’s still a moving target.
What's it been like working with the County for the permitting process? Any advice you have for those looking to start a new business here?
Honestly, it was and has continued to be one of the biggest obstacles of getting started. There is a lot of red tape and long waiting periods in general.
Too much to detail here, but I would highly recommend starting small, with something that did not require any changes in the use of the building.
Once the Planning Department gets involved, add at least 6 months to a year to get through to starting anything. This is my 3rd major commercial project and I was floored by some of the daunting regulations.
What did you learn from your business, Mission Bowling in San Francisco?
Mission Bowling Club is a boutique Bowling alley with award winning restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District.
We have been featured on the Food Network, New York Times, Thrillist, and tons of local media outlets.
My biggest learning is that people love having something to do (or watch) while they socialize and imbibe. The bowling creates a way for people to let loose and relax and I believe the bocce courts at Shangri-la will provide that same outlet for the folks here in town.
What was it like working with a Merchants Association in San Francisco?
When I opened my first cocktail bar in SF, I wanted to find a way to engage all the other businesses in my neighborhood. A couple of us got together to talk about cross promotion and we realized we needed to collaborate in a way to bring the merchants and community together.
Our small group created the Divisadero Merchants Association, where I served as president for the first 3 years. Our goal was to invigorate a sleepy commercial corridor that had potential, but needed some organization, attention and motivation.
Can you tell us about the Divisadero Art Walk that you founded?
I founded the Divisadero Art Walk in 2008 with about 12 businesses all committing to showcase local art on their walls and host an opening reception in tandem with all participating business.
We offered discounts and promoted all the participating restaurants, boutiques, hair salons and bars so neighbors would be motivated to walk up and down the street to see what everyone had to offer.
It’s such a wonderful way to support local artists and build community in a business district. It grew to over 40 participating businesses and is still going strong today. That is something I am very proud of creating.