Considered one of the world’s best restaurants, Kyle and Katina Connaughton’s SingleThread combines the art of sustainable agriculture with culinary distinction.
Farm. Restaurant. Inn. On individual merit, each of SingleThread’s three components is an astounding representation of the highest echelon of their respective industries. The brand’s 24-acre farm, located just a few miles from downtown Healdsburg, is an agriculturalist’s dream. The restaurant is a three Michelin-starred dining destination—four stars actually, if you count the additional Michelin green star designation. And the five room inn that hovers above SingleThread’s dining room and kitchen is a sumptuous haven.
To experience just one of these components is a treat. To enjoy a SingleThread meal and an accompanying overnight stay is pure indulgence, grounded in the hospitality philosophy of omotenashi, or, ‘selfless customer service.’
SingleThread proprietors Kyle and Katina Connaughton regard their customers as guests whose individual needs and requests are a priority. For the Connaughtons, comfort is paramount, evidenced within their five room inn, the attributes of which make it nearly as destination-worthy as the restaurant. This warm and welcoming haven is much more ‘home’ than it is a hotel. Each high-ceilinged room features large picture windows with urban views and minimalist furnishings.
Each offers posh amenities including a bountiful full-service Japanese or English breakfast featuring traditional and playful offerings reflecting Kyle’s time in kitchens throughout the world, a bottle of wine from a rotating list of Sonoma producers, Pliny the Elder beer, sparkling waters, house made sweets from the SingleThread pastry team and artisan ice cream, all of which almost make dinner an afterthought.
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Photo by Eva Kolenko
But to retreat without a SingleThread dinner reservation would be to miss the point entirely. It is the restaurant and its visually stunning and delicious 10 course meals that have drawn global adulation.
SingleThread is the result of the Connaughtons’ life mission to combine the art of sustainable agriculture with culinary distinction—an admirable goal that was rewarded within a mere two years of SingleThread’s 2016 opening when Michelin recognized the duo and the restaurant with a coveted three Michelin stars. SingleThread is one of only 142 restaurants worldwide to receive the honor.
Then, in 2020, the restaurant received additional plaudits in the form of a Michelin green star, a designation first introduced that same year and presented to those who’ve taken responsibility by preserving resources and embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and the consumption of non-renewable energy, and generally demonstrating an outstanding commitment to sustainable gastronomy and a more responsible future.
“The Green Star distinction is such an incredible recognition of the Farm Team’s regenerative agricultural practices and all the hard work that is done each day in creating biodiversity in our fields,” Kyle Connaughton says.
With SingleThread, the duo seeks to evoke and share the authentic experience not only of their own wine country lifestyle, but of their experiences living and working abroad. Kyle’s culinary career and interest in Japanese culture began during his high school years when he apprenticed at one of Southern California’s oldest Japanese restaurants. He later attended both the California Sushi Academy and Sushi Chef Institute. In 2003 he received a job offer in Hokkaido, Japan where he and Katina lived and worked for three years. During this time, Katina immersed herself in farming and garden work in Hokkaido’s agricultural epicenter, leading to her expertise as a master gardener.
“Our experiences working and living in Japan strongly influenced our commitment to working within the seasons, and to working with the network of artisans and craftspeople we support, and to our approach of warm hospitality,” Kyle Connaughton says.
Photo by Garrett Rowland
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Katina now oversees SingleThread’s biodynamic Dry Creek Valley farm where she and her team tend heirloom fruit orchards, vegetable and flower beds, olive trees, beehives and chickens, the byproducts of which are sold at the on-site Farm Store. Open Thursday – Monday, the store offers a selection of fresh produce and florals from the farm, and larder items such as condiments, jams and sauces prepared by the restaurant team. The farm provides nearly 70% of the restaurant’s menu ingredients, the dishes of which Kyle bases on the day’s harvest. The farm’s bounty also provides Katina with the organic goods for her dazzlingly dramatic restaurant tablescapes and dish presentations.
Photo by Kim Carroll
To source the additional purveyors of SingleThread’s delicate dishes rooted in Japanese tradition, Kyle treks several times annually to Japan. His adopted country serves as inspiration not only for his acclaimed donabe clay pot cooking techniques, but also for SingleThread’s elegant and serene dining room interior. Every SingleThread item, be it menu ingredients, utensils, paired wines, sound system and furnishings, has a story and has been thoughtfully curated by the Connaughtons.
“We really seek to create a warm atmosphere where guests can experience themselves, take the time to decompress, and feel a sense of the moment in time within the season in Sonoma,” Kyle Connaughton says. “We always wanted SingleThread to feel less like a restaurant and more like coming to a dinner party in our home.”