Editor’s Note: As always, much is left to discover after reading this article. We share only enough to entice your visit. This is a destination eatery and is worth the drive.
It was a crazy idea. Preserve and transform 130-year-old starting-to-fall-over outbuildings into a public space. However, to NOT save the most visible part of the town’s heritage, the Mill Valley Lumber Yard, would have been even more crazy. Of course the buildings had to be preserved, and of course somewhere on its grounds there just had to be a restaurant. It required a fearless restaurateur, someone like Ged Robertson.
The gorgeous preservation and repurposing of the Mill Valley Lumber Yard has resulted in a gathering place for the community, a destination for weekenders, and now, an evening place for culinary creativity and gathering with friends.
The outbuildings and yard have been converted into something that so preserves the early years of this mill town that you can imagine the lumber men of the 1800’s strolling down from their hillside houses to accompany their wives as they picked out hand-thrown ceramic bowls, balls of woolen yarn, an oil painting for their sitting room, hand made soaps, and various fabrics, decorative pieces and florals for this week’s kitchen. The artisan shops and craftspersons studios have found a home in the lumber yard.
As each evening approaches, the air in Mill Valley begins to chill, and the sun dips behind Mt. Tamalpais and the Pacific Ocean leaving towering silhouettes of redwood and bay trees against a darkening sky. It is time to step into some place warm to escape the cold tendrils of fog that begin to explore the valley.
The Watershed Restaurant is just such a place. The interior is of distressed wood and the room is illuminated by warm lighting in modern light fixtures. It is at once welcoming and warm, a place to enjoy a bottle of red wine, laughter with the nearby table of friends, and to try everything on the unimposing and evolving menu. Watershed is new, brand new, but feels as though it has always been there, and one wonders what we did without it.