​Wondering about Downtown Cotati These Days?

Wondering about Downtown Cotati These Days?

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Written by: Susan Kashack

It’s hard to miss the great white tents these days in downtown Cotati. Because bars and restaurants were severely impacted by the pandemic, City leaders wanted to do what they could to help them survive the pandemic with their businesses intact as much as possible. The city purchased large white tents and loaned them out at no cost to businesses that requested them. Those tents went up last summer and fall and were a successful way to help bars and restaurants stay open by encouraging customers to eat and drink safely “outside,” as was allowed. While available to all Cotati businesses, the nature of shops and stores did not fit well with the use of tents.

The tents have well served their purpose. They came in two sizes, the larger 20x60 such as the ones at Redwoods Café, Spanckys, Café Salsa and Down to Earth and Tradewinds as well as the smaller 20x20 ones at Grav South, Flagship Taproom and Cotati Coffee. Under the tents along Old Redwood Highway, City crews installed plywood flooring for comfort and safety. The tents are expected to remain in place through the winter, or until the businesses request removal.

Downtown Parking

Parking has always been a bit of an issue in downtown Cotati as it is a popular strip for shopping and dining. As always, a city lot is available next to the former Friar Tucks and another on W. Sierra, just a block from downtown as well as street parking. There’s been some confusion about parking behind SuperBurger/RE/MAX Realty. As noted on signage behind those buildings, parking spaces are reserved for SuperBurger customers or RE/MAX realty clients. It is wise to heed the signage.

Business Growth & Retention

A couple of new businesses moved into downtown since the pandemic began: R&J Consignments and Zaina's Bellini Cafe. Each blends nicely with the culture of Cotati and has seen plenty of new customers. Sadly, Sweet Expectations bakery moved their operation creating fancy cakes and desserts to the kitchens of the Heirloom Café in Rohnert Park. The location they vacated is now home to Spring Thai which moved from the Oliver’s shopping center. Another new business coming to downtown is a Mexican restaurant in the building previously housed by Dos Amigos restaurant (located behind the La Plaza Park). Building renovations are underway now and it is expected to open in the next few months. Jam’s Joy Bungalow cafe is opening soon where the current Wing Man restaurant (which is closing) is located on East Cotati Ave. This is Joy’s second location, the first is in Sebastopol.

The City Council has approved changes to zoning regulations to allow a variety of new business types to operate and to provide greater flexibility for current business operations. Questions about doing business in Cotati? Contact Noah Housh, Community Development Director, at nhoush@cotaticity.org.


Last month, repair and refinishing of a portion of the Old Redwood Highway from the City limits to Myrtle Avenue narrowed traffic coming into town from the south. Delays were minimal and the work greatly improved the quality of the roadway. More is planned this year to maintain the infrastructure of the downtown and adjacent areas and to improve safety and accessibility to downtown. Repaving Old Redwood Highway between Myrtle Avenue and Page and a new lighted pedestrian crosswalk on East Cotati Avenue at Charles Street are planned.

Polystyrene Foam

Cotati has joined a county-wide ban, effective in Cotati on Jan. 1, 2022, to prevent the use of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) and other non-reusable take out containers and encourages restaurants to charge a fee for non-reusable take-out containers. The ordinance also prohibits the sale of most types of polystyrene. The ordinance is spearheaded by Zero Waste Sonoma, a board governing waste management for Sonoma County cities and unincorporated areas to address the proliferation of polystyrene and ensure that take out containers are reusable, recyclable or compostable by our local waste management system. Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Santa Rosa and Windsor have already passed some version of the ordinance, and the County is expected to adopt the ordinance this month. For a complete look at the ordinance, visit https://zerowastesonoma.gov/reduce/commercial/model-ordinance.


The plans for the proposed hotel in Cotati, to be located on the current St. Joseph Park & Ride property near the south Hwy. 101 entrance is moving along, but slowly due to the pandemic and related issues regarding construction projects.

City Council Meetings

City Council meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom and the public is always welcome and invited to virtually attend. Go to http://cotaticityca.iqm2.com/C... for meeting dates and agendas.

City Event Rentals

The public is now able to again rent the Cotati Room, La Plaza Park and other city venues for events. Zumba classes on Monday and Friday mornings have resumed outside on the basketball court near City Hall. Other camps and classes can be found at https://cotati.recdesk.com/Com... Questions? Email Ashley Wilson at awilson@cotaticity.org

Wednesday Night Market

Grab the kids and have dinner with friends at the Cotati Wednesday Night Market through the end of September! Bring a blanket and enjoy the weekly music. Experience the locally grown and prepared foods from 4:30-7:30 every Wednesday through September. Questions? Email chamber@cotati.org