After seven months of renovations and six years after the Christmas fire that destroyed much of the historic Manka's Inverness Lodge the hospitality team of Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong will reopen the nearby Olema Inn & Restaurant in Marin. The two bought the inn back in May, with the plan of opening a casual counterpart to the more upscale Manka's, and it's now ready for its debut, just in time for their favorite holiday. "The Christmas Eve Dinner, a long-standing tradition, is close to our hearts," they write in a note to fans and previous Manka's guests. "It is a lingering feast featuring two of our favorite winter foods: crab and cassoulet." In addition, they'll be doing a Christmas Day, "Tiny Tim affair" with roast turkey, and a New Year's Eve prix fixe. Also, at Manka's, they'll be serving holiday sandwiches at the temporary AirStream trailer each day at noon, and each evening there will be fireside suppers served to all Lodge guests.
As Margaret explains, "Guests check in or return from a walk with no need to go anywhere else that evening. A knock announces the first courses of a private supper set beside the fire. So many guests respond to the knock in their robes that it's as if they're required."
Ultimately, the plan is to reopen the lodge at Manka's as the great, hidden restaurant it once was, and to operate both the casual Inn and the Lodge simultaneously. It remains to be seen when the Manka's may fully reopen, but they still welcome guests, they just don't have a full kitchen or dining room anymore. (If you need more of a picture about the food and style of the place, see this gushing memory of a Thanksgiving feast at Manka's in 2005 that Michael Chabon recently shared with Bon Appétit.)
The price for Christmas Eve at the Olema Inn is $94 per person, with a relaxed start time and seatings anywhere between 5 and 7 p.m.
Christmas Day, with a feast centered around roast turkey, is $75 per person, with seatings between 3 and 6 p.m.
New Year's Eve will have two seatings at the Olema, the first is $68, and the later seating is $150 per person.
The la carte menu will be available throughout Christmas week at the Olema Inn as well. Though we don't have a menu to share, Margaret assures it will be defined by what is at its best and within reach. "Local cheeses crafted from the summer milk come of age. Oysters are at their best. Crab, of course, are being plucked from surrounding seas ... [And] light rains are the harbingers of the 'local gold': The Grand Porcini."
For reservations at the new Olema Inn, call 415-663-1034. For reservations at Manka's Inverness Lodge, call 415-669-1034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olema Inn & Restaurant - 10000 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Olema - 415-663-1034