Mark & Terri Stark
2013 James Beard Award Semifinalists for Best Restaurateur
For Mark and Terri Stark, following their passion has placed them squarely on the fast track to success. The Starks have used their passions for great food combined with great fun to create unique and thriving restaurants. The couple’s Stark Reality Restaurant group consists of five highly rated dining spots in Sonoma County, California: Willi’s Wine Bar (2002), Monti’s Rotisserie (2004), and Stark’s Steak & Seafood (2008) in Santa Rosa and Willi’s Seafood (2003) and Bravas Bar de Tapas (2012) in Healdsburg.
Mark is executive chef and Terri handles all of the business operations for the restaurants. From opening their first venture, Willi’s Wine Bar in 2002, to their most recent, Bravas in 2012, Mark and Terri’s restaurants have consistently earned top accolades and praise including San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant status (Willi’s Wine Bar and Bravas), Michelin Bib Gourmand (Monti’s Rotisserie, Willi’s Wine Bar), and Travel + Leisure Top 20 US Tapas Restaurants (Bravas).
Says San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer in a 2013 profile of the couple, “What sets Mark and Terri Stark apart from many restaurateurs who have multiple locations is that each location is different. If their names weren't written on the menu, in fact, you probably wouldn't know it was one of their properties… Willi's has remained one of my favorite casual stops in Sonoma County.”
Mark is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and honed his professional cooking skills in Washington DC and Seattle. Terri majored in hospitality at the University of Oregon, and had a successful catering and restaurant management career in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mark and Terri met while both were working for the California Cafe Restaurant Group in Palo Alto: he as a regional chef and she as manager of the catering department. They were married in 1999, and relocated to Sonoma County shortly thereafter where Terri has four generations of family.