Singletree cafe

Owners plan on starting food truck business

After 20 years of business serving up hearty breakfast and lunch comfort food, Singletree Cafe will close its doors on Feb. 22, according to restaurant owner Naci Van Praag.

This won’t be the end of their burgers, tacos and other meals though. Pragg and her business partner Dolores Rodriguez plan on starting a food truck called the Lucky Truck, a name that recognizes their longtime chef Minerva.

“Before the pandemic started, we had the restaurant for sale. Because of the pandemic we didn’t think we would ever sell it. We got about one-tenth of what we were asking for it, but at least we got something and something is better than nothing and we thought well if we can get enough money for a food truck then we can get some money coming in,” Van Pragg said.

Pragg and Rodriguez don’t know when their new venture will be launched, but they are excited about it nonetheless.

“For the last 10 years I’ve been wanting to do a food truck. It looks like it would be so much fun and it’s something that has a lot of potential,” Van Pragg said.

She said a food truck also seems appropriate for this day in age when folks can’t go out to eat or don’t feel comfortable getting takeout due to COVID-19 and the related health orders.

Van Pragg, who’s been in the restaurant business for 55 years, said her time with Singletree has been a lot of fun.

She recalled the time when the eatery had its 20th anniversary celebration and held a party and even hired a DJ.

While that is certainly one of her favorite memories, she said the Healdsburg Jazz Festival benefit for Singletree was a precious and sweet moment as well.

The benefit occurred in 2018 during the roundabout construction on Healdsburg Avenue.

Van Pragg had seen a 50% or 60% drop in business due to the construction and the subsequent traffic delays and said they were having a hard time.

“The whole community got together to support us and threw us a benefit with the jazz festival,” Van Pragg said. “Almost 500 people showed up to support us and raised about $20,000. It was a lot of fun and it was amazing to see how many people came to support us. It was really sweet, (it) paid our bills and we kept going.”

Before Singletree opened, the building at 165 Healdsburg Ave. was home to Lonnie’s back in 1962.

According to Tribune archives the old Lonnie’s eatery was where Pat Paulsen announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 1968.

Van Pragg said she plans on offering a similar style of comfort food with the Lucky Truck and hopes to be available for catering events and weddings.

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