Chef Rodrigo Mendoza is a Bolivian transplant who landed here in 2000.

After attending L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school in Maryland Rodrigo cut his teeth at Café Boulud with chef Daniel Boulud (Daniel, DBGB) in New York. His next stint was back in Maryland at Addie’s with chef Jeff Black (Black Salt, Black Market Bistro). From there Rodrigo joined chefs from all over the world at Design Cuisine Catering where he catered enormous events including President George W. Bush’s inauguration and the US Open.

Rodrigo decided to make the move west in 2008. He landed at Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg with Charlie Palmer (Aureole, Charlie Palmer Steak) where he helped them earn their first Michelin star and expand to the ever-popular Spoonbar just down the street. Next, he chose a more relaxed environment just across the square at Bistro Ralph. Ralph had brought California Cuisine to what was a sleepy farm town fifteen years earlier. This paved the way for what is now one of the most iconic food and wine destinations in the country.

Before stepping out on his own Rodrigo accepted a position at Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar. Over the following decade he worked with Mark Stark (Willi’s Wine Bar, Stark’s Steakhouse, Bird and the Bottle, Bravas, Grossman’s, Augie’s French) to make Willi’s Seafood one of the most successful restaurants in Sonoma County.

2020 brought opportunities born of necessity. A small break from Willi’s Seafood allowed Rodrigo to acquire a food truck and Charro Negro was born. Rodrigo brings Beach & Barrio together through his concept giving everyday people the opportunity to celebrate on a budget without sacrificing quality or flavor.

In 2023, Rodrigo opened Goldfinch with his partners in Sebastopol, bringing progressive American cuisine in a comfortable yet vibrant environment to Sebastopol. The menu features wood fired, locally sourced and sustainable fare with an emphasis on creative plant-based dishes as well as progressive ideas for meat and seafood. Goldfinch is the culmination of Rodrigo’s experience and time spent in the culinary world. Each dish that comes out of the kitchen is dedicated to the desire to eat and enjoy life.