Sausalito's friendliest street

The few nonlocals who venture to Caledonia Street most oftenend up at Sushi Ran (107 Caledonia St.; 415/332-3620), considered by many to bethe Bay Area’s best sushi restaurant. And to be fair, that’s a goodenough reason to visit Caledonia. But it’s certainly not the onlyone.

The street’s attractions are aptly summed up by John Wilmer,whose John Wilmer Studio Workshop (333B Caledonia; 415/331-3037) is crowded to the rafterswith his framed photos, artwork, and antiques. “Caledonia is likeMister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the artist says. “It’s got everythingyou need.”

It’s true: along Caledonia’s eight blocks, you can catch an artfilm; dine at seven very good restaurants; shop for obscure toolsat Water Street Company Hardware and Supplies (318 Caledonia; 415/332-4318), in business since 1971; orbrowse well-chosen used books at the Great Overland Book Company (215 Caledonia; 415/332-1532).

Wilmer found and fell in love with his studio, a formerwarehouse, on his first day scouting business space in Sausalito.He still counts his blessings to be here. “I leave my door openevery day of the year,” Wilmer explains. “My 11-year-old son goesdown to the park by himself to play basketball. There aren’t thatmany streets in Marin that have such a friendly flavor.”

And he adds, “Caledonia gets the best weather in Sausalito; thesun comes right here. There’s a reason William Richardson chosethis neighborhood.”

In the 1800s, long before Caledonia existed, this was the siteof a rancho operated by William Richardson, who once owned much ofthe land in Marin County and who is widely known as one of thefirst founders of Yerba Buena, a.k.a. San Francisco. But Caledoniawas prime real estate even before Richardson’s time. “Where SushiRan and the theater are now, there used to be a Miwok village,”says Frank, whose own home is on the hill just off Caledonia.

Frank, Wilmer, and other locals can often be found at Caffe DiVino (37 Caledonia; 415/331-9355), a hangout with great Italianfood and live music Wednesday through Sunday nights. Wilmer alsofavors Fukusuke (closed Mon; 45 Caledonia; 415/332-2013), a country-styleJapanese restaurant with inexpensive bento-box dinners. Other goodethnic eats: Sartaj Indian Café (closed Mon; 43 Caledonia; 415/332-7103), with good takeoutand pie; and Arawan Thai Cuisine (47 Caledonia; 415/332-0882).

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