Profiles in Power: Sondra Bernstein


Sondra Bernstein can only be described as a success. She owns a number of successful businesses that include The Rhone Room and Girl and The Fig. She didn’t start in the food industry and it wasn’t even a major interest to her while she was growing up. Her life is a testament to just how random and unplanned life can be.

While growing up in Philadelphia, Sondra says that food was never of huge interest to her. When she was in college her passion was in photography. That’s about as far from restaurant owning as one can get. Yet, it was while she was in college that Sondra worked at a TGI Fridays. It was a job that would go on to change her life.

Sondra climbed up the TGI Friday ladder, lost interest in her studies and soon found herself as part of the management’s training team. She spent a bulk of her early twenties traveling the country and getting branches ready for an opening. It was during that time that she learned the most about the restaurant business.

After her experience there, Sondra returned to college. This time she went to a Restaurant School in PA. It was there and then that she learned that she wanted to be in the restaurant business. She would make the dream a reality in 1997 when she opened her first restaurant in Glen Ellen, California. It’s called The Girl and The Fig and is absolutely California famous. Since it opened it has had a number of famous people eat there. Amongst them are Lady Gaga and Ben Flajnik.

Since the opening of The Girl and The Fig, Sondra has opened up a second location and winery called The Rhone Room. Before hitting this peak of success, Sondra has had her share of screw ups. Yet she always stayed positive.