2018 Spirit of Marin
Sean & Sonja Saylor, Saylor's Restaurant and Bar
Sean and Sonja Saylor are the proprietors of Saylor’s Restaurant & Bar, a local’s favorite known for good food and friendship. After attending California Culinary Academy and working up through the kitchen ranks in Marin, Sean and Sonja tied the knot and opened their first restaurant, Saylor’s Landing in 1999 then Saylor’s Restaurant & Bar in 2006.
While creating a following for their food—they found themselves to be in the center of an eclectic community and their passion for Sausalito was cemented. Sean’s mother had instilled in him the importance of giving back. After his mother’s passing, Sean took up the mantle and has been paying it forward ever since. Each year he participates in Great Chefs of Marin, benefitting Lifehouse, an organization dedicated to those with development disabilities. This year marked his 17th year.
On a local more visible level, Sean and Sonja have donated their time, their service and their talents to more than 20 local non-profits in Sausalito for their fundraising needs, including the Sausalito Woman’s Club, the Chamber of Commerce and Sausalito Rotary, just to name a few. You’ll find them in the kitchen cooking, donating or organizing an event, all to benefit someone else.
But it’s truly their quiet actions, the ones that happen day after day that nobody notices that makes the Saylors so important in our community. It’s serving the needy or the homeless—holding someones arm who is frail when walking to their car…withholding judgement…being kind human beings. Sean and Sonja are always there and go out of their to and take the time to make something special happen for someone in need. Everyone always pokes fun of Sean and his “be kind” button, but the man takes it to heart each and every day.
Sean and Sonja have two beautiful daughters, two amazing grandchildren and a staff with a heart of gold, and their customers are their extended family. Sean bleeds great music, good tequila and Sonja makes sure giving back to the community is in their budget … “Giving back is where it’s at”.
Sean and Sonja Saylor will be honored at the 2018 Spirit of Marin Award at Bank of Marin's Spirit of Marin Awards Luncheon, Friday, September 21 at St. Vincent's School for Boys.
Business Nominations and Awards 2017
2017 Large Business of the Year
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
Joanne Wishart & Dea Belrose, JoAnne's Print Shop
2017 Small Business of the Year
Madrigal Family Winery, Sausalito Wie Salon
2017 New Business of the Year
2017 Volunteer of the Year
Sean & Sonja Saylor, Saylor's Restaurant & Bar
2017 Spirit of Marin
Shelby Van Meter
2015 Large Business of the Year Award Winner:
Saylor's Restaurant & Bar
Saylor’s is a great example of a thriving LEGACY business in Sausalito. Saylors has been owned and run by the same family for 17 years and legendary husband and wife team, Sean and Sonja Saylor. Saylor’s is really The Cheers Bar of Sausalito – it is the bar where everyone knows your name and the barman knows your favorite cocktail! Sean and Sonja are bastions of the Community and have generously donated to many causes and local non profits, from the Rotary, Sausalito Woman’s Club, Sausalito Chamber Sister Cities to the Sausalito Art Festival. In 2015, Saylor’s helped the Sausalito Police feed the homeless and anchor outs in Dunphy Park. The folks who attended were very grateful for the hot meal and kindness shown to them by Saylor’s.
The other top nominee for 2015 Large Business of the Year was The Marine Mammal Center
2015 Small Business of the Year Award Winner:
Sausalito Pottery is another example of a successful LEGACY business in Sausalito. 13 years ago, Lorna gave up a lucrative job at Levi Strauss to follow her passion and set up her own ceramics business. Lorna Newlin is one of those rare gems of Sausalito – not only does she own and operate a small business in Sausalito but she is also a resident of Sausalito so she see both sides of the coin. She has a passion and love for her home town and at the same time, she is also keenly aware of the struggles and issues of being an artist and small business owner in Sausalito and is a constant crusader to promote and protect small business. Lorna talks the talk and walks the walk of small business – she understands the importance of relationships and cross marketing and has forged great business relationships with many other local businesses such as Out of hand, TMMC and Cavallo Point. Lorna has been on the Chamber Board for 5 years and has served as a Treasurer for 3 of those years. Lorna is most conscientious and hard working and has done an outstanding job in this role. Lorna is also active and has served on the Board of the Sausalito Woman’s Club and the Sister City Board. She generously donates her time and her beautiful products to many fundraisers.
The other nominations for Small Business of the Year were Lili S. Salon and The Ship’s Store
2015 New Business of the Year Award Winner:
Sarah and her husband Scott are a welcome addition to the artistic and creative energy of Caledonia Street. They are a friendly young couple with a strong work ethic and drive. Sarah designs and makes her jewelry on-site here in Sausalito. Having a below street level retail store can be difficult but Sarah and Scott have created a lovely, cozy welcoming space to showcase her stunning jewelry. Sarah understands the importance of good face to face customer service but also the power and importance of social media. Sarah Swell has over 800 Facebook followers and an astounding 7,000 Instagram followers. Sarah Swell have been active in the Chamber from the moment they opened their door and have been actively involved in the Caledonia Holiday event, the Made on Caledonia Street event and the Made in Sausalito Concierge Tour.
The other top nomination for the 2014 New Business of the Year Award was Pick Me Up Chocolate
Chamber Champion & Volunteer of the Year Award Winner:
Chris Gallagher, Bay Model Visitor Center &
Jeff Scharosch, The Spinnaker Restaurant
Chris Gallagher and Jeff Scharosch are both unsung heroes for Sausalito. They are consummate volunteers and are actively involved in every major Sausalito fundraising event with the Chamber, Rotary and the City. They attend Sausalito City Council meetings, Hospitality meetings, BAC meetings, Rotary, and practically every other Sausalito meeting and yet neither of them actually live in Sausalito. They both have busy day jobs but they volunteer much of their personal time and talent to help the Sausalito community and they have done so, for many years. For this reason, we want to acknowledge them both as Chamber Champions in 2015.
2015 Spirit of Marin Award (Posthumous):
A former president of the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce, Sally served three full terms on the chamber board and has served on almost every chamber committee including Membership, Nominating, the Business Exchange Forum and the Women’s Alliance. She was presented with the Chamber Champion award in 2014 which has only been awarded to two others before. She has also served on the Sausalito Art Festival Board for many years with responsibility for the festival’s silent auction which continues to generate major funds for the organization. A positive and brilliant intellect, her radiant force has made a tremendous difference in many lives.