Come visit Mendocino for the inaugural Urchin Festival – the first of its kind anywhere in the Country – yes the entire Country!  It’s three days of festivities and activities including good eats, great places to stay, discoveries and hands-on experiences! 

And it’s all happening June 17th – 19th, with this most delectable delicacy! 

UNIque Eats

Uni is the Japanese name for the edible part of sea urchins, and in the hands of the fabulous chefs, uni becomes an exquisite bite to eat!  Michelin starred Executive Chef Matthew Kammerer is preparing a five-course purple urchin tasting menu at the Harbor House Inn (Elk), while chefs at Elk Cove Inn (Elk), Izakaya Gama (Point Arena), Glendeven Inn & Lodge and The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk (Little River), Little River Inn (Little River) and Princess Seafood Market & Deli and Harbor View Bistro & Bar (Fort Bragg) will all have uni-focused menus!


Discover and learn more about purple urchins through instructional demos and hands-on experiences with community organizations like MendoParks offering up a demonstration on how to open and clean uni, and an educational chat at Van Damme State Beach. The Noyo Center for Marine Science offers an in-depth look at urchins along the California Coast, plus other activities related to urchins and their impact on our kelp forsests.

Stay a night or stay for the entire weekend of the Purple Urchin Festival as several coastal inns offer specials.  Check out these fabulous properties: Elk Cove Inn, Glendeven Inn & Lodge, Little River Inn, Noyo Harbor Inn and The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk.


Nothing goes better with uni than sake, so take part in the Sake Seminar at Little River Inn with a true sake expert sharing seven different sakes from Japan.  And it’s not a true festival without music, and Little River Inn has that too with a special performance from Cheryl Wheeler and Kenny White at Abalone Hall.


For more information visit

Programming for the 2022 Mendocino Coast

Purple Sea Urchin Festival will include:

Friday, June 17

12PM: Outdoor demo and 5-course purple urchin tasting menu ($150/pp) presented by Urchinomics and Chef Matthew Kammerer at Michelin-starred The Harbor House Inn. (additional $90/pp wine pairing option) Reservations available on Tock.

Saturday, June 18

10:30AM: Uni demo and educational talk at Van Damme State Beach. Sample fresh uni on the beach! Josh Russo from the Waterman’s Alliance and international free dive competitor Greg Fonts of The Freedive Shop demonstrate how to open and clean urchin. Participants will learn how to harvest urchin, the impact purple urchin has on other fisheries and innovative solutions to the problem.

3PM: Sake Seminar at Little River Inn. Sake expert Kerry Tamura of World Sake Imports walks attendees through the best sakes from seven different Japanese prefectures, highlighting the features of the terroir in the glass. Guests will also learn a bit about urchin while sampling uni snacks. $80 per person.

Sunday, June 19

10AM: Join Natasha Benjamin and Ana Blanco, producers of the upcoming film Sequoias of the Sea, and Sheila Semans, Executive Director of the Noyo Center for Marine Science, as they provide an in-depth look at the sea creatures of the California Coast. A trailer of the documentary film will be shown at the event as well, which will take place in the Abalone Room at Little River Inn. Attendees are encouraged to make a (voluntary) donation to the Noyo Center for Marine Science. Complimentary coffee and scones will be served.

1AM-5PM: Visit the Noyo Center for Marine Science to learn about all things Urchin and Kelp.

7:30PM: Live performance from musicians Cheryl Wheeler and Kenny White in Abalone Hall at Little River Inn. A limited number of tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Ongoing culinary specials throughout the weekend:

At Little River Inn, uni specials (market price) will be on offer nightly, with an optional sake pairing from World Sake.

Elk Cove Inn will be presenting a special uni-themed menu to both guests of the inn, and nonguests as well, in their Sibo restaurant. Four appetizer and four entree options showcasing uni will be on offer, including a Sea Urchin Flan with a Light Lobster Cognac Sauce, and a Sea Urchin Risotto with a Mussel and Porcini Jus. Reservations must be made in advance here.

Izakaya Gama, helmed by Chef David Hopps, will celebrate uni in every form the entire weekend from 4-9PM. Various urchin dishes will be highlighted in their robatayaki, tempura, and raw preparations ($10-$16). Those booking the restaurant can avail of a 15% discount at their sister inn property, Wildflower, a boutique motel also located in Point Arena. Email [email protected] for reservations.

● At Glendeven Inn & Lodge and The Inn at The Cobbler’s Walk, guests can select an opt-in special menu featuring an “uni scramble” at breakfast each day, and a decadent uni pasta will be offered each evening at the Wine Hour. (Both are complimentary to all guests.)

Noyo Harbor Inn will be offering an uni special at dinner each night of the festival (market price) at their HarborView Bistro & Bar, overlooking the scenic Noyo River.