The Gastro-Goth Lounge Napa Never Knew It Needed

lounge

Empire, a new lounge and restaurant in Downtown Napa next to Andaz Hotel (formerly Avia), ushered in its arrival with not one, not two, but three nights of grand opening festivities. Small plate bites were passed offering a peek at the small but eclectic menu (mashed potatoes, meatballs and mac and cheese on the “nostalgia” [...]

Rudy Brings Right Touch to Sonoma

Rudy Mihal

Restaurant Rudy might just be the best little restaurant in the heart of Wine Country you never heard of. Rudy Mihal, who left Spoonbar last year to start his own place, opened the new spot quietly this fall in Sonoma, in an unassuming space that has been a revolving door with three restaurants in a [...]

Fagiani’s Fits Fabric of Napa with ‘Floating Glass Wine Cave’

Rendering of the restored Fagiani's

The latest details on the rising of Fagiani’s in downtown Napa, which we’d previously reported would reach three-stories and include a rooftop bar and dining area, were delivered in the form of a typically perfunctory Paolo Lucchesi missive. The redesign and operation of the long-shuttered restaurant is in the capable hands of NYC-based design troupe AvroKo, which is [...]

Fired Up: Ciccio’s Quest For The Perfect Pizza Crust

The wood-burning oven at Ciccio in Yountville

“I’m so over food that needs a pedigree. We’re just going to cook,” says Polly Lappetitio, the Chef at Frank Altamura’s (of Altamura Winery) soon-to-open pizzeria, Ciccio, in Yountville. Having spent 13 years at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone restaurant (the last five as Executive Chef) we can understand her need to simplify. For [...]

Tanned, Rested and Restored: Oakville Grocery Reopens

Oakville Grocery Reopened

Oakville Grocery has had a long sojourn. The old girl had extensive reconstructive surgery, but like an aging silent-film-era starlet (the building was built before Tullulah Bankhead was even born, after all) who spends the off-season in Palm Springs with huge sunglasses on, waiting for her raccoon eyes to heal, she’s making her triumphant return [...]

Something Borrowed: Howard Backen’s French Blue Takes Shape

French Blue

The construction site in St. Helena, which come May 29th will boast Napa’s latest dining destination French Blue, is abuzz (literally) with saws and workmen fitting things, and amid the clatter, Howard Backen is energetic, but perfunctory when explaining where this will hang and that will go with a flutter of his fingers. Make no [...]

Inside Goose & Gander: Now Open

The tables are made from reclaimed redwood

Completely renovating a beloved local icon can be risky business. Judging from the reactions at a preview this weekend, Andy Florsheim and the team behind Goose & Gander can breath easy, though. The new crew has done right by the 90-year-old landmark. Let’s be honest: As great as The Martini House was under Todd Humphries and [...]

Bar Stars Beattie and Pazdon Bringing Classics, Hand-Cut Ice to Goose & Gander

Super Friends 1973

The old Martini House, empty more than a year now, will roar back to life next week as Andy Florsheim’s Goose & Gander. Florsheim has assembled a bar team supergroup of sorts (we are thinking more Super Friends or maybe the powers of Voltron uniting than Velvet Revolver, but you be the judge). Today, we [...]

Habit Forming Lines In Napa

habitburgertime

The Habit Burger Grill added its fourth Bay Area location today when it opened in Napa (joining shops in Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and San Mateo) to much ballyhoo. And by ballyhoo we mean lines out the door like you would see at Bouchon on a Sunday if they were giving out free gold bars (and by gold [...]

More Goose & Gander Details

More details on Goose & Gander,  the highly anticipated restaurant filling the Martini House space in Saint Helena have rolled in. And from the sound of things the spot is going to be worth the wait. And a hearty affair. For starters, literally, you’ve got Chef Kelly McCown’s housemade charcuterie to whet your appetite for menu anchors [...]

Farmers Market: Ciccio Bringing Fresh, Ingredient-Driven Italian To Yountville

ciccio0003

Frank Altamura grew up frequenting the little Italian grocery in Yountville on Washington Street. Since those days, a lot has changed. All around the diminutive free-standing wooden building with the distinctive facade, the machinations of wine country boom and celebrity chef superstardom have proliferated, turning the sleepy town into something else. And though the building [...]

Lucy’s Lift: Bardessono’s Restaurant Gets Much More Than a Nip-n-Tuck

Lucy Table

Let’s face it. No one wants to eat in a hotel. Hotel restaurants far too often feel like an extension of the lobby — and anything that feels even remotely lobby-like is not exactly appetite inducing. The restaurant at Bardessono, a contemporary, well-designed hotel that opened in Yountville in 2009, had been cursed with the [...]

Breaking Bread: Bouchon Bakery Grand Reopens

Chef Thomas Keller at the grand re-opening of Bouchon Bakery in Yountville by Table To Grave.

They say man cannot live on bread alone. And that’s true even if the bread is from Bouchon and if by bread you also mean insanely rich pastries in addition to your baguettes and batards. Luckily Chef Thomas Keller’s bakery long ago added sandwiches and lunch snacks to its repertoire. Much of the Napa Valley [...]