Just like that and Napa’s a little hipper and a little cooler.
Oh, sure, you say. Napa Valley’s been hip and cool for a long time. But I’m not talking about the valley and its vineyards and wineries and wine-tourist magnets such as Calistoga or St. Helena or even Yountville today. I’m talking about the city of Napa, the middle class, blue-collar hub of the county, and a sense that with the opening of a couple of businesses, Napans' image of themselves has changed a little.
Let me explain. For a long time visiting Napa has been more an afterthought than a primary destination. Sure, there’s been a big boom in tourism in a revitalized downtown. And there are now many excellent restaurants and dozens of wine bars and winery tasting rooms. A lot of this has come about and grown up around Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts.
But while these two recent additions to the Napa (Whole Foods Market and Taylor’s Automatic Refresher) have little in common, they’ve both had an impact on the "Napkin" way of life.
Whole Foods is the upscale supermarket that has an amazing assortment of foods and wines and just about everything in between. I’m not much of a shopper and I was gone when Whole Foods opened about a month ago. But everywhere you go you hear people talking about it, even if it’s a jab about its prices. The wine section offers 1,400 selections, a wine bar that had 1-ounce pours of Harlan Cabernet for $25 and more bottles of Screaming Eagle than I’ve ever seen (and with prices at nearly $5,000 a bottle for some of the rarities). Jerry Aman, an old friend who knows wine and how to fish the Napa River, is shown on MaryAnn Worobiec’s video.
Taylor’s Refresher is the other new kid on the block, with a menu of burgers, fries, dogs and soups, and a beverage list that extends from milkshakes to Pabst Blue Ribbon to Shafer Hillside Select (2003, $295) and Phelps Insignia (2004, $225). Taylor’s is part of the Oxbow market area of Napa, near Copia, and simply a fun place to hang out.
I ran into Tim McDonald (who’s in MaryAnn’s other video) and Terry Wheatley at Taylor’s the other day for lunch and maybe we all had a mild case of spring fever, with sunny 70-degree weather, but the place has a fun vibe.
It seems to me that both Whole Foods and Taylor’s are giving Napans a little boost of self esteem, making us all feel a little hipper and a little cooler.
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — February 29, 2008 4:36pm ET
Mark Lewis — Napa — February 29, 2008 5:23pm ET
Dave Reuther — Deerfield, Illinois — February 29, 2008 7:04pm ET
Elyse J Ward — Buffalo Grove, IL — March 1, 2008 7:25pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — March 2, 2008 8:47pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — March 3, 2008 12:13am ET
John Freeborn — CA Huntington Beach — March 3, 2008 11:31am ET
John Danby — Napa — March 3, 2008 11:54pm ET
Mr Randy Beranek — Napa, CA — March 4, 2008 4:38pm ET
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