Sadly, things got pretty shaky up in Napa on August 24. We've all seen the pictures of ruined buildings, toppled barrels at wineries, and businesses with broken glass. But now we need to see the pictures of how cleaned-up downtown Napa is looking, with over 90 percent of businesses back open—it has been an amazing recovery. Now more than ever, we need to support Napa—every business that had to close for even a day lost precious revenue (and let’s not forget the people who work at these businesses too). So help them out with a visit! Here are some ideas on new things happening in downtown Napa, all designed to inspire you to head on up and show some much-needed support.
Check Out the New Cadet Wine + Beer Bar
There’s a lot of buzz about the recently opened Cadet, a hip wine and beer bar that is quickly becoming a local hangout. You’ll find a variety of Napa Valley wines (and more choice selections from around the world), plus a well-selected beer list with six on draft, and many more in bottles. And on Tuesday nights—which is their Going Back to Cali night—all California bottles are sold at retail. You can nosh on salumi, panini, and other wine-friendly bar snacks, all to an upbeat soundtrack on vinyl. Bonus: it’s open until 1:30am on the weekends. 930 Franklin St., Napa
Get Your Pie On at Velo Pizzeria
This brand-new pizzeria has locals very, very excited over their thin-crust American pies, but they had to close because of post-quake danger. Well, in a positive turn of events, the scene has been secured and Velo was just able to reopen. So, let’s help this new business recoup from being closed for way too many days! (Maybe they need to create a pizza called “Green Tag.”) Bonus: you can come by for a slice until midnight on the weekends! 807 Main St., Napa
Dine at Torc
Ask any restaurant industry person or wine lover what’s new and delicious in downtown Napa, and Torc will come up at the top of the list. Not only is the wine list full of well-priced yet choice wines (we’re talking bargains, people), but chef Sean O’Toole’s creative and contemporary American menu will have plenty of dishes to get your attention—bar snacks, like the sweet potato pakoras, are excellent. The spacious dining room (it’s the former Ubuntu) is welcoming and stylish. Pro tip: save room for dessert, they are truly notable. 1140 Main St., Napa
Take a Tour with Sommelier on Wheels
Want to show your support and #DrinkNapa? Sure, you can visit the big and splashy wineries, but if you want a more personalized experience, you need to have Sarah Sandbek of Sommelier on Wheels cart you around. She’ll bring you to family wineries and set up private visits that take place in their homes and dining rooms, showing you an intimate side of Napa Valley that would otherwise be impossible for an outsider to experience. You’ll visit places like Modus Operandi and White Rock, and find the latest gems in the Valley. (And we just have to add: Sarah could really use some help right now, since she tragically lost her home.)
Have Brunch at The Thomas
Tomatoes are in their end-of-summer prime right now, which means it’s THE time to have The Thomas’ famous BLAT: it comes with bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato on grilled seven-grain bread, with smoked paprika mayo. (Trust us, you gotta add a fried egg.) And then there’s the “Mimosa Garden” bar at brunch, where you can choose from a selection of fresh-squeezed juices, local fruits, and seasonal herbs from their garden at Copia. Tip: brunch here makes for a great pit stop on your way up to go wine tasting. 813 Main St., Napa
Buy a Bottle of Matthaiasson’s Quake Cuvée
Even if you can’t make it up to Napa, you can help by buying Quake Cuvée—all profits (after taxes) will go toward the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief fund. What’s amazing is Matthaiasson suffered their own tragic losses (including seeing all their 2013 barrels on the ground, oof), but they are still rallying in the rubble to help the community through this crisis. Cheers to that. The wine can be ordered from now until September 15, and will ship in the spring of 2015. Yup, #DrinkNapa.
If there are any other businesses, fundraisers, and more you'd like to mention, please leave them in the comments. Stay strong, Napa.