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A Beer Garden Opens in the Heart of Wine Country

A Beer Garden Opens in the Heart of Wine Country

It was a long coffee-less winter for the residents of Oakville. The Oakville Grocery, a beloved resting place for commuters, cyclists and tourists alike (and the only place to get a sandwich between St. Helena and Yountville) has been closed for months, undergoing extensive reconstructive surgery. This weekend, just in time for Memorial Day, the sign out front once again said “Open.”

While the floor of the 100-year-old building, which quite literally had mushrooms pushing through it, was being lifted and the walls supported, Chef Jason Rose was busy sourcing cheese from all over California (the case now boasts 34 producers) and refining his fried chicken recipe. Brined, dredged in buttermilk, and served cold, it’s the perfect accompaniment for the Grocery’s most exciting new addition: Draft beer. Lagunitas IPA and Blue Moon (with more selections to follow) are being poured on tap in the garden (where you can also purchase fruits and vegetables from local farms). If you’re more of a chicken and wine kind of person, they’ve got plenty of that too: Five to six wines by the glass and an extensive selection of bottles — from California exclusively (we recommend the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, which is chilled and ready to go).

Chef Rose, who has embraced the challenge of serving prepared foods that are as fresh and delicious in the middle of the afternoon as they were that morning (some things, like the honey-kissed quinoa salad, just get better) has ambitious plans for the menu, but for now he is keeping it simple. The cured wild King salmon sandwich, which Chef calls “refreshing” is joined by other picnic staples like a butter bean salad, coleslaw made with vinegar and grapeseed oil and grilled asparagus.

The coffee program has been greatly improved: a larger espresso machine and a pickup window in the front of the building should make it much easier to get that morning cup of joe. And they have Three Twins ice cream, which means, you got it: Affogato (the staff has been trained, trust us, we asked).