Napa’s Culinary Marketplace– To Gather or To Go

Napa’s Oxbow Public Market has served as one of Napa Valley’s revered local gathering places for great food, wine, and local purveyors since its opening in 2007. The 40,000 square-foot space is replete with vendors offering locally produced farm provisions, food, drink, and other culinary delights.

Its convenient location on First Street and proximity to the Napa River and Napa River Trail is ideal, offering a lovely locale to spend a day regardless of the weather. Sunny days beg for picnicking at the Oxbow Preserve or Oxbow Commons with the day’s shopping treasures.

Mornings at the Oxbow are not complete without visits to The Model Bakery and Ritual Coffee Roasters. Their enticing aromas of baked goods and coffee cannot be denied. Patrons of The Model Bakery may savor freshly baked bounties such as the famous English muffin sandwiches, baguettes, cookies, and pastries at a picnic table out front. Ritual’s rich coffees, latte, mocha, nitro cold brew, or hot chocolate are made to order to sip in the communal dining area. Those searching for healthy alternatives will enjoy the 100% organic juice bar at Hudson Greens and Goods or C Casa’s “Mexican reimagined” organic breakfast plates, scrambles, tacos, and tostadas.

As the market reopens post-COVID, stroll through the marketplace to explore some of Napa’s local tastes. Anette’s Chocolates sells sweet treats such as beer brittles, creams, nuts, salted caramels, truffles, and wine chocolates and sauces, available individually or as gift boxes and sets. Kara’s Cupcakes, “The San Francisco Sweet,” shares its legendary lineup of one-of-a-kind, small-batch cakes, cupcakes, cookies, marshmallows, and sauces. For cooking enthusiasts, The Olive Press is the go-to for items such as 100% California extra virgin olive oils, tapenades, and vinegars, while Whole Spice offers an extensive range of inter- national mushroom powder, salts, and spices. Napa Valley Distillery is a “cocktail enthusiast’s paradise,” offering complimentary educational tastings of their locally made spirits and bitters, as well as bottled cocktail ingredients and spirits to go.

The Oxbow is also home to one of the three locations of Napa Bookmine, a locally owned and operated independent bookstore. Within its space, one will discover books for all ages and gifts such as greeting cards, Olive and Poppy jewelry, and socks. Of particular interest to both locals and visitors interested in the outdoors is Obi Kaufmann’s field guide to The Forests of California, featuring water- color maps and trail paintings.

Lunchtime at the Oxbow bustles with mouth-watering menus that offer something for everyone. While most places that serve lunch also offer dinner, some crowd favorites include El Porteño’s delectable selection of hand- stuffed empanadas, C Casa’s rotisserie meat tacos and salads, Live Fire’s wood-fired pizzas, and Gott’s Roadside, whose burgers are lauded as some of the best in Napa Valley.

It would not be a day in Napa Valley without a great happy hour, and the Oxbow has several locations to consider. Bar Lucia is known for its plethora of still rosés for every palate, sparkling wines, frosé, appetizers, salads, and sandwiches. Oxbow Wine and Cheese Merchant offers cheese and wine to go and onsite wine and cheese flights, charcuterie, and draft beers. Locals’ Night specials include great deals on wines by the glass and cheese plates. Fieldwork Brewing Company has a wide range of always-changing beers on tap, which may be enjoyed as sampler flights, by the glass, and to go in cans and growlers. Hog Island Oyster Bar is a local favorite for half- priced oysters, small plates, and beer specials. After a day of eating, shopping, and imbibing, why not stay for dinner? Some great options include handcrafted   sushi or poke from Eiko’s, Hog Island Oyster Company’s raw Sweetwater or barbecued oysters smothered in chipotle bourbon butter, or Chef Todd Humphries’ eclectic global menu at The Kitchen Door, featuring his famous Teriyaki chicken wings, pho, or cream of mushroom soup.

When ready to depart the Oxbow, one should take with  them  premium  groceries and meats from Hudson Greens and Goods, which has some of the area’s freshest produce, pantry staples, and chilled Hudson Vineyards wines. For meat lovers, Five Dot Ranch and The  Fatted Calf cannot be missed. Five Dot is a seventh-generation cattle ranch and butchery that offers local, all-natural, non-GMO, pasture-raised beef, as well as   an   All Day Eats menu featuring a Baby Iceberg Wedge, Ranch Burger,  Cali  Cheesesteak, and an FDR Beef   Hotdog.   The   Fatted Calf is a butchery/charcuterie that also offers   accompaniments   like   beans, pasta and vinegars, and live butchery demonstrations.

Check the website to learn about Locals’ Night specials and how to access OxBucks coupon books, which can be redeemed at any Oxbow merchant.

Open seven days a week (excluding major holidays) from 7 am – 9 pm



610 and 644 First St., Napa //

Article By: Elizabeth Smith // Photos Courtesy of Oxbow Public Market (unless otherwise specified)