The BIG DEAL in Napa
Imagine a card player taking a peek at his hand, raising an eyebrow as he glances at the dealer and looks over the other players seated across from him to take in the view through the open nano doors. Just outside is a 4,500 square-foot deck where couples and friends enjoy world-class food beside comforting fire pits overlooking the Napa River. To the left, women laugh over martinis while a group fresh off the golf course sits in anticipation as the sports action unfolds on 75-inch television screens. Whether one’s hand is a winner is yet to be seen, but in Mike LeBlanc’s vision for Napa’s new California casino, everyone is a winner. LeBlanc and partner, Gabriel Pattee, intend to up the ante with the opening of their California casino, Ace & Vine, under the city of Napa’s only gaming license. LeBlanc, who began as a busboy at age 14 and learned the gaming industry under his mother’s mentorship and partnership, has been working towards this moment for over four and a half years. Because Napa’s gaming license was dormant for around 40 years, LeBlanc’s dream of bringing Ace & Vine to life has been challenging. However, this makes the December 2020 opening, under the guidance of gaming industry leader Mark Pickens, all the more rewarding.
Ace & Vine’s modern building design will feature six nano doors, including the only gaming room with an open indoor/ outdoor atmosphere, giving the space a very welcoming, open-air feel, further enhancing its idyllic Napa River locale. The enticing space will host games such as baccarat, blackjack, and poker. High rollers will enjoy a dedicated area known as The Dragon Room, which will provide VIP accoutrement, lockers, and more.
Unlike most California casinos, Ace & Vine will also have a first-class restaurant because, as LeBlanc declared, “This is Napa.” Under the helm of Michelin-rated culinary director, Arnaud Drouville, a classically trained French chef who worked in Asia for many years, the casino’s restaurant, The Deck, will offer globally inspired and elevated Asian fusion and comfort cuisine. Overseeing the management of The Deck will be longtime Napa restauranteur Michael Galyen, the former director of operations and general manager of Morimoto Napa and current owner and managing partner of NapaSport Steakhouse, and his wife, Krista. With a separate entrance, patrons of The Deck will enjoy two bar areas offering premium cocktails, Napa Valley wines, and entertainment. LeBlanc, who shared that he has two young sons, emphasized that The Deck’s outdoor patio picnic tables are ideal for family-friendly dining. The patio will also be dog friendly.
While the Napa Valley is mostly known for its world-renowned wineries and restaurants, LeBlanc believes that residents will enjoy experiences beyond these. Ace & Vine and The Deck will certainly satisfy locals’ and tourists’ cravings for late-night and early-morning gaming, dining, and entertainment.
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Article By: Elizabeth Smith