A Taste of the Good Life in Napa Valley
When one looks to Napa Valley to discover its appeal as one of the region’s best places to work and live, they need not look further than local restauranteur Allison Hallum. As Proprietor of sister restaurants, Eiko’s and Napa Noodles in downtown Napa, Hallum has called Napa Valley home for the better part of 21 years. During that time, she held various jobs, from working in an ice cream parlor to a 12-year career helping her father, Rick Zaslove, manage his business, Golden State Lumber, where she gained experience in accounting and dispatch management, sales, and corporate event planning.
In June 2011, her father cofounded Eiko’s with his brother, Mike, and Eiko Nakamura. In January 2013, when the general manager left and Nakamura wanted to retire, Hallum joined Eiko’s as Director of Operations, then later assumed leadership of the family’s other restaurants, Eiko’s at Oxbow and Napa Noodles. “I always enjoyed working private catering events through college, but I didn’t realize until Eiko’s how much I loved the hospitality business,” she said.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Eiko’s was voted by loyalists as Napa Valley’s best restaurant in Napa Valley Life Magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards for its fresh sushi and innovative Asian menu at both the original location on Main Street and their outpost at the Oxbow Market. Napa Noodles is a local family favorite, best known for its diverse and fun menu, including build-your-own poke bowls.
Managing three restaurants and raising a family is no small feat, but Hallum savors the best Napa Valley has to offer. She begins her day with a spin class at CycleSociety, gets her son Gunner off to school, and prepares for her workday. She splits her time between Eiko’s and Napa Noodles, working lunch at one and dinner at the other. She and her husband, Spencer, sneak away for weekly lunch dates to her neighborhood favorite, Hop Creek Pub, and are looking forward to the reopening of Kitchen Door downtown. She dedicates Sundays to her family and always tries to do something fun, like brunch at Fumé or strolling around the Oxbow Public Market. Whenever her busy schedule permits, she loves to harvest fresh vegetables from her home garden and cooking and dining together with her family at home.The Eiko’s restaurant family continues to thrive because locals are always willing to lend each other a hand, like during the pandemic when Hallum and her team stepped up to support the Napa community and their staff. She maintains connections with businesses in downtown Napa during her walks between Eiko’s, Napa Noodles, and Eiko’s at Oxbow. Sometimes Gunner accompanies her, waving at everyone in the businesses along First Street. “I love being part of Napa Valley. My family and friends are here. Our area is alive with amazing restaurants, wineries, boutique shops, and events like Porchfest and BottleRock. Kindness and hospitality prevail. We succeed together.”
Story By: Elizabeth Smith // Photos Courtesy of Eiko’s
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