Best of Napa Valley
Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, usually served Sundays from morning to afternoon. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the word dates to 1895 in an article titled “Brunch: A Plea” by British author Guy Beringer, in which he describes the meal as “cheerful, sociable and inciting.” Today brunch conjures up images of sleeping in, then leisurely arising and indulging in special culinary delights. In the Napa Valley, brunch is integral to the wine country lifestyle, not just Sundays or weekends, but every day.
From local to luxury, simple to sumptuous, there is a brunch choice for everyone. Below are some of the best the Valley has to offer—all with take- out options.
As the name suggests, AVOW unabashedly asserts its commitment to a flavorful and textural menu of delectable dishes, including the brunch menu. Unique to its menu is its Brunchwich, a hearty, burger- like breakfast sandwich with a sausage patty, bacon, ham, cheddar cheese, fried egg, and maple reduction on a brioche bun. Another specialty is the Loco Moto, a flanken-cut short rib with white rice and mushroom gravy herbs. More traditional crowd favorites include chicken and waffles, baked French toast with fruit compote and Chantilly crème, and AVOW’s take on avocado toast, Fancy Toast, with cured salmon, capers, shallot, and a sieved hard-boiled egg atop grilled bread. For sharing, AVOW suggests honey donut bites with honey and crushed pistachio or breakfast “fries,” fingerling potatoes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, and herbs. Pair these dishes with one of their cold-pressed juices, the house frosé made with rosé and vodka, Champagne or sparkling wine by the glass or bottle, or a craft cocktail. Photo courtesy of AVOW
Located in the city of Napa’s oldest building, Old Adobe, La Cheve Bakery and Brews, under owner Cinthya Cisneros, brings an authentic taste of Mexico to brunch. The name, La Cheve, slang for beer, pays homage to Cisneros’ early beermaking days in her family’s garage. With that name, Cisneros has taken beer, brunch, breakfast, and her mother’s baking to a whole new level. La Cheve is well-known for Momma Juana’s traditional Mexican conchas, “Los boozy pastries,” and a weekly “pastry and cheve” pairing. Also popular among the staff and customers are the chilaquiles (eggs made to order and accompanied by house-made chips smothered in red cheve sauce, sour cream, red onion, cotija cheese, with refried beans and red tomatillo salsa), mollete made with Momma Juana’s bolillo, burrito de chorizo, gluten-free cornmeal pancakes, and “veganized” chilaquiles made with potatoes or an asada- style, marinated portobello. At the heart of La Cheve is a focus on food, family, and community, “Our menu is what we eat in our humble Mexican home. What better thing to do than to offer it to our community at La Cheve,” said Cisneros. Photo Courtesy of La Cheve Bakery & Brews
Napa General Store has been a community mainstay in Napa for over 20 years. Located in the complex at 540 Main Street and Fifth Street, manager Jill Brandt said, “Kids, now adults, have been coming here their whole lives. Many elders come in and because they feel so welcome are comfortable to come in by themselves to dine among a restaurant full of friends.” The restaurant has a daily breakfast menu Monday through Friday and a special brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. Specialties include three versions of eggs Benedict (original, smoked-salmon, or sliced avocado) plus breakfast combinations, including their popular cornmeal pancakes or brioche French toast served with two eggs and choice of meat. Local favorites include Mary’s fried chicken breast and buttermilk waffles, smoked Atlantic salmon flatbread (with dill sour cream, capers, arugula, crème fraîche, and pickled red onion), and the Paleo scramble (three eggs, bacon, avocado, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes). Napa General Store makes dietary accommodations for any of their menu items. Photo Courtesy of Napa General Store
Napa Palisades Saloon, affectionally known as the “Beer Guys in Wine Country,” is where locals and tourists alike will find a brunch that co-owner Chuck Meyer said includes “fun and hearty items that pair well with beer, Bloody Marys, and watching sports.” The saloon’s menu, which is a special Sunday pop-up only, is always changing. Favorites include the chilaquiles with eggs, buttermilk biscuits and pork gravy with eggs, corned beef hash with cheese and sunny eggs, French toast fingers battered and soaked in whiskey with strawberry compote, maple syrup, and powdered sugar or the brunch fried rice (smoked duck, shallots, garlic, ginger, peas, eggs, pickled veggies soy-gochujang sauce), Brunch beverage pairings are the saloon’s own beers and its Saloon Bloody Mary made with house-made bloody mix, tomato juice, celery, pickled veggies, fresh lemon, olives, and the optional bacon and pickled egg. Napa Palisades Saloon is open to create diet-friendly renditions of their menu favorites. Photo Courtesy of Napa Palisades Saloon
Southside Café is another local favorite that boasts three locations: Carneros, Yountville, and Century (Napa). While Southside offers their California cuisine with a Latin influence for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at their Century restaurant, all three locations serve their delectable brunch menu. Most notable are the avocado toast (seeded wheat bread or tostada, avocado mash, feta, cucumber, mint, toasted pepitas, ground ancho chili), and their chilaquiles (tortilla chips, salsa, tomatillo, cotija cheese, crema, black beans, and two poached eggs) Other popular menu items include biscuits and gravy, the Cuban sandwich or their gluten-free cornmeal pancakes (caramelized seasonal fruit, whipped cream, agave, and smoked almonds) offered at the Century location. Many local fans stop by to fill up on their Wrecking Ball Espresso coffee, blueberry scones, or Mexican hot chocolate. What makes Southside different is its creative approach to food, drink, and each location’s interior design, which surprise and delight customers at first sight. Photo Courtesy of Emma K. Morris
Sweetie Pies is a nationally acclaimed downtown Napa bakery located in the Historic Napa Mill complex that also offers breakfast, brunch, and lunch and special weekend menus from early morning until late afternoon. Their sought-after brunch specialties include breakfast sandwiches, particularly the fried egg on ciabatta with bacon, avocado, garlic tomato pesto, and provolone cheese. Customers especially enjoy the morning baked goods like bear claw pastries, coffee cakes, croissants, muffins, quick bread, and scones, as well as the chorizo and egg morning wrap, fresh quiche, French toast sticks with fruit compote, croissant breakfast sandwich, and sourdough English muffin sandwich (house-made pesto, tomato, bacon, arugula, fried egg, and fresh mozzarella). The menu has vegan, gluten, or dairy-free options available. Photo Courtesy of Sweetie Pies
Other Brunch Restaurants Not To Be Missed
Article By: Elizabeth Smith