On a lazy Sunday morning, we decided to have breakfast at Alexis Baking Company (ABC) located in downtown Napa. Unlike many establishments in the Valley, this eatery seems more dedicated to its local patrons than pleasing the palates of tourists. For instance, locals know to sign in their names on the yellow pad sitting on top of the counter rather than waiting for a staff member to take their name down and telling them how long the wait is.
The space for dining is limited, with nine tables, one larger communal table and three or so additional pet-friendly outdoor tables. The small number of seats adds to the wait, but again, locals expect it and don’t seem to mind it one bit. ABC is a no-frills, low key eatery where the food keeps people coming back for more.
The dining room: The first thing people see when they enter the cafÃƒÂ© is a glass casing filled with baked goods made fresh daily. Some of these pastries include “Best Damn Lemon Cake”, “Blueberry Muffins”, and “Oatmeal Raisin Cookies”.
The beverages and breakfast menus are written on white boards hung on the wall. The room is painted with varying, vibrant colors while cafÃƒÂ© music plays in the background. Interestingly enough, even though the room was jam-packed with patrons and guests waiting to be seated, the noise never seemed to become overbearing. More notably, unlike many Valley restaurants, ABC has a communal table which allows strangers to dine with ease and relaxation and the possibility of making new friends.
The service: Before choosing to dine at ABC, folks should come in with the expectation that this is an unassuming cafÃƒÂ© and should not expect immaculately pressed white-shirted servers walking around. That said, the servers are quite friendly, despite the number of guests in the dining area and the queue out the door. The servers were attentive (our coffee never got cold) and quick to bring out the food, piping hot from the kitchen.
The food: There are two menus from which patrons can choose. The first is their regular seven-day-a-week menu where items include Poached Eggs OR Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes and choice of toast ($9.95) and Breakfast Sandwich – ham, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese on a potato bun ($5.95). The breakfast specials for this Memorial Day weekend included Cornmeal Pancakes with sautÃƒÂ©ed apples, pure maple syrup and AidellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chicken apple sausage ($13.95) and a Wild Mushroom Omelet with thyme and parmesan, served with toast and potatoes ($12.95). We ordered the cornmeal pancakes and the Ham and Cheese Quiche served with breakfast potatoes and fresh sliced fruit ($11.95) with a small glass of non-fat milk and a large coffee (and boy was it large!)
Served hot off the griddle, three cornmeal pancakes are topped off with slices of sweet sautÃƒÂ©ed apples and along side sausage cut length-wise. The warm syrup is served on the side. In a word (or two), these cornmeal pancakes are home-made delicious! When eaten with the sweet maple syrup, they are definitely on the richer side, compared to buttermilk pancakes, but we found this to be wonderful as a ‘once-in-a while’ breakfast splurge. The chicken apple sausage is a great compliment to the pancakes and cuts through their sweetness.
While the ham and cheese quiche is usually served with potatoes, we instead asked for an extra helping of fresh sliced fruit, which they easily accommodated (without extra charge). The array of fresh fruit included grapes, plums, watermelon and cherries, which was served alongside the warm quiche. The quiche had the perfect proportion of ham and cheese–and its buttery, flakey pie crust that was baked just right.
The Cork Board Rating: 3.5 corks (out of a possible 5). Overall, Alexis Baking Company is a wonderful place for a low key breakfast. Despite the lack of white-glove service, it is still a Zagat rated establishment for a reason. The food is wonderful and the ambiance is casual and unpretentious. If you decide to try it out, you’ll likely catch us back for a return visit to this cafÃƒÂ©!