The Cork Board team decided to have breakfast at the Napa General Store a few weekends ago.
Located in downtown Napa, the Napa General Store is housed in the Historic Napa Mill along with Napa River Inn, Sweetie Pies and Angele. The Mill is currently surrounded by construction as downtown Napa is undergoing a second Rennaisance, preserving long time traditions unique to Napa while also looking towards the future as a part of its renewal. It was also one of the restaurants that Giada Di Laurentis visited during her weekend stay in Napa.
The dining room: The Store’s space is divided into three parts: a retail area where unique knick-knacks and specialty foods are sold, a wine bar, and the restaurant.
The restaurant itself is at the back of the space and outdoor seating is available–the area is perfect for warm days and evenings. The dining area has a sleek, modern look with exposed brick walls. Air vents and pipes can be seen overhead. There is a bar area where patrons can enjoy their meals closer to the kitchen as well as a large communal table for customers who enjoy dining in the company of strangers. The dining area is casual with plenty of seating. It is adjacent to the wine bar, which is well stocked with whites and reds alike.
The service: We were immediately greeted by a friendly server and seated upon arrival at a cozy table for two and it wasn’t long until a member of the staff handed us menus and asked if there was anything we would like to drink. The server was attentive and once our orders were placed, it did not take long for the food to arrive to our table. As is customary, she asked if there was anything else we needed and after surveying our food, everything looked perfect and asked to have our coffee refreshed.
At was at this point in the meal when the service got a bit shaky. Now, we should note here that the indoor portion of the restaurant was not at all busy and there were a decent number of folks sitting outside soaking up the warm sun. We were disappointed by the fact that our server didn’t refill our coffee (and at this point our water too), until her third visit to the table to see how things were going. When she realized she had forgotten the refills, she immediately went back to the coffee station to get the pot for us.
Now we are far from picky diners, in fact, having worked in the restaurant industry ourselves, we’re probably a bit more lenient than most. That said, we also noticed a patron not too far from where we were sitting get up from his table to get coffee because his efforts to flag someone down did not produce any results. His server was different from ours. Perhaps the servers fell into the trap of post breakfast-rush malaise–or maybe the outdoor dining area was much busier than we thought…In the end, the service started out quite well, but unfortunately became less attentive as the meal wore on.
The food: When we arrived, it looked as though brunch had just stopped being served as the picked over scones were being put away by the servers. The menu boasted items such as: the “Italian Scramble”, Asiago fresca cheese, sauteed mushrooms & fresh basil served with breakfast potatoes and toast ($9.95), the “Fieldhand’s Breakfast”, two pancakes and two eggs with two pieces of applewood smoked bacon or breakfast sausage links, and “Chocolate-filled Beignets” ($6.50).
We ended up ordering a “House-Made Bel-Air Granola” with low-fat yogurt and milk ($4.95) with fresh fruit ($2.75) and the “Breakfast Pizza” with scrambled eggs, ham and cheese ($11.25).
The pizza came to our table piping hot from a brick oven and looked and smelled exactly as how I imagined it would. However, after taking our first bite, our mouth was a little disappointed. It’s not that the menu’s description of the pizza sounded exotic, it just tasted as though it was missing a certain something, which we were never able to identify. At the end, it really tasted more like an open faced scrambled egg, ham and cheese sandwich with a little tomato sauce.
The second item we ordered, the granola, sat in the bed of yogurt and looked as though it was freshly made that day. The cinnamon flavor mixed in with raisins, nuts, oats and honey was a great compliment to the yogurt, which was light and cut through the sweetness of the granola. The meal overall was light but was still very satisfying. The fruit that was served alongside the granola was definitely fresh and juicy.
The Cork Board Rating: 2.5 (out of 5 possible). Overall, our experience at the Napa General Store was positive–although we must say, we expected more from a Zagat rated restaurant. More flavorful dishes and a tad better service would have bumped our rating up at least a full point. Perhaps their menu items and service are stronger for lunch and dinner. For those who have dined there, we welcome your feedback.
Be sure to check out our previous Napa Valley restaurant reviews too!