Shuttered downtown garage will offer burgers and brews

Hasty plans spring opening
2012-11-28T18:34:00Z 2013-02-19T16:10:37Z Shuttered downtown garage will offer burgers and brewsJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
November 28, 2012 6:34 pm  • 

A long-vacant auto repair garage — an eyesore at the heart of downtown — will become a casual eatery serving burgers and beers, said local developer Steve Hasty.

Hasty intends to turn the former Riverside Service Station, 967 First St., into BurgerFi, short for “burgerfication.”

“It was a long-time vacant building, just sitting there downtown,” said Hasty, who called the location “fantastic.”

“It’s right on the river at the end of the river walk,” Hasty said. Also, downtown doesn’t have a relatively inexpensive burger joint.

Hasty has signed a long-term lease with an option to buy the riverfront parcel from owners Shanty’s Properties, he said.

Hasty is perhaps best known for the rebirth of Fagiani’s bar, another long shuttered downtown business. The former bar is now called “The Thomas and Fagiani’s Bar at The Thomas” and is run by New York design firm, AvroKO.

Hasty said he will own and operate the new restaurant, which bears some resemblance to what Gott’s Roadside offers at the nearby Oxbow Public Market.

“I think there is plenty of room for different concepts” in the downtown area, he said. “I think this is far enough away. They should both do fine.”

His prices will be lower than Gott’s, Hasty noted.

The developer said he hopes to start construction in January and be open by spring. He will build a small addition next to the Bounty Hunter for a bathroom and trash enclosure and make other improvements, including adding a kitchen and exterior design elements.

“I still want it to have the old service station look but I want to dress it up a little bit,” he said. The space is currently zoned for food and wine service.

At 2,000 square feet, BurgerFi will have 40 indoor and 12 to 16 outdoor seats. The current parking lot will become outside dining, he said. Plans include creating an opening on the south side of the building for additional customer access.

The city’s river promenade currently ends at the southern edge of the garage site, but Hasty said that he is interested in talking with the city “to see if we can extend the river walk and how we would do that.”

“It may entail removal of a portion of the building (or) it may entail a cantilevered section similar to what wraps around near Angèle Restaurant at the Napa Mill.”

“I don’t know what all the options are,” Hasty said. “I’m sure the city has a version of what they’d like to see.”

“It’s a great project,” city Community Development Director Rick Tooker said of the new burger restaurant. “We love that someone is utilizing that long unoccupied space.”

Regarding the river walk, “There is a long-term vision to extend the promenade,” Tooker said. How it is extended needs to be determined, he said.

“We’d need to sit down and talk” with Hasty about any future plans to expand the river promenade at that site, Tooker said. “It’s a process. But it’s a process we are starting the dialogue with him on.”

The city has asked Hasty to consult with a structural engineer to make sure the existing sea wall at the east edge of the restaurant site is “safe and secure,” Tooker said.

The wall is structurally sound, Hasty said. “It does not need to be replaced.”

Hasty wouldn’t speculate on the total cost for the BurgerFi project, only that “it’s a substantial investment in downtown. It’s substantial as far as dollars and cents but the real benefit doesn’t have to do with dollars and cents,” he said. “The real benefit is filling vacancies in downtown Napa.”

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(14) Comments

  1. slammin211s
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    slammin211s - November 28, 2012 8:49 pm
    The only reason this place was "shuttered" to begin with was the "flood plan". Furthermore I would consider downtown joes and other overpriced restaurants and bars downtown to be much more of an eyesore than a closed auto repair shop.
  2. Napa
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    Napa - November 29, 2012 3:43 am
    I went to school with Steve and he is a very smart and keen cool guy. I wish him well in all he does and this landmark should have new life. Call it the "Burger Garage" or Riverside Grill." Steve knows his investments and if he thinks it will succeed, then by all means it will. He was overjoyed talking to passing patrons about the restoration of Fagiani's. He has the heart of a million men and is very honest and knows his stuff. Best wishes Steve. I know this business will pick up and soar as well.
  3. odiedog52
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    odiedog52 - November 29, 2012 8:46 am
    I don't like the name but otherwise excited about a new burger joint.
  4. bowlerhat
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    bowlerhat - November 29, 2012 9:09 am
    Excellent news. Gott's is SO overpriced, it will be great to have an alternative. His place will capture a lot of the hotel traffic that currently walks to Gott's. Napa is slowly becoming a much more interesting place.
  5. DowntownNapkin
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    DowntownNapkin - November 29, 2012 9:30 am
    Steve and Johanna make a great team and this next project will be no different. After all of the City madness and political interests they struggled with on the Fagiani project, it amazes me that they have the courage cross the street and sign up for it all over again. Good for them.

    They are raising their family here, they are tied to the Napa community and I have no doubt that this will once again be a beautiful building. That we will be able to get a good burger at a reasonable price will be a bonus for sure. The benefit is ours. Way to go Steve and Jo!
  6. FA44
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    FA44 - November 29, 2012 9:43 am
    I have been close friends of Steve and Johanna Hasty for many years. They are the most talented local development/construction company that I know. They have accomplished many great things, in their business and for the local community, most of which were unnoticed. The Thomas and Fagiani's was their most recent project, and while it was very controversial, it has become the new "place to go" in downtown Napa. Steve and Jo have been in Napa forever and are here to stay. They are humble, have worked very hard to achieve their goals, raised 4 wonderful children, and are now moving forward on a challenging new project, BurgerFi. They deserve all of our support. They are NAPA!
  7. napa1957
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    napa1957 - November 29, 2012 10:04 am
    We did lose some businesses with the flood plan, but I honestly believe we would have never been able to have the success that downtown is becoming without having this in place. I don't eat at the restaurants much...only special occasions. Gott's is "special occasion" food as well, so it would be nice to have something more affordabel downtown. I am thrilled that Mr. Hasty has the ability to take on these projects!
  8. Red Dirt Town
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    Red Dirt Town - November 29, 2012 7:34 pm
    I kind of like the place! Ones mans junk......
  9. katieeleccion
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    katieeleccion - November 30, 2012 9:37 am
    Fabulous location! Happy to see more affordable priced options for the locals and families. Can't wait to see it.
  10. glenroy
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    glenroy - November 30, 2012 10:54 am
    They're creating jobs...

  11. kcnapa
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    kcnapa - November 30, 2012 1:08 pm
    With so few affordable places downtown this is going to be a great addition. I love the fact that the whole family can get burgers to go and go enjoy a performance at Veterans park without spending a small fortune. Thank you Hastys!

  12. lavacuna
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    lavacuna - December 02, 2012 11:54 am
    Great idea but name it Burgers&Brews, and make it a sports bar with alot of big screens. There aren't any sports bars in Napa which is why it will be a big hit!!
  13. tommerle
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    tommerle - December 02, 2012 11:31 pm
    Glad the place is going to be resurrected, but couldn't we have something more interesting than a "burger joint" Nations fills that niche just fine. Downtown Joe's fills the sports bar niche. How about a La Boulange type place which does offer affordable dishes with a bit more style befitting our place in the US of A.
  14. longtimenapkin
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    longtimenapkin - December 03, 2012 7:14 pm
    I concure with the others, please utilize some of the local, older, ??? name to stay with Napa's history, we lost sooooooooo much in the redevelopment of the 70's and current politico's haven't been here long enough to care also! You where raised here do the right thing! People want local, I had a business and broke my heart to hear "where are all the downtown business's"!
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