Jonesy's Restaurant closes for business

2010-08-17T17:35:00Z 2010-08-18T16:46:45Z Jonesy's Restaurant closes for businessMIKE TRELEVEN Napa Valley Register
August 17, 2010 5:35 pm  • 

Jonesy’s Restaurant — a landmark at Napa County Airport — closed Monday night.

Owner Nancy Otton said Tuesday that she and her husband, Terry, are considering reopening in a couple of months — possibly as a bar and grill restaurant. 

Hugh J. Jones Sr. started the restaurant 53 years ago.

Jonesy’s was operated for nearly 35 years by father and son Bill and Jack Tuthill.

On Oct. 31, 2009, the Tuthills sold the restaurant to the Ottons.

“The people just weren’t coming out,” said Nancy Otton.

Jack Tuthill was surprised at hearing the news. “Wow. I had not heard anything about the restaurant closing. In my mind, the restaurant is still an institution.”

Jack Tuthill said he and his dad, Bill, decided to sell to the restaurant to the Ottons as his father grew older. Bill Tuthill turns 89 in December, according to his son.

“The Ottons are very hard workers. They are good people. They were trying to make it work,” Jack Tuthill said. “I hope this is a temporary thing. I hope they give it another go.”

After the Ottons bought Jonesy’s, they remodeled the restaurant.

In June, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that it would cease operations at Napa County Airport at the end of the August.

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(27) Comments

  1. winewoman
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    winewoman - August 17, 2010 7:56 pm
    Why was JAL mentioned in this article? Is it related to Jonesys closing? If so, how?
  2. WorksInNapa
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    WorksInNapa - August 17, 2010 7:57 pm
    This is one of the first places I took my future wife when we were dating almost 35 years ago. The food is great and I really enjoyed watching the aircraft from our table. I sure hope it can stay open.
  3. sanjencliff
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    sanjencliff - August 17, 2010 8:26 pm
    When you have to pay $17 for a burger, fries, and soda at noon.....when the new owners "remodeled" a perfectly fine restaurant........how can you not understand they couldn't even keep the doors open for a year?
  4. littlered56
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    littlered56 - August 17, 2010 9:11 pm
    This was a sucessful restaurant for many many years..had it stayed like it was they could have made it...we all know how much ground chuck is and how much a small bag of fries cost,,,to hype it up to the point the locals will not come..well then close it down

    anothetr one bits the dust!!!!
  5. CaliGirl
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    CaliGirl - August 17, 2010 9:47 pm
    In this economy an establishment that is aware of peoples pocketbooks is going to fair better, than compared to those who do not.

    Jonesy's new owners didn't get that concept.....ridiculously high pricing killed the restaurant.....
  6. vlforde1976
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    vlforde1976 - August 17, 2010 9:56 pm

    Jim Ford: Jonesy’s before it was ‘famous’

    By Jim Ford Napa Valley Register | Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 12:00 am | (0) Comments

    If you have lived in Napa or Solano County for any length of time, you must have heard about Jonesy’s Famous Steak House, a mainstay tenant at the Napa County Airport. As reported in the Register, Jonesy’s recently changed hands. Longtime Jonesy’s operator Bill Tuthill sold it to Nancy and Terry Otten.

    To my knowledge, Jonesy’s is the oldest continuously run restaurant in Napa County — and deservedly so.

    Long before Napa Valley became famous for wines, Jonesy’s was one of Napa’s favorite eateries. It was also a favorite of the general aviation community. From the beginning, in 1946, pilots from around the state flew to the airport to no
  7. ROSETHEB17
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    ROSETHEB17 - August 18, 2010 6:12 am
    Who cares about JAL I hope they open again. My husband and I love that place. The food is great and my grandson loves to come there and eat and watch the planes..
  8. whoa cowboy
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    whoa cowboy - August 18, 2010 7:43 am
    All of the oldtimers who went there regularly didn't like the change of the menu or the higher prices. You can't buy a business and make such big changes without the risk of losing your regulars. They should have tried slowly implementing things.
  9. amazed
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    amazed - August 18, 2010 8:11 am
    Tiny "gourmet" portions and outrageous prices are the reasons why no one came, not the closing of the JAL facility. Bring back the old Jonesy's menu and something close to the old Jonesy's prices, and you'll see locals return in droves.
  10. curmudgeon
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    curmudgeon - August 18, 2010 8:27 am
    "...operated for nearly 53 years by..." This ignores a guy named Hugh "Jonesy" Jones who, as I remember, played a role, and is worth a mention.
  11. justsayin
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    justsayin - August 18, 2010 8:28 am
    Upon our last visit there for lunch, we were a little confused as to why they remodeled and changed up the service. It felt very stuffy but unnecessarily so. There were only 3 other tables sat for lunch. Our favorite waitress Julie seemed out of her element too and it showed. We were very upset that they took Julie's cart away from her! I always remember her using that cart to take away dishes and serving food. Some dear friends of ours have been going there and requesting Julie for a very long time and always requested her station. Julie will be missed more than the new restaurant in my opinion.
  12. Native74
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    Native74 - August 18, 2010 8:48 am
    When a $6.95 cheese burger and fries during good times goes to $10+? Who can afford that?

    The Tuthill's and Jonesy's were an institution and was sorry to hear that they sold. They had only just remodeled the restaurant 4-5 years ago, but when new people come in remodels do happen.

    Jonesy's has been a jewel in airport restaurants in that it was consistently open for 53 years when so many other similary sized airports couldn't keep a restaurant open.

    I do hope the new owners can re-open, but its tough times. Remember to keep it simple is all I can say.
  13. HORTON1998
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    HORTON1998 - August 18, 2010 9:27 am
    I'm not surprised it closed. You can not cater to the local community when you charge ala carte for everything. When my husband and I would eat there it would cost us an easy $50 before they took over including drinks which wasn't bad but salad was included in your meal. The last time we were there it cost us over $85 to eat dinner, service was really slow (3 hours to serve 7 people) and the food wasn't that great. I didn't go back. As a matter of fact everyone in our party said they woudn't go back. Very disappointing, they did have good food at one point.
  14. DowntownSupporter
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    DowntownSupporter - August 18, 2010 10:09 am
    Overpriced average/mediocre food + poor location = out of business.
  15. Waterman
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    Waterman - August 18, 2010 10:35 am
    Well gnews in this mornings Napa Register ..... Jonesy's is closing! Doesn't really surprise me as they decided to be a Yuppie Larva place and not a place for the locals that supported the restaurant for over 65 years. Kind of sad though. But they changed the menu, cut the serving size, raised the prices, and ran the locals out!
    Kind of interesting that as an Airport tenant they never had a sign on highway 29. It was a "local" place. My neighbor was a customer from 1951 and I from 1958. Not only did we loose a good steakhouse we lost the Blu Cheese Dressing that was available at Vallerga's!
    I agree about JAL! Not sure how much they contributed to the restaurant and IASCO is still there.


  16. barbspeck
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    barbspeck - August 18, 2010 10:54 am
    I am so sad! Before leaving Napa in 2006, this was my favorite place to dine on special occasions. The steaks were great! I had not eaten there since it was sold, so cannot comment on the food or prices since then. I know a lot of people will miss Jonesy's. very sad.
  17. notanapkinanymore
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    notanapkinanymore - August 18, 2010 12:41 pm
    I agree with winewoman. the first thing I thought when I read this article was why was JAL mentioned in this article?
  18. vwcamp77
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    vwcamp77 - August 18, 2010 5:10 pm
    The food was SO over priced, and not that good. The wait staff could have tried to SMILE once in a while as well. The last time I was there, no none was in the place, and the waitress was pretty put out she had to tend to us.
  19. whocares21
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    whocares21 - August 18, 2010 5:36 pm
    It happened because jacking up the prices and changing the menu was silly. The place was an institution, and messing with that was crazy. We went once after it changed hands, and said never again. It became a typical Napa overpriced restaurant. I hope the original owners decide to repurchase and open again. It's sad to see. Maybe the new owners learned a valuable lesson. If it ain't broke, why "fix" it? Sorry to see them close.
  20. kevin
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    kevin - August 19, 2010 9:00 am
    Sorry to see them go, but I am not surprised. We have been eating our Sunday brunch there for some time now and usually we were the only ones there.

    Yeah, $15 for breakfast was a little high, but it was worth it. We got in and out while all those others were still waiting in line at Black Bear...
  21. NapaPaul
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    NapaPaul - August 19, 2010 9:50 am
    Jonsey's was neat, but for me, always far too expensive. JAL closing is an example of fewer people with jobs at the airport buying lunch, Also, airport restaurants are famous for the "$110. burger." That's what pilots refer to lunch at an airport away from their home field. A private pilot's Saturday jaunt would cost $100 in fuel and $10 for lunch. With fuel costs higher and the economy in the tank, fewer pilots can afford to run around for the $110 lunches. This is an example of "trickle down economics."
    I applaud the new owners for sprucing up the decor and updating some things. It was run down. I would wager the airport (landlord) is taking their "pound of flesh" and probably killed them with high rent. When fuel shot up over $4.50 a gal for diesel a while back, restuarant food/supplies went up and guess what, never really came back down eith.
    Seems the new owners had bad luck in timing for their new venture. Neat location, food was "OK", but too expensive for what it was.
  22. lharo13
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    lharo13 - August 21, 2010 8:03 am
    having a friend who works at Iasco, where JAL flight stuff is managed, I can understand the mention. Do you see the bus bringing people down to that training center daily? JAL was the last big business in that park. They get a lot of business at Jonesy's from the airport business park. you take away hundreds of workers, who need to eat, you do the math.

    all the companies at the airport have been downsizing for two straight years now. i would bet the majority of Jonesy's traffic was the lunch crowd from the business park. If there are no lunch crowd people to come out, you won't make money.
  23. littlered56
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    littlered56 - August 21, 2010 10:30 pm
    the chef from silverado was available for employement and they should have made him an offer to run their kitchen. he had the skills to prepaere excellant and affordable lunches and very good dinners worth the price. What a waste and loss to Napa..
  24. Jane Eyrehead
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    Jane Eyrehead - August 22, 2010 12:13 pm
    Jonesy's got its share of celebrities w/ private planes, etc. One of my colleagues ran into Kurt Russell there, who was happy as can be to eat "normal food", as he called it. He said Goldie Hawn loved fancy food, but he liked steak.

    Jonesy's was "retro" without knowing it and down-to-earth and I used to eat there once in a while myself.
  25. kevin
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    kevin - August 25, 2010 2:48 pm
    Jonesy's would make a great place for music! No one around to bother. They have a liquer license. Dining room would make a great dance floor...
  26. edwest
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    edwest - August 28, 2010 11:18 pm
    This is an example of if it ain't broke don't fix it. After 25 years of going to Jonsey's for a special event, we stopped. You ruined a great steak house. Over priced, very lousy service, food that was in line with Sizzler. Jonsey's stopped existing when it was remodeled.
  27. jt9185
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    jt9185 - January 30, 2015 12:51 pm
    My family worked at Jonsey's (Hugh and Ethel Jones's original). Hugh and Ethel were cousins of ours. Mom (Irene Thomas- Hugh called her Uranium !) was a waitress for over 20 years, Gramma was the "salad lady"( Hugh called her Angelina),Pop helped Gramma with the salads, and I ( Jerry Thomas) and my brother (Don), dried silverware !
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