The future Napkins Bar and Grill received nothing but favor from the Napa Planning Commission, which unanimously gave it the go-ahead to stay open late and move forward with its plan to renovate the former Peking Palace space downtown and add outdoor dining.
Thursday, the three commissioners who participated in the hearing on the planned restaurant said they are excited that the vacant space at Second and Main streets will again be occupied. They praised the high-end design of what will be a casual dining and cocktail spot and mark the first of what they hope to be more outdoor dining options on the block across from Veterans Memorial Park.
“They’re obviously putting a lot of money into this building, which means that they have a lot of faith in not only themselves as restaurateurs, but also the continued vibrancy of the downtown area,” Commissioner Tom Trzesniewski said. “This is very exciting to have something like this being done in downtown.”
Yusuf Topal and Ali Yildirim, owners of Tarla Mediterranean Grill across from City Hall in the Andaz building, plan to open the new restaurant in the Alexandria building facing Veterans Memorial Park. It will offer “American cuisine with global influences” and may stay open as late as 2 a.m., according to a city staff report.
“Our goal is to create a casual atmosphere with contemporary design, a restaurant with quality food and beverage and exemplary service,” the owners wrote to the city. “We will serve our friends and neighbors who live in Napa and provide a welcome destination for tourists.”
The name Napkins came out of a public request for suggestions and is intended as a term of endearment, according to the owners.
“It refers to people who live and breathe the Napa life every day,” they wrote. “It expresses the love and appreciation for the beautiful valley and the pride of being able to share this place with all the travelers who happen upon it.”
The restaurant will host a full bar, and the menu will offer seasonal dishes with fresh ingredients prepared by chef Michael B. Powell.
The exterior of the building will be redone with two types of tile, and aluminum-framed glass railing will be mounted to the sidewalk to provide an outdoor dining space. According to the city, there will still be ample space in the public right of way for people to move about.
Associate Planner Michael Allen said the city is exploring the idea of removing some parking on Main Street outside the businesses across from Veterans Memorial Park so the sidewalk can be extended and a promenade created. This would encourage more outdoor dining at the adjacent restaurants.
“It’s a very classy design and well thought through,” said Commissioner Arthur Roosa. “I’m very supportive of the project.”
Commission Chairman Michael Murray said he is not too fond of the future restaurant’s name, but is supportive of every other aspect.
“It’s just exciting to see this kind of stuff happening in my hometown,” he said.