Like many in the restaurant industry, Chuck Meyer started out washing dishes.
It was at the Chart House in Westwood, while he was in college at UCLA. From there, he worked up to serving and bartending.
“I tried so many ‘real jobs’ after college, but never found anything that challenged me daily in the same way,” said Meyer.
“When I finally threw in the towel and jumped into restaurant management, I was named the GM in less than two months,” at Luna Park in Los Angeles.
“I never looked back after that… and that was about 20 years ago,” said Meyer.
Today, Meyer is the owner of Napa Palisades Beer Company and Saloon. He’s also working to develop the Gelow/Borreson parcel at Third Street and Soscol Aveue into a brewery and tasting room and a deli at First and Franklin in the old Napa Valley Tourist Information Center.
1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden, professional skier Shane McConkey, actor Jack Nicholson.
2. What job would you like to try/not try?
Not try: EMT.
3. What was your first job?
Landscape maintenance, Chinquapin resort, Lake Tahoe.
4. What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Staffing shortages because of the lack of affordable housing in Napa/Bay Area. When local restaurant owners and executive management cannot afford median housing in the area where we all live, how can dishwashers, cooks and service staff?
A lot of great restaurants have closed in Napa County in the last few years, and the staffing problem is always one of the first reasons cited.
The staffing problem exists because it is so expensive for hospitality workers to live here.
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Napa also has an unusually low number of small apartment dwellings so if you want to live alone without a roommate it is extremely expensive as a young single person.
I am excited about proposed workforce housing and more affordable high-density living projects that are in the works.
I don’t envy our city leadership because they face pressure from all sides, but I believe they are trying to find equitable solutions. I understand the concerns of longtime residents who are afraid that these changes will take away from what makes Napa such a special place to live. I don’t disagree.
However, we have to balance those concerns with a smart, well thought out plan to make living here easier for those who also make Napa a special place to eat and drink artisan products from family and local-owned businesses.
Hopefully we will be able to find a great balance.
5. Who do you most admire in the business world?
Danny Meyer, famous restaurateur from New York.
6. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
Being a great dad! I’m a relatively new father; I have a two-and-half year-old.
7. If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
Equal pay for equal effort in the front of house and back of house.
8. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’ve had less than five cups of coffee in my life. I just don’t like coffee. I guess caffeine has always made me a little jittery. I’m pretty high energy as it is.
9. What was your childhood ambition?
To play second base for the San Francisco Giants.
10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Las Leñas (ski resort in Argentina).