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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

Macbella, a women’s boutique that opened earlier this year as part of First Street Napa, just moved to a new location inside the center, and is now behind Napastak, across from Makers Market.

“It’s a much more visible location,” said Jo Van Meensel, who co-owns the business with her husband Jim.

Macbella is worth a visit, as they offer something not previously seen in Napa.

“We’re bringing exclusive European fashion to the United States, merchandise that’s not available anywhere else in the country,” said husband Jim.

Macbella features designers from Paris, London, Milan, Berlin, Antwerp, Madrid and Athens.

“If you want something unique, this is where you should be,” said Jo. Macbella now carries Sisters, clothing created by an Irish designer currently in high demand in Europe.

With the move to the new location, Macbella offers jewelry from an Italian designer, which sold quickly.

“We’ve only been in this spot a week and already had to re-order,” said Jo. The store is open and bright, and inventory has doubled. Stop by and say hello. Open daily till 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Nailed it…

Napa Noodles, located on First Street facing Dwight Murray Plaza, has been open two years now. Owner/Manager Allison Hallum said business is good these days, and getting better all the time. She also admits that it didn’t start out that way.

“When we first opened, we weren’t well received,” said Hallum.

“We opened as fast-casual, and that wasn’t the dining experience people were looking for. We want Napa Noodles to be for locals, and frankly, we and got away from that.”

The fix was something that comes naturally to Hallum. “We listened to what our locals want, and now we are on track.”

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Hallum observed that, in the age of rock star chefs, some restaurant owners look to the chef to set the direction for a business. That doesn’t always work.

“Restaurants are most successful when they are run from the consumer’s point of view.”

She also said that initially, her family wanted to separate Napa Noodles from Eiko’s, thinking that would suggest a unique offering. That, too, has been reconsidered.

“People love Eiko’s, both our location on First Street and in the Oxbow Public Market. We realize we are better off defining ourselves as an extension of those two experiences.”

That seems to be working, as many customers now frequent all three locations.

The menu at Napa Noodles has expanded, and now includes a full poke bar.

“It’s the same quality fish you can count on at Eiko’s,” said Hallum.

Napa Noodles has something for everyone.

“We can accommodate every diet restriction you can think of.”

Their daily 3 to 6 p.m. Happy Hour doesn’t cut corners either. “Eighty percent of our menu is available then.”

Napa Noodles is open for lunch and dinner every day.

See you downtown!

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Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association and the author of “Lies That Bind – How Do You Arrest Someone Who Doesn’t Exist?” which recently won a Bay Area Publisher’s Association Fiction Award. craig@donapa.com or 257-0322.

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