Customers might see the name Napastäk and think it’s a perfect fit for the Napa-based epicurean boutique.
But for Lulu and Arthur Hartunian, the owners of Napastäk Napa Valley, the word “Napastäk” has special significance for the couple other than just the Napa connotation.
It means “rabbit” in Armenian, their native culture, and it’s also the second word their daughter Isabella spoke (her first was “Daddy”). Napastäk’s rabbit, in chef’s jacket and with spoon in hand, has become the stores’ icon.
Napastäk recently opened a second location, this one next to Archer Hotel, at First Street and Randolph.
A grand opening is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. Napastak’s own Bella Blanc wine and Reserve Syrah will be offered to all, along with small, Armenian- influenced hors d’oeuvres.
Napa residents are invited to join.
In fact, Napans have a special calling card at Napastäk all the time.
“We’re locals, and locals will always be our top priority,” said Lulu Hartunian, who opened both shops with the help and support of her husband and business partner, Arthur.
“If you are local, please let us know so that we can get to know you and give you a local’s discount.”
Lulu and her husband opened the first Napastäk in the Oxbow Public Market almost five years ago.
For several years before that, the Hartunians dreamed of a shop that could add the ‘Wow,” to the dinner table. Based on the business at the store and its appeal to locals, they’ve succeeded.
When they opened at the Oxbow, the store was about 10 percent branded Napa and local products, with the balance coming from Spain, Italy and France. That formula has flipped in the other direction, and Lulu offers a larger selection of branded Napa and local products at the new location.
With the new store, Lulu has created more than just a second location. “Our new location is unique from our spot in the Oxbow Market. It’s allowed us to bring back some of our original labels and broaden our offerings,” she said.
For example, wines from Napastäk Cellars, produced at Laird Family Estates, by Napastäk’s own winemaker are available for taste and sale.
Those include the Bella Blanc they will serve at the grand opening, named after their daughter, Isabella, as well as their Reserve Cab Franc and Syrah. A Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bordeaux style red blend are coming soon.
They also offer a late-harvest Cabernet Sauvignon called “Heros,” which is aged in bourbon barrels at the family’s other business Napa Valley Distillery, and is named after Lulu’s late father.
The new Napastäk features Napa-made jams, wine jellies, local mustards and vinegars, which are a hit with locals. “We’ve carried vinegars from the beginning, and offer 25 styles and flavors, including white truffle vinegar.”
All of these items have proven popular with home chefs and as hostess gifts. Napastäk also carries branded placemats, wooden spoons, aprons – all perfect complements to your kitchen.
The Hartunians are all about a full, relaxed lifestyle, and one feature of the store that has been well received is the coffee bar. Guests can slow down with a coffee drink as they shop, or just grab a cup to go. This is their own blend.
“We feature ‘Epicurean Blend’ and ‘Chefspresso,’ available by the cup or pound.” Is tea your preferred drink? Try their Armenian Jewel, made with pomegranate.
Enjoy a hot cup; buy it by the ounce, or as part of a five-tea gift box. Whichever you choose, enjoy a fresh-baked Bouchon bakery products with your cup or to take home. Look for ‘grab and go’ foods soon: sandwiches, salads, and several Armenian favorites, including Perashki, a stuffed potato, and Lamanjoon, a pizza served on pita bread.
The word “Napastäk” has special significance for the couple more than just the Napa connotation. It means “rabbit” in Armenian, their native culture, and it’s also the second word their daughter Isabella spoke (her first was “Daddy”). Napastäk’s rabbit, in chef’s jacket and with spoon in hand, has become the stores’ icon.
In addition to the Hartunians both being extremely creative, they are very supportive of the other’s ideas, and fiercely loyal to each other.
They met when Arthur saw Lulu at a birthday party and asked her to coffee. Both come from strong, traditional Armenian families and Lulu set him straight right away.
“You know if you want to take me out that you have to come to the house and meet my parents first.”
Less than a year later, they married in a traditional Armenian ceremony attended by 500 people (“Armenians are big partiers,” Lulu explained). The family now includes Alexander, age 19; Isabella, 16; and Christian, 13.
Arthur is just as supportive of his wife as she is of him. “She is very intuitive and creative. I’m the one who hates to read the words ‘some assembly required.’ Lulu takes over, throws away the instructions, and just intuitively puts it all together. She’s that way in the kitchen and in business as well.”
The main ingredient Lulu brings to Napastäk is her own personality. She is warm, approachable, and loves to be of help. Napastäk enjoys a strong following of people who come in for advice and inspiration as much as for specific products. She encourages one and all to create and have fun.
Napastäk’s new location is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 1240 First St. 707-927-3303 or napastak.com.