Waiting for a colleague before entering the Napa Valley’s BRIX restaurant for a renovation celebration, I chatted with an elegant woman who recalled when one of the restaurant’s side rooms was a gourmet shop featuring pottery and other fancy finds. When I arrived in Napa Valley about 15 years ago, BRIX was still a known place to grab a great Napa Valley meal, but the pottery (plus) had been replaced with a wine shop; one where your purchases would follow you directly into the dining room to enjoy with your meal.

As the years went on, BRIX became known as THE Napa Valley brunch spot. Without reservations, there was nary a chance of sitting on the sunny, breezy exposed patio overlooking the Kelleher Family’s extensive gardens, vineyards, and stunning hillside views with delicious brunch options.

Last week, the restaurant, which had been closed for three months for a down-to-the-studs renovation by Napa’s Shopworks Design Studio, showed off its most rewarding change: restaurant guests had even more expansive views of the restaurant’s green trifecta: gardens-vineyards-hillsides. The lines between indoor and outdoor dining are further blurred, making the space feel fresh-air expansive.

Not that there aren’t the perfect spots for catching up with friends and colleagues. At the center of the restaurant is a conversation-starter bar, complete with phone charging stations for guests’ cell phones and laptops. The stone walls and fireplace of yore remain, with the added comfort of circular booths to fuel particularly gossip-y conversation. While the space feels fresh and breezy for the spring and summer months, you can imagine the golden glow of the fireplace enhancing the rich warmth of the place come winter’s chill.

The menu has been refreshed, and passed appetizers at the celebration showed the range and gifts of Executive Chef Cary Delbridge. Top of mind is a pairing of Kelleher’s crisp and complex Chardonnay with perfectly seared scallops. Chef has added fun and exotic ingredients like koji in new standards such as his Cajun Red Beans with farro verde and smoked tofu and Liberty Farms Duck Breast with sweet potatoes, turnips, savoy cabbage, pearl onions and huckleberry hoisin sauce.

And the restaurant lists these other new additions:

  • Punch bowls served in the garden and paired with savory éclairs
  • Intriguing wine flights, including a flight of wines made by renowned winemaker Philippe Melka
  • Craft cocktails made with herbs and flowers fresh from the BRIX garden
  • The “Barking Lot,” where guests can bring their dogs to relax in a shady grove

BRIX continues to play a part in my Napa Valley journey, no matter the years from my first meal at the restaurant, and I’ve no doubt it will become a part of yours, if it is not already.

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Catherine Bugue, the St. Helena Star’s tasting panel writer, loves writing about — and drinking — wine. She is also the co-founder of the Napa Valley Wine Academy in Napa. You can contact Catherine at catbugue@gmail.com.