Station, the new upscale convenience store at the corner of Main and Spring streets in St. Helena, continues its soft opening this weekend from Friday through Sunday.
For the past three weekends, restaurateur Joel Gott’s latest venture has been offering coffee and a variety of food items – sandwiches, quiches, egg tacos, etc. – prepared in the former Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen on Oak Avenue and sold at the storefront in front of the Napa Valley Petroleum pumps.
“Everything’s grab-and-go, but we wanted some healthier food options in town,” said General Manager Emelie Poisson. “Local, healthy and convenient.”
Staffing challenges have prevented Station from opening seven days a week, but Poisson hopes to fill some open positions soon.
Two new baristas are already in the hiring process, and Poisson is still looking for more baristas who can also step in to take people’s orders and hand out food.
“Weekends have been fairly easy to staff because all of the high-schoolers want to work here, but that obviously doesn’t help us during the week,” Poisson said. “Kitchen staff has been much harder, in particular bakers. Nobody wants to work those early-morning hours anymore.”
The coffee beans are from Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, but Poisson tries to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible, including nuts, whole grains, produce, milk and butter.
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Poisson is a St. Helena native who worked at Model Bakery for almost 10 years during and after high school before pursuing another career in Denver. Shortly after she moved back, she got a call from Gott offering her the job.
“When I got it, I was just going to put a simple little food kiosk in there,” Gott said. “But then I painted it and I realized the building needed a lot more work. So we completely gutted it. Now it’s a perfect little gem.”
“I’m not trying to compete with Model (Bakery) — that’s so iconic,” Gott said. “We just have little snacks and things and a few baked goods.”
Behind the building will be a 120-foot-long public bench where people can eat their lunch.
“You can get a burrito at Villa Corona or a sandwich at Giugni’s, and then you go over the bench and it’s sort of like town central,” Gott said. “It becomes a little meeting spot. ... I’m hoping it adds to the liveliness of downtown.”
Gott also plans to open a restaurant in the former Cindy’s space in 2020.
This weekend Station will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday and Thursday through Sunday the following weekend.