Yountville will soon have three pizzerias, the most of any upper Napa Valley city
In the beginning there was only Mama Ninas. It was the perfect place being the first to do a great Italian style pizza in the Napa Valley, the best calamari and a bottle of Alexander Valley Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon for $8. Throw in Howard Lane, an infamous Napa Valley maitre de and fixture, and this was easily the hottest spot in the Napa Valley.
To top this all off, Mama Ninas was know for its after hours, closed door parties. I have to confess, I have probably seen one too many sun rises during these times but we were all younger then. I was flying hot air balloons back then and going home just to shower, change into my flight gear and go chasing a 60 foot tall balloon through the grape vines, possibly heaven though a bit on the blurry side.
Enough of an introduction and on to the topic of this tale, getting a slice here in Yountville. The events went something like this. In the beginning there was only one, Mama Ninas, then two, then three. The second was Yountville Bar and Grill, locally know as Y BAG, then came Piattis, another of the Yountville great restaurants, bar and hang out. But all good things seem to end with only one ending in a good result for pizza’s survival here in Yountville.
The only good out of this, Mama Ninas became Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi’s (FJ&L), another local’s favorite spot with great pizza and a killer sausage, sause and peppers sandwich with the bread made from pizza dough. Piattis sat vacant for awhile to become Redds and the good old Y BAG becoming Bistro Jeanty. FJ&L eventually sold the property to a development group who leased the space to Laura Cunningham of Thomas Keller and the French Laundry fame, only to be torn down and then Laura walking away due to economic issues. I heard she was going to use the French Laundry people to staff her kitchen but there was some kind of falling out and in the end, the space is a vacant lot.
I have shopped, lived here and/or had businesses here in Yountville since 1972. One would think such a staple of the American diet being pizza, you would not go through any period without one good pizza joint. But this not the case here for here for about last five years. Now, soon there will be three. Richard Reddington opened his new Redd Wood (the former short lived Cantinetta Piero), they sale pizza out of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and opening in a few weeks will be Cicccio from Frank Altamura, formerly Gordon’s Cafe.
Here is a little about each:
He is probably the top Bay Area food critic writing for the San Francisco Chronicle.
tomato oregano, garlic & chili (no cheese). 10
fresh mozzarella, tomato & basil. 14
anchovy, tomato, garlic, olive, pecorino, capers & chilies. 13
asparagus, prosciutto cotto, taleggio, red onion, farm egg. 17
prosciutto, arugula, parmesan, black pepper. 14
clams, pork jowl, potato, garlic, oregano, montasio. 15
sausage, rapini, chili, pickled peppers, tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella. 16
lardo, mushroom, spinach, fontina. 14
four cheese pizza, shaved garlic, arugula. 16
Bouchon Bakery 707.944.2253; One can pick up pizza from the bakery window on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. The pies will be a standard 18 inches in diameter and cost $25, plus tax, to customers who pre-order by 6 p.m. that day by calling the Bakery at 707.944.2253. “Only 30 pies will be made, with limited quantities of each flavor, so serious pizza fanatics can order as early as Wednesday morning of the week prior,” from chef Matt McDonald.
Ciccio 707.945.1000; From Table to Grave article on Ciccio, “The heart of that kitchen will be Polly Lappetito, formerly the executive chef at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant at Greystone in St. Helena. Whenever possible, ingredients will come from the Altamura family ranch — everything from tomatoes for the sauce to pigs for pork dishes to the wild yeast for the pizza dough. Her menu will consist of four or five pizzas from the wood-burning oven (in the $10-$16 range), a rotating selection of small plates and usually a pasta dish.”
Finally, Yountville is place to get a slice again. Given all the hoopla about the gastronomic’s here, one would think we would have never been without one, but there were a few days when you would have to drive to Napa or St Helena to fill this craving. I have tried only Redd Wood so far so I don’t have a favorite but will get around to buying a pie from the Bakery and definitely will from Ciccio’s as soon as they open. You will have to tune back in to find out my favorite. Till then, all I can say Bon Appetit!
Thank you for reading this post. If I can ever be of help in finding you the perfect property here in the Napa Valley, please email me at Curtis@NapaValleyAddress.com
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire, selling Real Estate here from its heart, Yountville
My website & blog: www.NapaValleyAddress.com