Because Sometimes it's Time for a Pick Me Up

It's hard to say what makes a great cafe--is it comfortable seating? Friendly service? Exquisitely brewed coffee? All of these things certainly help, and they're not so hard to find among the vineyards in California wine country. Pretty much anything that passes your lips in Napa Valley is carefully considered, and the coffee is no exception. It may not be locally grown or seasonal, but you can bet that it's fair trade, meticulously sourced or lovingly roasted, with water that's just the right temperature. In terms of atmosphere, the valley's cafes run the gamut from cozy, like at the Model Bakery, to bustling, like Ritual Coffee Roasters, to more restaurant-like at Boon Fly. The newcomers Molinari Caffe in Napa and Sogni di Dolci in St. Helena are the cool cats of the bunch, while the Yountville Coffee Caboose is a quirky, beloved local spot. They all have their niche--whether its a Ferrari-like espresso machine, pour over cones, or the more classic French press. Nearly all of these cafes offer sweet treats baked by pastry wizards in the area, and many of them have more substantial fare like sandwiches and salads. They are all good choices if you're looking for a breakfast at the start of your day, a place to stop in for a caffeine fix or cozy up during the afternoon, or a light bite when your energy starts to wane. 

The Napa standards for carefully sourced ingredients are in full effect at the Oakville Grocery. Open since 1881, they have refined the art of picnicking for over a century. Their shelves are filled with excellent products that skew toward the...  Read More


It's not uncommon for people's eyes to go wide when they walk into Bouchon Bakery. It's a little cozier and sunnier than Parisian bakeries, but still transportive. Behind glass cases are rows of tarts where bright fruits sit like jewels, and...  Read More

The Boon Fly Cafe at the Carneros Inn is toward the southern end of Napa Valley, and one of the best places to start your Napa day if you're driving up from San Francisco. From the outside, the cafe looks like a faintly glowing barn, red and...  Read More

St. Helena

Velo Vino opened in 2011 with the intention of combining great cycling with great wines. Started by Gary and Kit, the founders of Clif Bar, they offer a full experience that combines two of their passions. They will create custom bike tours...  Read More

Alexis Baking Company

ABC, as locals know it, is a friendly, streetside cafe and bakery in downtown Napa where chef and namesake Alexis Handelman regularly wows patrons with baked goods and hearty breakfasts. Of course, the true menu stars are sweets, and few could...  Read More

Sogni di Dolci

This small, European-feeling spot near the southern end of St. Helena's main drag kind of seems like a secret when you slip through its glass door. In a town that's often crowded with tourists, Sogni di Dolci is unassuming and sometimes,...  Read More

Ritual Coffee Roasters

San Francisco-based Ritual Coffee Roasters notes that they source their coffee from farms where the farmers care for their coffee trees as they would their children. The company is careful to get to know the soil and the pruning. And that is...  Read More

Molinari Caffe
Photo courtesy of Nicole Marino

The brand new Molinari Caffe (it opened in March 2012) in downtown Napa calls itself "a place to start and end your day." Indeed it is. Sleek and stylish, this European-style cafe has boasts some strong brews. Along with the usual lattes and...  Read More

Model Bakery

With two locations, one on the main drag in St. Helena and one in the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, there are no excuses not to stop by the Model Bakery for breakfast (or an afternoon snack). Their English muffins are extraordinary--even...  Read More


Meet Brooke Lewy

Brooke moved to California for the food. After spending the last two years getting her masters in international affairs, she realized that there’s nothing she loves better than bringing people...  More About Brooke