Acclaimed chef Matthew Lightner, who's moved to the Bay Area from Portland via a Michelin-two-star stint in New York, will be debuting his latest venture Ninebark next Tuesday, October 13, in downtown Napa. Lightner is joining the crew of AvroKo, the design and hospitality firm that opened The Thomas two years ago in the former Fagiani's space, and the new restaurant, Ninebark, is a rebranding of that same three-story space with a whole new menu. As Inside Scoop reports, the restaurant marks a departure for Lightner from the territory of "exquisitely conceived jewelbox food," into a more casual atmosphere with accessible fare.
Says Lightner, the menu at Ninebark consists of "really good, approachable food that takes some of my ideas and puts them front and center."
To that end, there are some sophisticated salads like one with Buddha’s hand, persimmons, peppers, "seasonal selections of fresh fruit and produce," local feta cheese, citrus, and olive oil; a smoked foie gras skewer with fermented truffle; and some larger plates like a roasted pork neck with country gravy, and an aged ribeye with cornbread pudding. See more of the opening menu here.
Like The Thomas, the three-story space will be divided into three separate areas, with a cocktail bar on the ground floor in the historic Fagiani's space, the restaurant dining room and open kitchen on the second floor, and an open-air bar with lounge seating on the third floor, overlooking the Napa River (pictured above). And, yes, this is the same space that was the site of a famed 1974 murder that shocked the community and left the bar shuttered for four decades.
Lightner was a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2010 after earning raves at Castagna in Portland, and he went on to open Atera in New York and earn two Michelin stars, ultimately leaving there in March. As SFist gathered several months ago, Ninebark may be the first of two restaurants from Lightner and AvroKO, with the second also being in the Napa area.
Ninebark is now taking reservations, and will be open Tuesday to Sunday 6 to 10 p.m. for dinner, with the bar open until midnight and later on weekends.
Ninebark - 813 Main Street, Napa - 707-226-7821