Californians can now get a taste of Michelin-recognized New York restaurant Gran Electrica without leaving the sunshine behind. That’s thanks to a new downtown Napa spinoff of the four-time Bib Gourmand recipient, which softly opens today. And as at its six-year-old East Coast sibling, owners Elise Rosenberg, Emelie Khilstrom, and Tamer Hamawi hope to foster a festive, welcoming atmosphere at Gran Electrica West, where chef Ignacio Beltran (Ad Hoc, the Restaurant at Meadowood) will serve Mexican food made with local ingredients.
Rosenberg and Hamawi designed the space at 1313 Main Street (formerly the restaurant 1313 Main), opening up its front windows with a bi-fold window system for an indoor-outdoor ambiance. They extended the central bar from eight to 20 seats and added six skylights, brightening up the space for brunch and lunch, which are ahead. There’s a second back bar, plus a back room with capacity for private events that seats 20, and two more front rooms that can be cordoned off for private bookings as well.
“We love that the space has lots of different pockets that lend themselves really well to events,” says Hamawi, citing the region’s popularity as a place for celebrations.
The real kicker is out back: A 50-person patio with heat lamps on hand for cooler evenings and a mural by Bay Area based artist DJ AGANA.
Another notable design flourish inside the restaurant — and a common element of the NYC and Napa restaurants — is toile wallpaper from Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper. Gran Electrica originally commissioned designer Dan Funderburgh to recreate Brooklyn landmarks in the Day of the Dead style perfected by the Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada.
“It was such a great design decision [in New York],” Hamawi says. So, they’ve done it again in Napa, but this time with vignettes of Napa Valley landmarks like the Napa Riverfront, the iconic “Welcome to Napa” sign, a skeleton bride and groom in front of the Castello di Amorosa, and even a skeleton bachelorette party.
“We wanted to maintain continuity between Brooklyn and Napa,” Rosenberg says, citing such elements. But another similarity she hopes the two business will share is less tangible: A strong relationship with neighbors and regulars.
“DUMBO has a small town vibe, but it gets inundated by tourists, and we love being the local DUMBO place,” says Rosenberg. “Our favorite people are regulars. We really want to do the same thing in Napa.” One new Napa local likely to be a regular at the restaurant is Hamawi himself. He recently settled in the area with his wife Blair, a native of the Napa Valley.