Napa’s changing landscape extends from the vineyards and the hotly debated Measure C to its landmark restaurants. Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, the spinoff of James Beard Award-winning chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s iconic 35-year-old Mustards Grill, will close its doors in St. Helena on July 7.
Its equally iconic neighbor, Terra, closed last month as a result of staffing struggles for owners Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani. According to Pawlycn, Cindy’s will close because she has sold the building to an anonymous — for now — buyer after receiving an “offer she couldn’t refuse” about a month ago. In a release, Pawlcyn said the new owner is “a respected friend and local entrepreneur with a sound business offer.” The liquor license was apparently part of that sale, spurring speculation that the building’s new owner could plan to open another restaurant in the space; Eater has reached out for more information.
Because of ongoing negotiations, Pawlcyn informed staff Monday ahead of the announcement today. Given the need for staff in the area’s restaurants — the very reason that Terra was forced to shutter — the restaurant’s 40 employees will likely find employers quickly; most will move down the road to Mustards Grill.
Pawlcyn opened Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in 2002 on Railroad Avenue, a charming, black-and-white tiled restaurant serving what is now known as classic wine country cuisine (and including her now-famous rabbit tostadas). The end of the 15-year-old restaurant won’t be the end of Pawlcyn’s career, however: She plans to open a Mustards Grill at San Francisco International Airport, and will continue to operate the original Mustards on Highway 29.