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One of Napa Valley’s Best Mexican Food Destinations Just Closed

Alex Soto’s Lane 33 was a local favorite for tacos, tortas, and fresh tortillas

An array of tacos in red-and-white checkered paper from Lane 33 Cafe Jess Lander
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

One of Napa’s favorite under-the-radar Mexican restaurants Lane 33, actually the cafe attached to the bowling alley Napa Bowl, closed on October 15. The outlet was known for its ridiculously good tacos, filled with al pastor pork and fried mashed potato, and its retro vibes. The chef, Alex Soto who worked off and on at Restaurant at Meadowood, told the San Francisco Chronicle a combination of issues led to the shuttering. “I was just trying to survive, to stay alive like any other small business,” Soto said.

For one, the Michelin Guide-touted torta dealer was relying on a bank loan a bit more than he says he’d have liked. Declining sales and expensive renovations were big issues, too. The Napa Valley Fire Department found Lane 33’s range hood was not compliant with modern regulations, and the owners of the building cut gas off to the kitchen to avoid further issues. Soto found himself without a place to prepare his food.

The chef-friendly dining community, and bowling enthusiasts, that Soto served at Lane 33 might be able to pick up those $3 and $4 tacos again somewhere down the road.

The entrepreneur told the Chronicle he hopes to open again soon, once finances are tighter. For now, Soto is working a seasonal harvest job at Peju Winery through mid-November.