In September 2010, Noble House Hotels and Resorts purchased and its restaurant, .
The company refers to the new Cuvee as “Napa’s Living Room,” inspired and designed by Chef Jordan Mackey and General Manager Morgan Craft, both past employees of Noble House.
“We want people to feel like they’re arriving at their friend’s house for dinner,” said Chef Mackey. “We’re all about warmth and engagement.”
“We throw a dinner party seven nights a week,” Craft added.
The restaurant is comprised of an inviting lounge with a fully-stocked bar, an inside dining room and an outside patio with plush cushions and a fire pit. There’s also a charming private dining room.
The menu features “country-inspired creations with a nostalgic edge.” A dinner menu, lounge menu and sugar menu cater to all palates and whims. The “sugar and savory” happy hour specials are well worth checking out after 9:30 pm.
I recently joined Chef Mackey on the patio and got a taste of great Napa Valley hospitality.
Julie: What attracted Noble House to River Terrace Inn and Cuvée?
Jordan: It was a smaller project than the company is used to, but it’s the only freestanding restaurant the company has. And a Napa Valley destination is important to the company.
Julie: When did you get involved?
Jordan: From the beginning, intimately and every step of the way.
Julie: Everything has come together beautifully.
Jordan: When you want customers to emotionally react to the brand, everything needs to synergize. Music and design needs to match the food and the personalities, the service.
Julie: Has it been intimidating to come into the Napa market with the current influx of restaurants?
Jordan: Fairly intimidating but also achievable. We didn’t want to piggyback on anyone else’s concept. Even though competition is high, the field is small. You’re only racing with six others. Granted, the six others are very good restaurants.
Julie: How has local response been?
Jordan: It was on our agenda from day one to be a local’s place. We didn’t want to open up a sports bar, or a casual place. One of the first things we did was expand the beer segment from five labels to 42. Of course, we have an amazing wine list.
Julie: You also have quite a cocktail menu.
Jordan: We utilize local ingredients when we can, like Charbay and Meyer lemons when they’re in season. We want to instill the spirit of Napa Valley into the drinks.
Julie: How did the term “high country cuisine” come about?
Jordan: We came in with a personality, but we have the flexibility to utilize inspiration from Low Country hospitality, but not necessarily its flavor. We’re country, but we’re not biscuits and cornbread.
Julie: And you use local ingredients and wine, of course.
Jordan: We want the fact that we’re using local food to be expected.
Julie: It feels really laid-back here.
Jordan: We put jeans on our servers.
Julie: What do you tell a new server?
Jordan: "Don’t be nervous. Customers aren’t here to grill us."
Julie: It’s an inviting experience.
Jordan: Entertaining- that’s the soul behind what this business is about.
Julie: What do you hope a diner will think at the end of the meal?
Jordan: "Oh, the check. I forgot we were out to dinner."