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What Should Replace Ubuntu Restaurant in Downtown Napa?

Napa's first vegetarian restaurant won instant acclaim and Michelin status — then closed. Now the property is up for sale. What would you like to see there next? Share your visions for this vacancy.

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, from its winter break: The restaurant property on Main Street in downtown Napa is up for sale.

We asked Napa Patch readers here and on Facebook what they'd like to see replacing Napa's first and only vegetarian restaurant. Here's what we heard back:

Let's think family restaurants, Chili's, Olive Garden, Fresh Choice only to name a few. We have enough high end restaurants. I also think some of our tourists would seek this type of restaurant. (Lorie Marella Moody)

A would be great. Best chicken sandwiches and only place I know where we can get awesome waffle fries. Need more restaurants for the blue collar people and not for the uber rich residents and tourists. (Art Morris)

What do you think? Let us know in the comments, keeping in mind that I ask commenters to use names, rather than pseudonyms, when taking part in our community dialogue.

If you'd rather remain anonymous, you're welcome to email your comment to me at napa@patch.com.

We want to know what Napa thinks!

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Paul Joseph August 23, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Ubuntu PC sellers Computers with Ubuntu (Linux) Operating Systems (OS) should be sold there. Ubuntu OS is on of the most popular OSs in the world.
Neven August 23, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Paul, that's hilarious! But I'm with Lorie ... PF Chang's is a moderately-priced, casual restaurant with healthy meal choices. It's also known for preparing a variety of gluten-free dishes so that those of us having family members with celiac disease can enjoy a rare meal out.
Karen Garcia August 23, 2012 at 02:24 PM
We have chain restaurants all over Napa. Go to any strip mall and you'll find them. We don't need another one downtown. How about a privately-owned, unique restaurant that's also mid-range in price? And by the way, there already are many affordable eateries in downtown. Restaurants don't have to be corporate-owned to be affordable.
Ash Leigh August 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Very true Karen - I love, Small World downtown. They are VERY affordable and not corporate-owned.
F Otterbeck August 23, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Ugh!!! Why do people suggest these chains which take our money out of town? Our downtown is unique because it isn't a mess of chain stores and franchises. Our town is worth exploring because it isn't the same old glorified franchises. Ubunto got international recognition because it was different. I agree with Karen. That space would be great for a mid-range priced restaurant. I would like to see a place that encourages people to meet there, have family gatherings and becomes a part of the local community, rather than focus on tourism.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Feel free to show your support of our local restaurants by leaving positive reviews on their Napa Patch business listings! Small World's is http://napa.patch.com/listings/small-world-restaurant and he hasn't gotten any ratings yet, so let's show Mike some love today.
Ash Leigh August 23, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Living in Detroit for 13 years, I have frequented their sister-city, Dearborn a lot. Dearborn is the most populated middle-eastern area in the U.S. Upon my first bite of an Arabic and Lebanese recipe, I fell in love. Chicken Shawarmas, Moroccan lamb, falafel balls, leek soup, hommus, various pickled olives, authentic baklava (sorry folks, I’ve had the ones here in Napa and they were horrible). I don't think downtown has a middle-eastern restaurant. If so, please let me know. If not, that's what I'd like to see and I would frequent.
Karen Garcia August 23, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Tarla and Small World both feature mid-eastern dishes.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 04:05 PM
As does Roccabella Bistro - we sure have choices! Small World for falafel, Tarla for imam bayildi, Roccabella for souvlaki ... great, now I'm hungry.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Louise, you can read more at http://napa.patch.com/articles/rocabella-bistro-lounge-opens-at-former-zinsvalley-in-downtown-napa and http://napa.patch.com/articles/tarla - all three restaurants also have business listings in our directory.
Ash Leigh August 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I will have to try Tarla - thanks!
Ash Leigh August 23, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Thank you!
Bill Canton August 23, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Please, by all means Karen, front the money to open up your own privately-owned, unique restaurant with mid-range prices in the space. I hope that you a) have the hundreds of thousands it will take to start up and b)can spend enough time and money marketing to the fickle Napa crowds to turn enough tables to stay in business. The "evil" chain eateries are popular and successful because diners can trust what they are getting no matter where they are. Any business that can open in the space, whether "local" or chain would be good for downtown.
Paul Woodward, MD August 23, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Why Umbutu restaurant fail despite a Michelin rating? The arrogant and jerky manager was probably responsible. My experience which may have been typical: After a pleasant dinner during which I ordered a bottle of wine, the manager insisted that instead of $48 listed on the menu I should pay $148. He argued with me for 10 minutes in front of my wife and obviously this spoiled our dinner. What are the chances that I would recommend them to my friends? Zero! I told everyone that I know not to eat there. Apparently I have a lot of friends because they are out of business. Ironically the food was excellent although expensive. I feel sorry for the staff who's lives were displaced.
Alex Shantz August 23, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Absolutely no corporate chains! We should have more self-respect as Napans then to allow another profiting draining corporate chain into our Downtown! Starbucks will damage our local economy and culture as it is.
Mark Mathews August 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Oh, "workers of the world unite" eh? Why no tolerance for diverse out of town businesses?
Karen Garcia August 24, 2012 at 04:59 AM
We already have plenty of diverse out of town businesses in Napa, Mark. We do tolerate them. They are not hurting. If they don't make a profit, they close up and move on to another town. But when a local business closes, it's one of our neighbors. Don't you see the difference?
Harold Anderson August 27, 2012 at 07:37 AM
They only take YOUR money if you eat there, which you are free not to do. Why do you think your food choices should be imposed on other people? It's not like you ate at Ubuntu enough to keep it open.....
Ash Leigh August 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Local? PF Chang's is owned and operated by Centerbridge Partners and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. The chain was founded in 1993 by Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang. The first restaurant was opened at the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona.
F Otterbeck August 27, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I agree.
F Otterbeck August 27, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I certainly agree with your comment on the negative impact on culture. One thing I warn my friends about when I am traveling, is that I do not want to go to a series of chains. When I go new places, I want to sample what is best about their area. I want to see personality, not a mall. There is plenty of diversity without sending your money out of the community.
F Otterbeck August 27, 2012 at 04:05 PM
ok., the real truth is I hate PF Chang's food and I don't understand why anyone would want it.
Ash Leigh August 27, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I haven't had it here in California, but I have in Michigan and it's home state, Arizona. I don't like it either. Tasteless, oily. I also don't understand all the hype on it. Maybe because I was born and raised over-seas and I know authentic asian cuisine. PF Changs is too, "Americanized."
Ash Leigh August 27, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Don't hold your breath too long. PF Chang is owned by Centerbridge Partners - not Paul Fleming anymore, hun. How is is local, when everything originated and headquarters are in Arizona? Do you personally know this man, and where he lives? How local is local; Bay Area, California, West Coast?
Mark Mathews August 28, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Went to a PF Chang in Boston last March - GREAT PLACE! Bring It, and let We the Patrons decide! (Oh and Lori, "roflol" received and understood; 10-4 over/out) ;o)
Scott Yeager August 28, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Sarcasm is a one trick pony.
Mark Mathews August 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Karen, would you rather have a chain business that employes locals, or an empty store front. IF a local store cant get started, then why not a diverse chain? Why are chains SO demonized? THAT is how a business cycle works! Lets all try to be "tolerant" of successful companies, ok?

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