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Does Bel Aire Need a Diner?

Bel Aire barber Robert Blair thinks the popular north Napa shopping plaza could use both a place for workers to grab lunch and a "potty place" for customers' dogs. Do you agree? Tell us.

Bel Aire Plaza is one of Napa's most popular hangouts, with outdoor tables at Peet's and Whole Foods attracting people and their pets; a bookstore for browsing; a barber shop, three restaurants and a yogurt bar, along with retail mainstays Target, Trader Joe's, Orchard Supply Hardware, Pet Food Express, Pharmaca and Cost Plus World Market.

And Bel Aire is getting more exciting with the advent later this year of Pier One and Chico's.

But there's no place to get a working-person's lunch, says barber Robert Blair, co-owner since November of Barber Shop of Napa Valley next door to Peet's.

Blair wants to see a "brown-bag, Eat-at-Joe's" type of diner in Bel Aire, where workers like him can grab an affordable sandwich at break time.

"If I had the money, I'd make it into a (19)50s diner just to match the (barber) shop," Blair said, as he picked up a coffee at Peet's between haircuts Monday morning.

"You only need a couple of hundred square feet" for a lunch counter, he added.

From his vantage point at the busy barber shop, Blair has also observed another lack in Bel Aire's offerings: A "potty place" for dogs, which frequently accompany their masters to the shopping plaza.

"I'm tired of seeing them (urinating) on the potted plants," Blair said.

Bel Aire management should designate a spot for dogs with artifical turf and waste bags, Blair suggested.

"If they're going to make it a dog-friendly place, make it a dog-friendly environment."

Do you agree with Blair's suggestions? What other ideas do you have for Bel Aire Plaza? Tell us in the comments.

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Louisa Hufstader January 09, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Don't say that around Gia Sempronio of Phat Salads & Wraps. Her truck sells fresh healthy food and is as clean as a whistle. I wouldn't mention it to the folks from Pastranomy, Crossroad Chicken or Mark's The Spot either. Pastranomy burned my latkes, but their operation was cleanly. Crossroad and Mark's are just YUM. Basically, your statement is easily disproved! I've never read about health inspectors finding a dead mouse in a food truck around here but I can't say that about the stationary restaurants.
Louisa Hufstader January 09, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Louise, I like antenna mascots, but even the old car I can afford is newer than that - the antenna is in the windshield.
Dan Monez January 09, 2013 at 06:34 PM
If you want to experience a good model for what is suggested, try "Diggity Dogs" over in Cordelia on Pittman Rd., (in the midst of all the fast food joints by Scandia). They offer great old fashioned hot dogs, sausages, homemade soups, salads, etc. for a reasonable price and they have an outdoor doggy patio with pet treats, water, and a potty area. I had a footlong dog and a generous portion of great homemade macaroni salad for $5.50 yesterday. Napa needs a good hot dog place, dogonit!!!
Steve Sando January 11, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Just wanted to say hats off to Blair for trying to make it as a real local, independent business in a mall full of mostly chains. It can't be cheap to have a business there. An independent diner would be fun and appreciated.
John Richards January 24, 2013 at 11:54 PM
I agree, dogs should not be competing with humans in an area that is already crowded. I often have trouble negotiating the sidewalk by Peets because of the choking point caused by dogs, their owners, shopping carts and newspaper racks.

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