Downtown Napa’s Sizzling Restaurant Scene

By Michael Bauer
Photo John Storey, Special To The Chronicle

When Greg Cole opened Celadon in 1996, followed by Cole’s Chop House in 2000, downtown Napa was as desolate as San Francisco’s Financial District at midnight. The streets were empty; the lights in most buildings were switched off.

For years after he helped create that spark, developers talked about the emergence of downtown Napa, often associated with the 2001 opening of Copia, billed as the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.

The next year, when the renovated Napa Valley Opera House opened, The Chronicle reported that there was only one wine tasting room in Napa. Now there are more than 20.

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