SoNapa Grille: America’s Palate of Wine Country Flavors

by Leigh Cort

The burgeoning restaurant scene in Northeast Florida makes late-night choices of where to enjoy dinner, happy hour, or in-between hours a major dilemma.

Restaurants are places where you dream of having a fantastic meal with friends, family or alone. They are also destinations where restaurant entrepreneurs can merge their talents and create something amazing.

Welcome to the new SoNapa Grille in Jacksonville Beach, now ranking as my favorite hometown, where you can grab a seat at the bar or meet friends at a comfortable table anywhere in the restaurant.

The name was created for two of the world’s great wine regions: Sonoma Country and Napa Valley. Their wine selections focus on fine California wines that guests can afford, whether they choose an adventurous sampler of several wines or order a bottle they sip down.

SoNapa Grille founder/creator Adam Barringer draws inspiration from his own personal fondness for California, which is what inspired the opening of the first SoNapa Grille in New Smyrna Beach in 2006. In 2018, his second location joined the scene. in Ormond Beach. Ultimately, he and his partners Joe Bales and Chris Botting landed the third location in Jacksonville Beach. It’s easy to find on 3rd Street and even easier to fall in love with the trio of everything they’re doing right: inviting contemporary ambiance, attentive and knowledgeable service, plus a fabulous menu of delicacies.

SoNapa Grille touches the senses. It begins when she receives a friendly greeting from the hosts and then, perhaps, when she sits down at the bar, which is her gateway to a relaxed and professional experience.

The restaurant flows smoothly from the popular bar into a comfortable dining room that opens into the open Barrel Room (obviously decorated with attractive California wine barrels). There is a glass enclosed 14 seat private party room (special reserve) especially with holiday entertainment! Earthy tones and classic woods instill a sense of casualness without the usual beachy theme that permeates many new restaurants in the area. For pet-friendly and alfresco dining, the 30-seat garden is lined with foliage, and nightly white lights cast a hint of romance.

The carefully curated menu is committed to reflecting the diverse palates of California wine country, seamlessly enhancing the easy-to-read wine list that begins with lighter vintages and ends with fuller-bodied selections.

Popular winemakers like Chalk Hill, Rombauer, Caymus, and Opus One pepper the menu with many of Adam and Joe’s personal favorites. SoMade cocktails also embrace the California lifestyle. “When ella She ella’s in Napa” combines Tito’s vodka, Ferrari Carano Rose, lemon juice and a dash of cranberries. “The Tusk,” a California restaurant, inspired my favorite with Four Roses Bourbon, maple-infused vermouth, orange bitters, and dried cherries.

On one visit, I fell in love with the Edamame Potstickers (stuffed with edamame and cabbage, ginger-citrus sauce, and wasabi aioli) and the Korean BBQ Ribs (sesame seeds, green onions, and Asian fries). All of the appetizers are irresistible, but then I swooned over the Lollipop Lambchops (Dijon-rubbed grilled lamb chops with bacon jam, goat cheese, and country greens).

Chef Patrick Brown explores and tries new and exciting combinations, but there is still a sense of authentic and conventional flavors.

Owners identify customer demand, a crucial first step in every restaurant’s success story. Look around; there’s a happy atmosphere at SoNapa Grille. It’s obvious that your customers are making wise decisions also based on their own ability to research food and wine before and during their visit.

It’s been fun arriving at 4pm and staying at the bar until 6:30pm, the window of ‘Happy Hour’… The restaurant fills up quickly, especially when you can sample many specialty dishes, wines and cocktails at the bountiful happy hour. prices. The pet-friendly garden setting attracts locals who arrive by golf cart, bike, and just Fido on a leash!

What to ask for! For seafood and pasta lovers, Chef’s Shrimp & Scallop Carbonara is a dream combination (fettuccine, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and peas). A lighter entrée is the very popular fresh tuna sashimi (yellow fin tuna, seasoned with shichimi, seared with coconut sticky rice, Thai Brussels chili and traditional wasabi and pickled ginger).

With cooler-weather appetites craving more serious dining, don’t miss the famous “Highway 29’s” Pork Chop (10-ounce bone-in, center-cut pork chop with mustard sauce over Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and pickled cabbage). .

Menu surprises include artisan cider and mineral water – a half dozen brick-oven flatbreads and delicious desserts. Don’t resist the Howell Mountain (piping-hot pineapple upside-down cake served with vanilla ice cream) and seasonal fresh-baked bread pudding (sweet and salty bourbon sauce, candied pecans and creamy ice cream). SoNapa Grille has a bold personality with a rotating list of highlights each night. It’s fun to dine here and they are not shy or afraid to play with the flavors. Lucky for us that they are going to be around for a long time!

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