Pearl is a casual bistro just off the main streets of downtown Napa. Proprietors Nickie and Peter Zeller have created an energetic and exciting space with soaring ceilings, vibrant local artwork and comfortable seating both indoors and on the front patio.
It all started...
In 1976, Nickie Zeller helped open the Diner in Yountville, eventually becoming part owner and general manager. The Diner served high quality American food made from scratch with enthusiastic service. In 1984, Peter Zeller began working at the Diner as a line cook, meeting Nickie and forming a strong bond through their history in the restaurant business. In 1982 the Diner was written up in the Chronicle pink section and things were never the same again. The Diner went on to become an internationally known Napa Valley restaurant that was open until 2001.
In 1991, Peter and Nickie opened the Brown Street Grill in downtown Napa. Peter ran the kitchen and Nickie ran the dining room, both collaborating on specials and menus. In 1993, an article was written in the pink section of the Chronicle where Brown Street Grill was awarded 3 stars for their "California Home Style Cuisine."
In 1995, they both decided to sell the Brown Street Grill and move to a smaller, more intimate and attractive space. This space would become the restaurant Pearl, where they have been ever since. Their great staff, along with head chef Jose Bravo Guzman, contribute daily to the great food and service the restaurant is known for. Nickie Zeller adds, "I love the restaurant business and I love to cook. Of course my cooking style has changed and evolved over the years, but it still remains a more homey, rustic and un-fussy fare. I believe that quality and consistency in food, service and ambiance is the key to success."
As its namesake suggests, Pearl starts by offering oysters, raw on the half shell, roasted with salsa verde and feta. Other starters include soft tacos with ginger marinated flank steak and house made tortillas, crab cakes and Guerrero style corn on the cob with chili cream, cojita cheese and lime. A variety of sandwiches served on house focaccia, soft polenta with sauteed seasonal vegetables and roasted tomato sauce, daily fish specials, Jose's chicken verde, and the famous triple double frenched pork chop with apple brine are a sampling of entree choices. Finish your meal with a seasonal fruit crisp, johnnycake cobbler, pineapple upside down cake, or a variety of house made sorbets and ice creams.
Peter's wine list is a compilation of some of Napa's most well known and most obscure labels. There are also great choices from other parts of the nation and world. The emphasis is on quality, value and varietals that pair best with Pearl's signature cuisine.