Located in charming downtown St. Helena, in the heart of the Napa Valley, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen combines the sophistication of a supper club with the flair of a speakeasy to create the perfect upscale eatery and neighborhood hang-out.
Created by Cindy Pawlcyn, the James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, chef-owner of Napa Valley’s Mustards Grill and co-creator of many renowned Bay Area restaurants (including Fog City Diner, Bix, Roti, Tra Vigne and Buckeye Roadhouse), Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen first opened its doors in 2003. Since then, the restaurant has become a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike, featuring a menu where the food is delicious, heartfelt and cooked from scratch with authentic highest quality ingredients. The service is unpretentious and warm, and the atmosphere is festive and comfortable.
The site of Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen is steeped in wine country history. The historic 1800s building was once a 1920s bordello, a cooperage that supplied barrels and casks for local growers, and in its last incarnation, a restaurant called Miramonte, which hosted the first Napa Valley Vintner’s Association meeting. To achieve its current contemporary yet comfortable look, Cindy enlisted Howard Backen of Backen Gillam Architects to re-design the interiors. Backen retained the best elements of the structure and created a warm, comfortable, California-casual atmosphere to complement Cindy’s creative fare.
Guests enter the restaurant through the brick patio, which features several tables for alfresco dining, shaded by a 100-year-old fig tree and warmed by the kitchen’s wood-burning oven. Once inside, the lively bar area, with its zinc top, wood floors and cozy banquettes serves up classic and hip cocktails alike, creating the perfect place for a quick lunch, drinks or coffee and dessert after a movie. The downstairs dining room has handmade wooden booths with crisp striped fabric-backed seats next to big windows with lushly planted flower boxes. Floral wall paper and dark stained hardwood floors add a touch of speakeasy drama, while cozy built-in cabinets display Cindy’s travel artifacts and a selection of her own handmade pottery.