In what is a personally sad story to have to report, Tra Vigne will serve its last meal December 20.
It’s not that the restaurant has gone broke, or couldn’t meet rent payments; the demise of Tra Vigne has to do with the personal and private ambitions of others, of a lease running out, of others' commercial interests which were greater than keeping the lights on, and the mozzarella melting, at Tra Vigne.
Tra Vigne goes out on a high note as one of the great restaurants in our community and it will be greatly missed. By locals, by me, and certainly by the Wine Spectator, which held its Napa Valley Wine Auction Magnum Party every year at Tra Vigne since it started hosting the annual party decades ago.
For decades, Tra Vigne has been making locals and visitors happy, happy, happy. The restaurant has had several great chefs over this period, including Michael Chiarello, who opened the space, and for the past many years, Nash Cognetti, who has become a personal friend.
Executive Chef, Nash Cognetti
Tra Vigne has been my home away from home for all the years I have lived here, and I have personally dined, over the years, more than 450 times at Tra Vigne.
Tra Vigne was like Cheers, a neighborhood spot where you could meet regulars, share your personal stories with the staff, both behind, and in front of, the bar.
Losing Tra Vigne is what it must feel like to see your marriage dissolve. You can’t believe this is happening, that this scenario is unfolding as it wasn’t meant to be.
ooh-la-la, the bistecca alla fiorentina
Executive chef Nash Cognetti has brought stability and harmony to the menu at Tra Vigne. We will miss him and his glorious one-kilogram bistecca alla fiorentina, and his Wednesday cioppino night, as much as we would miss SNL if it were ever to go off the air. When something becomes bigger than life, when it’s gone, it leaves a void that just can’t be filled.
You know how you felt when Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, or The Wire came to an end? You’d spent years with this alternate “family,” and once the series was over, you felt robbed of a friendship, adrift without family. That’s how it feels to know that after December 20th, there aint gonna be no more mozzarella made a la minute by Chef Cognetti in our life.
Nash brought some fabulous food into our collective lives, which nourished our collective spirit; Eileen Regan, behind the bar, and her sidekick Luke Christian, made some of the best cocktails in Napa Valley.
The staff – I’d name them individually here but fear I might leave someone out, so I will just say ALL the staff – and Jennifer the GM, and assistant GM Paul Smith, and the hostesses, and the busboys, and kitchen brigade – we will miss you ALL. You made our lives richer, more textured and more cultured. Thank you.
Tra Vigne will have a new life, but not one that many, or any, of us will see, or taste, Nash is opening a permanent pop-up catering space of sorts in Cindy’s old space on Main St.,, in St. Helena, once the home of Pinot Blanc, then the place with several incarnations under Cindy Pawlcyn’s tasty tutelage.
Now Nash and some of his brigade will open a space that exclusively caters to large groups and weddings. It will not be a casual restaurant in to which folks off the street night drift for a draft. Or for a glass of wine, or for dinner. So, essentially, Tra Vigne is off limits to the community. You’d have to be lucky enough to be invited to a wedding to taste Nash’s sensational fare again.
So if you are within the sight of this screed, and you are hosting a wedding at Nash’s new location on Main St. next year – PLEASE INVITE NAPAMAN TO YOUR FUNCTION because I can’t think of a world without Nash’s bistecca, or mozzarella.
Tra Vigne, we hardly knew ya.
And thank you for the tasty memories.