It seems like only yesterday, we created our first Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen in College Station. Our goal was to open a neighborhood restaurant and share our love of chef-inspired food with our friends, family and community. Our vision was simple: cuisine inspired by California flavors with an Italian flair, made from scratch and then prepared in an open kitchen over a wood–fired grill.
We wanted a menu that feels familiar without being common. Our chefs endlessly explored restaurants, cookbooks and old family recipes. We prepared hundreds of dishes and asked our friends to taste and comment. Debate and passionate conversation ensued, ultimately culminating into an eclectic lunch and dinner menu, edited to just two pages, that offers great flavors and variety for the most discriminating diner.
We focus on doing things consistently and exceptionally well. We make our own tender mozzarella and hand cut our steaks and fish. Our pizza is hand-tossed, and we make all of our gelato in-house.
Our architects helped us create an interior designed to complement our menu, and we focused on the details that create an engaging ambiance – an abundance of natural light, an open kitchen and appealing textures. We even selected acoustic ceiling tiles that absorb the noise but don’t diminish the restaurant’s energy.
And, of course, we wanted to offer a variety of our favorite Napa Valley and California wines at an exceptional value either by the bottle or glass. Wine on tap allows us to provide wine-by-the-bottle quality by individual glass, served at the perfect temperature to enhance the taste.
Finally, we understand that our people, and most importantly, our managing partners, are the critical ingredient to a successful restaurant.
We rely on their ability to assemble a well-trained team and create a great culture. All our managing partners are people we have known and worked with for years. Each manager is invested in the success of their own community’s restaurant, both financially and emotionally.
It is a dining experience you will want to rediscover again and again. Enjoy life, come join us.
Without his contribution, we would have never opened. We talked about and studied recipes for months. In one memorable day we had tasted enough food to get a year’s worth of calories. His humor, common sense and eye for detail make him an exceptional business partner and an outstanding manager.
Watching Tony interact with people is pure joy. It is easy to understand why both customers and employees love his affable demeanor. Tony connects with people because he is fully present and listens when he engages in a conversation. He has a loyal group of managers and team members that follow him because they know he is fair and straightforward. Life is just better with Tony around. The result is outstanding food and a great restaurant experience for our customers.
Tony and I have now worked together for more than 20 years. It has been a great pleasure watching him grow and mature from his days as a college student to become a restaurant entrepreneur and a devoted family man. Tony’s dedication to Napa Flats is only exceeded by his love for his wife Lori and their four children. Balancing his children’s many sporting and school activities with a restaurant career is no easy task. But Tony understands the difference between what is urgent and what is important.
Look for Tony next time you are in the restaurant. He’ll be the one with the smile.
Napa Flats Founder & Chief Bus Boy
We had no immediate plans to open a second Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen. The timing just didn’t seem right. We were still working on our menu, developing our team and creating our culture in College Station. In reality, we were cash poor but ambition rich.
Our thoughts changed when John approached us. I’ve known John for more than 20 years, starting when he worked for me as a young manager with Outback Steakhouse in College Station. John is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University, and his mother lives near our College Station restaurant. John visited Napa Flats a couple of times with his family, they tasted about everything on the menu and gave our homemade food and inviting ambiance a unanimous thumbs up.
When John asked if we would consider doing a partnership with him in Tulsa, there was one big hurdle – raising the money.
We all went back to our friends, family and investors to pool our resources. They believed in us, we believed in John and his family, and the money soon followed.
John already had a perfect location in mind across the river from the Oklahoma Aquarium. Soon we were open and getting rave reviews from the press and on social media.
A few months later and we were recognized for having the “Best New Restaurant Concept” from the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and voted one of the “Best New Restaurants in Tulsa."
John loves people and has a passion for food and service. Details are his specialty and laughter is his calling card.
Tom Kenney - Founder & Chief Bus Boy
Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen