This is the first in a series of Snapshots from our Napa Valley Trip in April.
Back in January, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Napa Valley to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. To get acquainted with the area, I started following all things connected with Napa; wine bloggers, wineries, restaurants and winemakers on twitter.
One place that kept coming up was a local burger joint called Gott’s Roadside. Lots of people tweeted about the longing to go back to Gott’s. Some boasted of stopping by on the weekend. Others posted incredible pictures of burgers, tacos and trays of yummy food usually on a picnic bench.
The Famous Gotts Roadside
I’ll visit any joint that claims to have great burgers so Gott’s went on the list of lunch places for the trip.
The month of April arrived and we went to Napa.
After a morning of wine-tasting, we headed to Gott’s for lunch. Earlier, we’d checked out their second location in downtown Napa but we wanted to eat at the original. It’s up Highway 29 in St.Helena.
Turns out, Gott’s is a total TOURIST SPOT. Complete with souvenir menus, red and white decor and picnic tables. There are patio tables in the front and two huge lawns filled with trees and umbrella-covered picnic tables in the back. It’s a fantastic outdoor place to eat.
As we were parking, a half dozen cars drove in. The line to order snaked around the edge of the patio and never appeared to shorten. In fact, later that weekend as we passed Gotts on the way to a winery, the line was the same. Just the people standing in it had changed.
After ordering burgers and fries, we sat on bar stools under the covered porch. It was across from the pickup counter and bar. A friendly college guy working there asked if we needed anything. We must of had goofy grins cause he remarked how he loved to see smiles! He told us that during the summer, the line could stretch around the building.
Gotts burger and fries
Our seats were perfect for people watching. The bachelorette parties, the college guys on a road trip, families, couples on romantic getaways, even locals. For lunch, this was the place to be. However, there was one particular group that stood out.
Two couples came around the corner and I could barely suppress a giggle. I think my husband was having the same trouble.
All four were dressed from head to toe in what could only be considered the official Birdwatcher’s uniform. Strictly LL Bean. Matching vests, hats, and high-powered binoculars hung around their necks.
My husband pointed out the ones with fanny packs. (They weren’t hard to miss.) He’s still sore at me for not letting him get one when we took the kids to Disneyland. NO. No fanny packs. He likes to bring it up whenever he needs to be hands-free for something. I just glare at him. Absolutely not.
I could barely stop myself from asking them if they were doing “The Big Year” (click to see a clip). Or saying, “Seen any yellow-bellied sapsuckers?” Meanwhile, The Birdwatchers ordered and went to find a table among the trees. The ideal place for spotting birds.
The Birdman and Beer
One lesser attired Birdman wondered back toward us and ordered a beer. Birdwatchers drink beer? They were so smartly dressed, I would of expected them to order a Chablis 1982. Apparently even sophisticated birdwatchers prefer beer on a warm day! Who knew!
They were a treat to see. I hope they saw lots of rare birds in between a few wine-tastings. At least, I hope they did some wine-tastings. Although, they seemed so serious maybe the birds kept them from it.
Anyway, despite Gott’s being touristy, I’d go back. The food was good but nothing special. The real draw was in the festive atmosphere, the friendly workers, and the fact everyone was excited to be there. It felt like we were at a cookout with friends on Memorial Day.
I love Memorial Day. It’s a lovely way to start summer!
I’m so glad we ate at Gott’s. The Coney Island of Napa Valley. A “must see” on the tourist list.
Next time, though, I’m ordering the tacos. The lady next to me had a tray of them with a beer and they looked outstanding!