|The French Laundry (CC 2.0: Peter Merholtz)|
- The French Laundry (3 stars since 2006)
- Bouchon (1 star)
- Redd (1 star)
- étoile at Domaine Chandon (1 star—and that name is purposely lower-case)
Here’s what I find so interesting. Over the years I’ve talked to many people who grew up in Yountville back in the 1960s and 1970s, and they all say the same thing: “When I was a kid, Yountville was really just a poor farming community. Really poor.”
I’m not sure when the phrase “poor farming community” stopped characterizing Yountville. Most people credit Thomas Keller and The French Laundry with a lot of what’s happened—Keller opened his restaurant in 1994 (he also owns one-star Bouchon). But surely Domaine Chandon’s residence beginning in 1973 helped move things along. When Cindy Pawlcyn opened Mustards Grill in 1983, it was a foodie revelation—though no one used the word “foodie” in those days. People from San Francisco descended on Mustards every weekend; the place was always packed (still is).
There’s definitely a compelling story in Yountville and how it changed from a down-on-its-heels farming town to a very upscale getaway. Maybe it will get written.
For now, though, let’s just celebrate the stunning news that this little town in Napa Valley has garnered six Michelin stars.
Buy the 2011 Michelin Red Guide to San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country
Read my post about the 25th anniversary party at Mustards Grill
Read a fun historic article about Yountville by Curtis Van Carter.