Balboa Café Turns 100 Years Old


One might take pause stepping through the doors of the venerable Balboa Cafe Wednesday, Aug. 21 to celebrate its 100 anniversary of being in business. The date across the door clearly reads, “Since 1914” so the math doesn’t quite hold up for a celebration being held in 2013. But as PlumpJack partner and co-owner of the Balboa Cafe Gavin Newsom explained in his toast, the original owners were “hyper-superstitious” and changed the date from 1913 to 1914 to avoid the number 13 on the door. By all indications, their luck must have held out — Newsom told the approximately 50 guests seated at one long table in the Balboa’s front room, “It is remarkable that a business would still be around after 100 years,” and went on to explain that success as an example of sustainability in the broadest sense.

Newsom was joined by the other PlumpJack partners Gordon Getty, Hilary Newsom, Jeremy Scherer and John Conover for a “luncheon, tasting and conversation” reflecting on 20 years of PlumpJack and the future of the brand. Newsom reflected on the various generations and their impact on the business. The “Greatest Generation” who saved and invested built the Balboa. He used the term “Grasshopper Generation” — coined by writer Kurt Andersen — to describe subsequent generations, who, like hungry locusts, devours everything around them. He hopes the next generation will take the role of “regeneration” to renew and rebuild. Newsom ending by telling guests the Balboa is a “growing business for us,” and “one we want to be around for our kids.”

PlumpJack partner and longtime wine industry executive John Conover wrapped up the talk describing the partners latest venture, Odette Estate, a state-of-the-art winery on 45-acres of land in the Stags Leap district of Napa Valley. A work in progress, the Odette Estate Winery Tasting Room is currently open, and the winery expects its first releases from the estate to begin in 2015.

Guests were treated to a PlumpJack Reserve Chardonnay 2012 served with appetizers of ahi tuna cones, tomato and mozzarella bruschetta and calamari fritti. A PlumpJack Estate Cabernet was served with lunch, where guests were able to pick an entrée selection of their choice.

Short of a black cat crossing in front of the PlumpJack partners’ path, the future look bright for Balboa Café’s next 100 years.