NAPA VALLEY, CA; July 9, 2015 – AvroKO is proud to announce a new partnership with acclaimed chef Matthew Lightner, formerly of the 2 Michelin-starred Atera in New York City. Lightner will head up all of AvroKO’s west coast culinary operations under the banner AvroKO Hospitality Group West with NINEBARK being their first new venture together opening August 1, 2015.
Over the last decade, Lightner has become a name synonymous with culinary excellence. Born and raised in the Midwest, Lightner first moved to the West Coast in 1999, where he graduated culinary school and began his cooking career working in kitchens from Oregon to California including chef de cuisine at L’Auberge in Del Mar, California. From there, Lightner set path overseas where he worked in some of the world’s greatest kitchens including a stage at Noma in Copenhagen and an exclusive 18-month program at Mugaritz in the Basque region of Spain where he developed and perfected the techniques and flavors he is incorporating into the NINEBARK repertoire.
Upon arrival back in the U.S., Lightner became the executive chef at Castagna in Portland, Oregon where he was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs in America” and was nominated “Rising Star Chef” by the James Beard Foundation two consecutive years in a row. In 2012, Lightner moved to New York City, where he opened Atera and received 2 stars from theMichelin Guide in the first six months of business. At Atera, he went on to receive 3 stars from The New York Times, 4 stars from New York Magazine and was included in Bon Appetit’s “Best 50 New Restaurants” and Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants” lists.
AvroKO’s and Lightner’s first project in Napa, NINEBARK, will launch in the current Thomas & Fagiani’s restaurant space at 813 Main Street (707-226-7821, website forthcoming). Under chef Lightner’s direction, the new restaurant, bar and rooftop lounge will feature California-focused, market-forward cuisine utilizing innovative preparation techniques: smoking with local hardwood and shrubs, charcoal grilling, and marinating in herbal, fruit and floral broths. The menu will also highlight unique seafood dishes such as Scallops w/ Bottarga, Seaweed and Buttermilk; Skewers of Fatty Tuna, Shiso, Peppercorns, and Sorrel; and Savory Porridge with Smoked Fish, Heirloom Rice and Sourdough.
NINEBARK’s beverage program will be overseen by AvroKO’s lauded master mixologist Eben Freeman. The cocktails will be designed to fall in line with Lightner’s menu, in many cases using the same ingredients. Freeman will feature produce-forward cocktails with freshly-pressed juices and fruit essences. There will also be a focus on artisanal beer cocktails highlighting local breweries in a variety of styles.
Award-winning design firm AvroKO, will create an airy, garden-driven design over NINEBARK’s three floors. The ground floor will feature a relaxed bar and dining area with an abundant and glowing “goods & produce” wall. The second floor will be a casually-elegant dining room centered around an arched, open kitchen and a chef’s table. The third floor will be a rooftop-garden style dining and bar experience with central lounge “gliders” and banquettes covered in vintage plaids.
Beyond NINEBARK, AvroKO and Lightner have laid out a long-term plan for AvroKO Hospitality Group West’s expansion in Napa Valley over the next several years with projects opening in 2016 and beyond.
AvroKO is the award-winning design and concept firm specializing in the disciplines of architecture, furniture, lighting, graphics and branding. The four founding partners —William Harris, Greg Bradshaw, Kristina O’Neal and Adam Farmerie — established AvroKO in New York City in 2001 and have since expanded to offices in San Francisco and Bangkok, working on projects in 12 countries and 21 cities worldwide. The firm has garnered numerous accolades including 2 James Beard Awards, 6 Hospitality Design Awards, 2 HA + D awards, and the Lawrence J. Israel Prize.
They have also taken on their own “self-propelled” projects such as residential development, furniture lines, and several restaurants and bars which are wholly conceived, designed, owned, and operated by the company including PUBLIC, The Daily, Saxon + Parole, Madam Geneva, GENUINE Roadside and GENUINE Superette in NYC; Saxon + Parole in Moscow; and NINEBARK in Napa, CA. www.avroko.com.