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Coffee & Tea 9

Jonesy’s Famous Steak House (and Coffee Shop), Napa Airport

Melanie Wong | Feb 4, 200404:06 AM

Jonesy’s Steak House, founded in 1946, has been one of the area’s most well-known restaurants. Yet there have been few, if any, mentions on this board. Located in the Napa County Airport terminal, the view of the runway and the steaks are the draws here. Otherwise, the décor is more diner-esque than fine dining with white paper mats protecting the table cloths and clunky dinnerware.

My three lunches in the main dining room, I’ve had the top sirloin steak sandwich each time. Griddled under the weight of river rocks, the eight-ounce steaks have been perfectly “rare” as ordered and buttery tender. A choice of potatoes is available, but the “special potatoes” is the signature dish. A golden rectangle of shredded hash brown-like potatoes is topped with a square of melted American cheese, a grilled onion slice, and a sprinkle of scallions. The first time I saw this, I marveled at the perfect alignment to create the bull’s eye effect. It’s greasy, salty, cheese-y, crispiness is one of those guilty pleasures that must be indulged from time to time.

This indulgence is easier and cheaper to obtain in the coffee shop and lounge adjoining the busy dining room. Unlike its famous parent, the coffee shop appears to be little known and is rarely full for lunch. At the counter, my favorite stool is at the base of the U-shape where you can watch the meat cutters in the kitchen. Remodeled in the last year, the dark lounge area has been fitted with ‘50’s-style turquoise upholstered benches and round formica-topped tables. A limited menu is served here, prepared by the same kitchen, at reduced prices. There’s only one waitress, Patty, and service can be slow, especially in the lounge, at times.

Shown below is the top sirloin steak sandwich as served in the lounge with garlic toast and special potatoes. It’s a terrific lunch for $7.75, and 1/3 less than the price in the restaurant. On the coffee shop menu, it’s supposed to be accompanied by fries. But I just ask Patty if I can have the special potatoes, and she goes through the ritual of checking with the cook for the substitution. So far, they’ve never said “no”. The steak might be a bit smaller and doesn’t seem to be quite as tender as what I’ve been served in the restaurant, but that might be my imagination.

The other good deal is the “lite lunch” – salad and a bowl of soup for $5. This is best on Fridays, when the famous Boston clam chowder is offered. I wish it weren’t thickened so much, yet it’s still pretty tasty with tender chunks of clams, potatoes, celery, and bell pepper. The salad is made from chopped romaine and garnished with garbanzos, canned beets, and a dollop of cottage cheese. I always order the time-honored blue cheese dressing made with vinegar and oil and freshly crumbled blue cheese.

The burgers are also a specialty here, but I haven’t been able to tear myself away from the special potatoes and sirloin sandwich to try one yet.

Jonesy’s Famous Steak House
Napa County Airport Terminal
Closed Mondays


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