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Napa Valley Looks to Restaurant Week to Help Jump-Start Economic Comeback

NAPA (KPIX) -- Restaurant week kicked off in Napa Valley Friday night. It is a shot in the arm for those trying to stay in business but, for others, the pandemic has forced them to call it quits.

"It's ... been extremely difficult to hang on and stay alive through all of this," said Visit Napa Valley CEO Linsey Gallagher.

Napa's Ca' Momi announced its closure on Facebook. The owners wrote that they gave it their best for as long as they could but it was the pandemic that finally forced them to close their doors.

"We were open and then we were closed," Gallagher said, referring to the region's struggle with COVID lockdowns and regulations. "Then we can open for outdoor then we can open for indoor and then we had to be closed again for indoor and you need a mask and it's been so complicated to understand the path forward."

Starting Friday night, for the next 10 days, the region's world-class restaurateurs hope to see diners in person again.

"Restaurant week is when all of downtown Napa's restaurant scene springs back to life," said Matt Stamp, a co-owner of Compline.

Compline and Charlie Palmer's Steak House in downtown Napa are both taking part in the event.

Restaurant owners say food costs and staffing shortages remain a huge issue but Restaurant Week gives them a big boost.

Weekend reservations are hard to find as restaurants offer special menus.

At a time when some diners may be hesitant to dine out, restaurants have had to find ways to entice customers.

"It became an opportunity to take everything we've learned over the years, our passion for food and wine and find a different way to express it and find a different way to put it out in the world," said Ryan Stetins, co-owner of Compline.

Visit Napa Valley says the region is seeing signs of recovery. Hotel occupancy is above 90% on weekends but weekday business has been slow to bounce back. It expects the staffing shortage will be the biggest challenge in 2022 as people return to enjoy Napa Valley.

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