It is often assumed Kyle Barraza, the owner of Fairfield’s The Napa Deli, has lived in this area for years.
He is known for greeting customers with enthusiastic hugs, as though each one is an old friend. Just as his deli is known for its unique, handcrafted sandwiches, Barraza has a way of making customers feel that they are each special to him.
The truth is, The Napa Deli has only been open in Fairfield since June of 2015. Barraza, a former cruise ship chef, only moved to the community that year to partner with his dad, David, in opening their deli and catering business. But in that short time, The Napa Deli – and Barraza – has intricately woven themselves into the community, giving back with gift card donations for local events and hosting Dine and Donates to support youth and non-profit organizations.
The 2017 fires in Napa and Solano Counties really solidified the importance of community for Barraza and The Napa Deli.
On the day the Tubbs Fire ignited in Napa, just miles from Suisun Valley and Fairfield, the California Highway Patrol asked the deli to make 250 sandwiches for first responders. Barraza, his father, and their team were hard at work when customers began coming in, sharing that they had been evacuated from their homes and had nowhere to go. Others donated money towards sandwiches for first responders and fire evacuees.
That’s when Barraza made the decision to close the deli to the public and devote all of their efforts to the fire response.
“I remember I kept thinking, ‘how are we going to pay rent when we’re closed,’” David Barraza said. “But Kyle had a whole different vision.”
“I told him, ‘it’s all going to come back to us,’” his son said. “We had no idea just how much.”
The Napa Deli volunteered to close its doors for a week and with the help of dozens of volunteers, made 9,000 sandwiches for first responders and fire victims.
“Fairfield wasn’t home to me until the fires happened,” Barraza remembered. “Our community came together then. They took over our deli. We had people here who had been evacuated from their own homes and they wanted to help and we gave them a place where they could make a difference. It was during those fires when I really felt, this is my home.”
Barraza often finds himself out and about in the community, especially with the catering business. The question he is most often asked is, why Napa Deli in Fairfield? Their concept for opening a restaurant here with that name was to bring a taste of Napa to Fairfield.
“All of our desserts and breads come from Napa fresh daily,” he said. “We also named our sandwiches after different areas in the region – the St. Helena Turkey Guacamole, the Sonoma Turkey Bacon Panini, and the Jameson Canyon Tri-Tip are all very popular.”
Although their initial goal was to bring Napa to Fairfield, Fairfield and it’s thriving wine region have inspired their own sandwich creation, with the Suisun Valley Club and the Green Valley Vegetarian.