Rotary Report: Bar Cava – a destination in downtown

Cory Katz (at left), and Nate Houston of Bar Cava, 718 Main St., Martinez. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)
Cory Katz (at left), and Nate Houston of Bar Cava, 718 Main St., Martinez. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)

Special to the Tribune

NOTE: Rotary Report is an update about featured speakers at Martinez Rotary Club meetings. Rotary meets once a week at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road. For meeting times and other inquiries, visit

Bar Cava is bringing a “big city” feel to lil ol’ Martinez. Cory Katz and his mother Pat are the owners, Nate Houston is the wine expert, and Steven Jefferys is the chef.

Cory and Nate shared their enthusiasm with Rotary. They’ve got a great formula. They provide “a bit of Napa” and elegant food.

Cory says – correctly in my view – that “something’s happening in Martinez.”

Cory is pushing Bar Cava on places like Facebook and Instagram. His efforts are paying off. Customers are coming from places like Mountain View, San Francisco, Sacramento and Walnut Creek – and lots from Martinez!

Wine expert Nate Houston specializes in Spanish wines. Bar Cava also has lots of classy wines from throughout the world. If you’re looking to get into wines, you can have a glass from a wine selling for $100 a bottle. You may get hooked. Cory has installed a state-of-the art French wine preserving system using argon gas to keep the flavors in. Or you can have a way cheaper but still excellent Spanish wine selected by Nate.

You can eat spectacular fresh food prepared by chef Steven Jefferys. He uses only fresh ingredients; among them bread from Walnut Creek and specialty Brussels sprouts. He orders food each day, so it’s always fresh.

Cory talked about the process of getting permits. It’s complex! You need permits from the State Liquor licensing board,  from the health department, and a bunch of City permits. It took awhile for him to learn the ropes, but once he learned them he found the City easy to deal with.

According to Rotarian and City Councilmember Lara Delaney, who was in the audience, Martinez is about to hire two people to make life easier for businesses yet to come. That’s good, because the City has a bunch of newly reinforced buildings awaiting tenants. Among the rumored new businesses are two brew-pubs. Since brew-pubs are an early indicator of a town on the make, this is a very good sign.

Nate and Cory have lots of enthusiasm. They bring lots of expertise. Bar Cava is building on a formula that’s worked in a bunch of places. A long, deep building with beautiful old brick walls, a long counter and tables along the edges. Good food. Good wines. A great chef.

Visit Bar Cava while you can still get a seat! You’ll love it. If you wait a while, you’ll still get in but you may have to wait for a seat.

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