Upstairs, a yoga studio draws top teachers from around the country. Downstairs, a hip restaurant celebrates fine vegetarian dining. Together, they make up Ubuntu, the new hangout spot in Napa, California, that's attracting foodies and yogis alike. On any given night, you'll find small groups of people, often with mat bags strapped to their chairs, sitting at the restaurant's community table. Here they indulge in a seasonal dinner served family style, often testing dishes that haven't made it yet onto chef Jeremy Fox's menu. "The community table is another opportunity for classmates to get to know each other and share time together," says Ubuntu's owner, Sandy Lawrence, who's also a vinyasa flow yoga teacher.
Lawrence opened Ubuntu last year, taking its name from an African word that means "humanity toward others." The kitchen serves creative vegetarian fare, sourced mostly from Lawrence's biodynamic garden—a garden that reflects a holistic approach to organic agriculture. The menu changes daily and in the past has offered seasonal dishes such as crunchy radishes with local chevre in spring and salt-roasted beets with horseradish mousse in the fall. In the mezzanine, the yoga studio overlooks the Napa countryside and schedules 45 classes a week in styles such as Anusara, Forrest, and vinyasa. Sharon Gannon, David Life, and Dharma Mittra have taught there; AcroYoga's Jason Nemer is scheduled to lead a class this fall. Ubuntu also features frequent workshops on detoxification, restorative yoga, and Trance Dance.
"Communal dinners are a chance to exchange ideas and inspiration," says Marcy Nielsen-Berruezo, who leads Anusara classes at Ubuntu. She says that the conversation often includes talk of yoga, personal life, business ideas, ways to improve the planet, and, of course, food.
"These get-togethers create a magical alchemy," she says. "They're another way to practice a deep sense of community and to awaken the heart."