The first Black-owned restaurant in Napa, CA, will be opening soon.

The Press Democrat reports that Kansas City, MO-born Executive Chef Darryl Bell and his business partner, Jeremy Threat, plan to open a permanent location for their barbecue restaurant, Stateline Road Smokehouse, in the California city.

Before entering the restaurant industry, Bell had already made a mark in entrepreneurship by introducing his hometown-inspired barbecue sauce, 816 BBQ Sauce, in 2014.

Bell relocated from Kansas to Napa to pursue a new opportunity at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. There, he steadily rose through the ranks to become the executive sous chef within seven years.

Bell soon had an epiphany to start his venture as a restaurateur following the success of his signature barbecue sauce. He told the outlet in an earlier interview, this decision came during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was COVID-19, to be honest. I’d get off work and see In-N-Out would have a line all the way around the corner,” Bell said. “I saw people getting more casual with dining, even at these high-end places, and realized I wanted something that’s not just pandemic proof but economically sound.”

He continued, “So, I thought, I’m from Kansas City, and we already have the (barbecue sauce) we’ve sold for almost nine years now. I realized I could bring it full circle and bring the Kansas City style of barbecue to Napa.”

Bell embarked on a barbecue restaurant tour to prepare himself before Stateline was born, visiting 24 stops across 23 states.

“I started in Kansas City, then went to St. Louis, Nashville, and kept going. The purpose was to see what’s out there and be able to talk with a fair amount of confidence outside of just Kansas City and California,” he explained to the outlet. “Without seeing everything firsthand and physically going, you’re just guessing what’s out there.”

Stateline Road Smokehouse officially launched in June 2022, per Bell’s LinkedIn, and is temporarily operating at the Oxbow Public Market as the co-founder prepares for its new home.

The establishment currently serves double-smoked sweet and tangy brisket bites, baby back ribs, citrus-cured barbecue chicken, and sides, including bacon and chive aioli curly fries and Yukon gold potato salad, the company website mentions.

“People are eating this for breakfast. (We’re) selling out in a two-hour span,” Threat shared with The Press Democrat.

While customer demand has been great for the founders since opening, this isn’t the first time they have tried to open a restaurant location in Napa. When Bell and California-native Threat initially met and threw around the business idea, they chose a former auto body shop for their first location and hoped to open at the top of 2023.

Unfortunately, it did not come to pass.

Thankfully, Bell and Threat will soon have their own place to call home and welcome customers from near and far. Following several setbacks, they plan to open the brick-and-mortar Stateline Road Smokehouse in June 2024.