Rediscovering First Street, Part 2
Illustration by Margaret Bowles
An ever-changing landscape, First Street is a microcosm of the eclectic style, creativity and interesting occupations that are expressive of our community. Given the street’s mile-long shopping corridor, we are taking the guesswork out of which businesses are where, and what each block offers visitors. Last month, we started at the waterfront and highlighted the businesses from A Street to C Street. Our second in a series of articles detailing downtown Benicia, in this issue we focus on C Street to D Street.
This block of downtown has the advantage of being near the waterfront, where many of the town’s festivals are held and parades begin. Three large buildings hold a mix of businesses, including offices, boutiques, bars and eateries. The Treasury Commons building on the east side of the street features a lively plaza that invites visitors to meander through its shops, or sit on a bench under the trees and people-watch. Upstairs, professional offices overlook the vibrant energy below. During the farmers market, April-October, this block is ground zero.On the southeast corner is Luxe Hair Design, an upscale salon offering a full array of hair care services. Along with
Luxe, The Chill, a treasure of a wine bar, and Christina S women’s clothing and accessories outfitting Benicia’s women in a chic aesthetic, have anchored the plaza for over 12 years. In the middle of the plaza, Java Point Café serves up great food and a casual meeting point for locals for breakfast and lunch. Although Benicia Magazine is also in its twelfth year, it’s our second year on the plaza, along with Urban Notions Gift Store, a diminutive shop carrying home, paper goods and gifts for the garden. Literatus Designs is the newcomer on the plaza, featuring silk clothing for women, designed by the owner and made in California. On the north end of of the plaza is RPM Mortgage, specializing in mortgage loans and refinancing.
On the west side in the historic Von Pfister building, Rookies Sports Bar and Grill inhabits the entire street level space. The ultimate sports bar, Rookies offers really good pub grub and more for lunch and dinner, and boasts over 32 beers on tap. Upstairs, you’ll find GMAC insurance and Solano Smile Pediatric Dentistry, a state-of-the-art orthodontic practice for children of all ages. There’s customer parking for the Von Pfister building and the Treasury Commons in addition to street parking.
First Street, Benicia
Just north of Rookies, another large edifice contains several interesting businesses: Courtyard Customs prints “almost anything on almost anything” and does watch repair and battery replacement. More than just a shave, Dave’s Barber Shop and Shaving Parlor is a connection to the past, where men swapped community news and gossip while being pampered. Anchoring the northern end of the building, Kinders Meats is another popular lunch option with tantalizing bbq sandwiches and hot plates. Some of the upstairs tenants are still regrouping from a building fire, which required extensive repairs. The nearest public restrooms and water fountain are available in the yellow building on the Spit. Below is a complete list of businesses on this block, courtesy Benicia Main Street.
Rookies Sports Bar and Grill 321 First Street rookiesbenicia.com
Dave’s Barber Shop & Shaving Parlor 333-C First Street facebook page
Kinder’s Meats-Deli-BBQ 333 First Street kindersmeats.com/benicia_ca.php
Courtyard Customs 333 First Street #5 707.746.7652
Luxe Hair Color & Design 360 First Street facebook page
The Chill, a Wine & Beer Bar 362 First Street facebook.com/TheChillWine
Heritage Pantry & Spice 364 First Street heritagepantryandspice.com
Java Point Café 366 First Street facebook page
Christina S 370 First Street Christinasbenicia.com
Urban Notions Gift Store 372 First Street facebook.com/urbannotions
RPM Mortgage 376 First Street 707.361.5500
R.A. Storelee insurance 321 First Street 800.982.6330
Solano Smile 321 First St, Ste #203 707.748.0500