Downtown Benicia: An Ever-Changing Landscape

The eclectic style, creativity and sheer variety of businesses that make First Street an ever-changing landscape also make the mile-long shopping corridor somewhat of a mystery. We are taking the guesswork out of which businesses are where and what each block has to offer visitors.

Our third in a series of articles detailing downtown Benicia, in this issue we focus on D Street to E Street. In parts 1 and 2 in our March and April issues, we started at the waterfront and highlighted the businesses from A Street to C Streets’ and their gorgeous vistas of the Carquinez strait, with the historic railroad depot anchoring the southern tip of First Street. This area is host to the April-October Certified Farmers Market, which opens this week. Moving north, C to D Street is dotted with restaurants and art galleries.

Restaurants, Café’s, Retail Stores & Antiques

Lucca Bar & Grill

In this installment, we explore the shopping and dining options from D Street to E Street. The block features three restaurants: Lucca Bar & Grill (and Lucca Beer Garden, which has its own menu), First Street Café and The Union Hotel Restaurant and Bar. Coming into the warm season, outdoor seating will become more prominent—The Union Hotel Restaurant (inside the Union Hotel) and Lucca both have abundant outdoor space, and First Street Café has several outdoor tables. In 2016, Lucca’s patio area expanded, especially with the addition of the beer garden where live music can be enjoyed in the early evening. Retail stores include Golden Horse Shoe Antiques, Adobe Second Chance Thrift Store and Pups N Purrz.

The Picturesque Avant Garden

Another great feature of this block is the lovely Avant Garden, the brainchild of the Benicia Community Gardens, now Sustainable Solano, where, for a nominal fee, residents can rent space for a garden bed they can coax into a full summer feast. Adobe is the newcomer on this block, having recently moved to 431 First Street, necessitated by the red tagging of their former location at First and J Streets. For many years, Adobe has done great work in the community, so stop by and search for a diamond in the rough at the long-time thrift store.

D Street to E Street

The Union Hotel                                                         401 First Street       
The Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar                         401 First Street       
Golden Horse Shoe Antiques                                    415 First Street                 707.334.6181; Facebook
Pups N Purrz                                                              422 First Street       
Adobe Second Chance Thrift Shop                          431 First Street                 707.745.4565; Facebook
435 Spa & Massage                                                    435 First Street                 707.373.5077
Lucca Bar & Grill; Lucca Beer Garden                   439 First Street        
First Street Café & Upstairs @ the Cafe                 440 First Street        
Avant Garden (Benicia Community Gardens)           Corner First & D Streets