“Big” John Herkins was born in 1973 and grew up in American Canyon with his parents. He attended school in Napa throughout his whole life. At Vintage High School he played basketball and football. John started his career in the restaurant business during this time. After high school he attended Napa College where he received a degree in Law Enforcement. During his college years, he married his wife Jennifer and shortly after he had a daughter and then a son. John is a dedicated father and husband who always puts his family first. He has been married to Jennifer for 23 years and they enjoy traveling,cooking and hosting parties at their house with their friends and family.


In his spare time John combines his love for food, family, friends and fun. He enjoys barbecuing using his special rub called “ Big John’s BBQ Rub”, which is a hit with Napa locals. He placed third in Downtown Joe’s rib cook off and 1st in the tri tip cook off. He has also won Napa’s Chili Cook-off with co-workers twice. John is also exceptionally creative. He paints often and enjoys creating pieces of art for his friends and family. He created the logo for Downtown Joe’s Rebob Porter. He always loves the outdoors. He has been fishing for his whole life. His favorite fish to catch are sturgeon and salmon. John has a radio show on 1440 AM KVON called “Beer Nuts”, where he hosts remarkable breweries and talks about good food and great beer. The show has been on air for 2 years.

John’s life motto is “work smarter not harder”. He has worked at Downtown Joe’s for 16 years with 28 years and counting in the restaurant business. Both of John’s children worked at Downtown Joe’s during their time in college. Big John has a big personality which is apparent when he hosts Monday Night Football. ON karaoke nights at Downtown Joe’s, Big John can be found singing songs by the Beastie Boys. Twice a year, John hosts special events such as the crawdad boil and his new favorite event “Star Wars Day” on May 4th. He loves the food at Downtown Joe’s and is always quick to recommend his favorites; buffalo wings, a bison burger and a cold glass of Double Secret Probation IPA.

John is truly loved by everyone he meets. Bohemian Magazine named John “Best Bartender” in Napa/Sonoma County 2017. His larger than life personality makes everyone feel welcomed. If you are lucky enough to have John serve you a drink, you will surely hear about the newest conspiracy theories and sports news. The Vine named John the unofficial Mayor of Napa. Little did we know, in 2020 John will be officially running for Mayor of Napa County. When you stop by Downtown Joe’s, make sure to ask for an autographed illustration of himself.

There are no choices, only better ideas- John Herkins

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