After riding the Vallejo ferry for four years to get to school in San Francisco, commuting from her home in Napa, Tori Anna has taken her affinity for the ferries to a whole new level-n May 2016 she became a ferry employee.
Longtime ferry rider and accomplished singer Tori Anna can now be found serving drinks and snacks to the people who used to be her fellow passengers on the Vallejo ferry route.
By Matt Larson
Published: March, 2017
After riding the Vallejo ferry for four years to get to school in San Francisco, commuting from her home in Napa, Tori Anna has taken her affinity for the ferries to a whole new level—in May 2016 she became a ferry employee. Today, you can find her as a bartender on the very Vallejo ferries that helped her earn her degree from the Academy of Art University.
Getting started was easy, because by the time she started working, the ferry was a home away from home. And she still gets to see all the friends she made while commuting. “I see them all the time! Except I’m the one serving them drinks now,” she said. Suffice it to say it’s been an easy transition. “I already knew and loved everyone, a lot of the bartenders were like my family.”
As a passenger, Tori managed to make a whole new circle of friends just from riding the ferry. “If you want to socialize after work, you have all your friends that ride the ferry regularly. Get your drinks and just have a good time,” she said. “There’s even people who play games regularly. I ended up learning how to play Settlers of Catan because of the ferry.”
In addition to her beloved staff and regular customers, Tori loves the tourists as well because she gets to play tour guide. Her primary recommendation for tourists is to head to Local Edition, a “subterranean hideaway” underneath one of the old newspaper buildings on Market Street. “It’s filled with typewriters and old newspapers; it’s like a step back in time when you go down there,” said Anna. “I’m super into jazz so I love to go to Local Edition.”
By “super into jazz,” what Anna means is that she’s an actual jazz singer, guitarist and pianist, and is busy at work on her album. “I’ve been singing since age two, performing since age seven and recording since age eight,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of experience under my belt, but I need something to show for it!” Hence, her album is coming soon. She did, however, make it to Hollywood on season 12 of American Idol. Search YouTube for “Tori Anna” to get a sample of her work, or just head to Silo’s in Napa on April 29 to see her perform live.
Tori’s musical stylings are based in modern jazz; however, she also likes tradition and is very into the Great American Songbook. “I like to always stick to those roots, but I always put a modern spin on things because, of course, we’re in 2017,” Anna said. “Not everyone is as passionate about old music as I am.” She’s basically like Ryan Gosling in La La Land.
So she lives in Napa, works on the ferry and performs live jazz, but you still think you’ve seen Tori Anna somewhere else? It could be at The Coffee Curb, her family’s coffee shop in Vallejo. They’ve owned it for 15 years now, since it was a Caffino back in the day—which, by the way, was the first Caffino franchise ever. But they changed the name to make it truly their own. “I grew up in that store,” Anna said. “The community in Vallejo is just so wonderful.” Many customers come and support their employees’ kids’ softball games, and many employees have regular customers’ drink orders ready to go before they even pull up.
Helping the public has been part of Anna’s life from a very early age. Whether it’s serving up a drink or providing a stunning performance, she wants people to be happy. That’s why she recommends you take the ferry. “I couldn’t think of a reason not to,” she said. “You’re not stuck in traffic, not paying tolls, not worried about parking—the ferry is pretty much the best way to do it.”