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Oventi Restaurant Opens in Napa

Oventi, the new restaurant and bakery at the former Marie Callender's in north Napa, served its first meal Monday morning and Napa Valley Patch was there. When will you be trying the new place?

After months of anticipation, Oventi Restaurant & Bakery in north Napa finally opened its doors Monday morning at the old Marie Callender's on Trower Avenue just east of Highway 29.

Chef Jose Paulo Sousa Carvalho's first meal out of the Oventi kitchen was a savory Spanish tortilla (omelet) with scrupulously fresh focaccia for $5.50.

The breakfast menu also includes smoothies, fresh pastries and hearty classics like eggs Benedict, with a twist: Instead of $10, $12 or more, Oventi's Benedict is priced under $6.

Reasonable pricing, without skimping on portion size, is owner Cyrus Mousavi's strategy at Oventi because, he says, "the local community is my highest priority."

Tourists are always welcome, Mousavi added, but "the local people are keeping the lights on."

Mousavi said he has hired 38 Napa Valley residents to work in his new eatery, which will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The extensive menu represents "the best of Europe," he said, with paella, pastas and three sizes of pizzas alongside such American favorites as burgers and, for the kids, goujonettes (chicken fingers), meat balls and mac and cheese.

Oventi may also be the only place in Napa where you can get a roast pork sandwich, served on a baguette, at sunrise.

Most dishes on the menu will be available throughout the day, with the noteworthy exception of the Brazilian Rodizio, served Sunday for lunch and dinner.

This menu item, $15.95, features "perfectly grilled beast meats" — leg of lamb, suckling pig and top sirloin — carved tableside and served with vegetables and potatoes.

Mousavi said the complete menu will be posted on the restaurant's website by noon today.

A full beer, wine and liquor license is in the works, Mousavi said. (Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an automatic update when the restaurant is cleared to serve alcoholic beverages.) Meanwhile, soft drink lovers are in luck here: Refills are free and the orange juice is freshly made.

Oventi's opening brings new life to the long-shuttered north Napa property, which abruptly closed as Marie Callender's in April, 2011 after New York-based investment firm Castle Harlan Inc. folded its Perkins-Marie Callender's chain under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.

According to a corporate press release, Perkins & Marie Callender’s filed for the protection due to “a sharp decline in restaurant sales.”

But Mousavi sees a bright future for Oventi, which is designed to be the first in a regional chain. And while not as pie-oriented as Callender's was, the new Napa bakery will offer traditional pies, he said.

The restaurant also has a meeting and banquet room, which is already booking reservations, Mousavi said.

Vital stats: Oventi Restaurant & Bakery, 1990 Trower Ave, Napa 94558, (707) 637-4468, www.oventirestaurant.com and on Facebook. Open daily 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Full liquor license pending: Click "Keep me posted" for an automatic update when it is approved.

Read more:

  • Marie Callender's Closes Doors in Napa
  • Napa Diners Lament Restaurant Closure
  • New Restaurant-Bakery Planned for Former Marie Callender's in North Napa
  • Pies to Return at North Napa Bakery-Restaurant

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P October 06, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Bad service from a new restaurant? Give them a break. Bad food - no second chances.
Ron October 08, 2012 at 06:06 PM
bad service + bad food= no go I can understand some growning pains but see no reason to even try it
Kristina October 08, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I can't help but see some similarities between Oventi and the restaurants featured on "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" already. Bad service, bad food, lack of cleanliness, cutting corners...not a good sign.
Marie Turner October 13, 2012 at 05:12 PM
My friend and I went there for lunch on October 5th. Never, in either of our lives (and we are senior citizens) have we had such HORRIBLE food. Additionally, the service was terrible and the place was filthy. Our chicken and salmon were so hard and overcooked that we could barely eat them. The accompanying sauces were dried up and off-tasting. Plus, they wanted to charge us $4.00 extra for bread (despite ordering two entrees). We both waited anxiously for many hours afterward wondering if we would have food poisoning. All in all, this lunch was a disaster in every respect. I will give a new restaurant a break in the beginning with the service (however, the servers should have at least basic training re service and the menu) but for filth and absolutely horrible food, there is no excuse. All the chef, owner or manager had to do was taste the food and they would have known that it should never be served to customers. What is wrong with these people? The Napa Valley has many wonderful restaurants in almost every price range. How this restaurant can possibly hope to be successful is beyond me. Once a new restaurantstsrts off poorly, it is very difficult to oversome particularly in a small sophisticated dining community. If the owner can't figure it out on his own, he should call Gordon Ramsey or Robert Irvine for help - IMMEDIATELY! Needless to say, we will never return and waste our time and money.
Tom Davidson October 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
We went there last night. Service was very good. Walked up and were seated right away, but we went around 6pm. I made a bad choice for food, but I'm sure it would have been good if I'd chosen better. Restrooms were just OK, but it was early. I wouldn't avoid it.

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