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.
- 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
Napa Patch is now Napa Valley Patch: Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Sign up for the daily email with links to the latest news | Got something to say? Start a blog and share your views with the valley.