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Oventi Restaurant Owner Has Big Plans, Starting in Napa

Cyrus Mousavi is in the process of transforming the former Marie Callender's into Oventi Restaurant and Bakery, serving three meals a day and selling baked goods seven days a week. If successful, the north Napa eatery will become the first in a chain.

 

Don't look for a grand opening at the new , in the former Marie Callender's at Trower Avenue and Highway 29.

Don't look for pies there, either.

The new eatery will open "quietly," said owner Cyrus Mousavi, a Silicon Valley investor who has purchased the building where Marie Callender's had operated for years before .

Workers have been laboring "almost nonstop" to clean, repair and paint the former pie shop and restaurant, according to Mousavi, who said the previous management left "everything a mess ... They never did any maintenance."

The grease and dust left behind were "amazing; we are just shocked," said Mousavi.

The tasks of cleaning, repairing and applying fresh paint may push Oventi's soft opening into September, but Mousavi sounds determined to do things right.

"We're doing our best to change the look and feel" of the tired Callender's facility and give it "a better life," he said.

"Not banking on tourists"

While the restaurant's high-profile Highway 29 location and proximity to the renamed mean Oventi will be feeding its share of visitors, Mousavi said he's "not banking on tourists as much as other restaurants" to make his new place a success.

"I think the local community is the one that is supporting us," he said, adding that he intends to employ local workers as well.

"I hope we can contribute to the local economy," Mousavi said. 

Mousavi said he wants his place to be a "down to earth" restaurant, serving an American-Italian menu with steaks, pastas, burgers and more.

"You shouldn't have to pay an arm and a leg because you happen to be in Napa," he said.

He'd like to see some international menu items, too, perhaps gyros and dishes from Spanish, French and Basque cuisine, Mousavi said.

The Oventi bakery will turn out breads, rolls and desserts for the restaurant and retail, he said.

How about pies?

"Probably not," Mousavi said, with what sounded over the phone like a faint shudder.

Along with erasing all traces of Marie Callender's before it opens, Mousavi wants to see Oventi become "as crowded as possible" and so popular with Napans that eventually there's a line out the door.

Once he sees diners waiting outside, Mousavi said, he'll know it's time to open the next in a planned chain of northern California restaurants, with Napa's the prototype.

Click the "Keep me posted" button for updates on Napa's upcoming Oventi Restaurant and Bakery.

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Tamara Robinette August 06, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I think it is wonderful that Mr. Oventi is thinking about the local people. We really need a restaurant with the locals in mind on this side of town. I belong to a local car club that would love to try out this new restaurant. We meet every month for a breakfast, this is wonderful news. I can't wait to try it out myself.
Frank Davidson August 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I sure hope the new restaurant will have some down home, even southern type dishes on their menu! Also hope it's a place thati s "family-kid" friendly!! If so, you'll sure have our family coming...
Ed Rapp August 07, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Great that Mr Oventi has people working so hard to fix the issues of Marie Calendar's, and there were many...Hope he remembers to file his paperwork correctly..According to Napa County Environmental Anonymous sources I've talked to, they are following this story yet Mr Oventi has forgotten to file plan submittals or an application for permits..Once he does file, it will be 30 days before any action by Napa County health inspectors will take place and probably another month or 2 before any approvals providing everything is perfect...Look to Nov/Dec before this business opens due to lack of diligence on the owners part..Of course he will complain about government and bureaucratic hindrance. But he hasn't even filed an application yet...
tamie August 07, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Somewhere for the middle class!! Yeah!! Please don't add music or dancing or the city will shut you down, lickety-split! Napa is a Foot Loose town!
Art Morris August 07, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Yeah, having had my own business, it's very important to get the stuff with the government done in a timely manner. We have enough stuff against us in the business world, no need to let the government be the one to hold you up. I also hope his pricing will allow the blue-collar working people a place to eat. Too many restaurants in Napa think they can have a Napa address and charge outrageous prices, even for a cheeseburger. One such restaurant was the one which took over Jonesy's at the airport. They came in assuming they could charge whatever they wanted because they were in Napa. They went out of business in less than a year. If you charge high prices, you might make it; if you charge what the working people can afford, you have a much better chance of making it.
Linda Williams August 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM
To Ed Rapp...perhaps Cyrus Mousavi does not refer to himself as Mr. Oventi.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 11, 2012 at 04:51 AM
According to one city official I spoke with Wednesday, it's already a permitted restaurant and since there isn't new construction or a change of use involved there's no need for the lengthy process Ed mentioned.
Adam c September 16, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Best of luck we need this type of restaurants in our town
Suzanne R-K September 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Charlie and I think it's wonderful (In fact, he wrote months ago to a major restaurant chain, to suggest interest in coming to this spot). They're sure working hard to spiff the place up, and the awnings not only look practical, but beautiful. My husband will be happy to try the Greek food, as for me I'm good for anything fresh & yummy. We'll be keeping our eyes open for that "soft" opening, after all, it's September already. Wishing much success to Overti......Congratulations!!! Suzanne R-K
Helen Fitzsimonds October 04, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Good luck. We were just there tonight and told they are NOT serving breakfast "yet".
Helen Fitzsimonds October 04, 2012 at 05:57 AM
We were just there and it was not wonderful. Staff didn't know how to pronounce things on the menu, menu is all over the place, pasta in vodka sauce was swimming in olive oil and tasteless. Pizza was okay but somewhat burned. They are not serving breakfast, we were told by our waitress. I'm not impressed. It's early yet so will try back once they've taken the kinks out, which I hope they will. As for kid friendly, okay...but keep your kids from running around and screaming, will ya? It's annoying to me when I'm paying the same amount for my food and kids are left to run amok. And I have a right to eat where I want so don't tell me to go elsewhere.
Marie Turner October 06, 2012 at 01:48 AM
If the owner 8s using this restaurant for a prototype for a chain, he should close the doors immediately. We were there for lunch tofsy and the food was the worst I've ever eaten (Chicken Karma and the Salmon Terriki.) They were both so overoccked they weere like hockey pucks as well as looking and tasting terrible. Plus, he wanted to charge us $4.00 for bread to accompany our entrees. The staff had no idea of what was on the menu or how to serve customers. This is a TERRIBLE RESTAURANT so please save your money and go somewhere else or cook at home. Both are better options than this "restaurant."
Jose Paulo De Ferreira Leite October 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Marie its salmon teriyaki and chicken korma !!we dont have Salmon terriki and karma on Menu!!!maybe you went to diferent Restaurante!!!

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